This makeshift bar food will have our reporter battling windmills in no time.

Senbero” is a Japanese term combining the words for “thousand” and “tipsy” and describes a set of drinks and finger foods that can give you a nice buzz for about 1,000 yen (US$9.10) before taxes. You might find these combos served in an intimate izakaya, but rather than risk it these days, our reporter Mr. Sato is searching for the perfect home senbero experience.

Earlier this month, he checked the most obvious choice of Lawson Store 100, which is the sister-chain to Lawson convenience stores but with most items sold for about 100 yen ($0.91).

Mr. Sato’s mission to get a satisfying mix of drinks and snacks was a success, save the one mistake of not bringing a knife for his tough pickled radish.

But is that really the best home senbero that Japanese retail outlets have to offer?

Because 100-yen shops carry a lot of very useful items for only 100 yen, there’s often a misconception that everything is cheap there. For example, at such a shop, one box of tissues would cost 100 yen, but at most major supermarkets you can get five boxes for under 200 yen.

This brings us to the popular Japanese discount chain Don Quijote.

They not only have the potential to out-cheap 100-yen stores, but they’ve also upped their food game considerably recently, particularly at their supersized “MEGA Don Quijote” locations. If any store would be a promising contender for “Japan’s Best Home Senbero” this would be it.

The alcohol part was all too easy, and Mr. Sato quickly scooped up two 350-milliliter (12-ounce) cans of Strong Zero for 78 yen ($0.71) each.

This left him with a sizable portion of his budget for food, so he also threw in a bottle of ume-flavored soda as a chaser. It was only 30 yen ($0.27) because it was on sale.

Actually it should be noted that most of the items from here on out were purchased on sale. But there’s always something on sale at Don Quijote, so if you try this yourself, results will vary but probably be equally good. Here’s the rest of his psuedo-supermarket sweep:

▼ A jar of kimchi – 100 yen ($0.91) on sale

▼ A three-pack of Korean-style seasoned seaweed – 98 yen ($0.89)

▼ A kilo (2.2 pounds) of grated garlic – 150 yen ($1.36) on sale

▼ Two packs of banana milk pudding – 40 yen ($0.36) on sale

▼ Raw giant pacific octopus – 172 yen ($1.56) half-off

▼ Imitation crab sticks for adults – 100 yen ($0.91)

▼ And the Mega Don Quijote specialty: “Plain Sushi Rice!” – 150 yen ($1.36)

This incredibly convenient item is only sold at the larger “Mega” versions of the chain, but provides customers with the basis to create their own sushi masterpieces.

These 11 items together only set Mr. Sato back 1,076 yen ($9.77), and was more than enough to provide him with a hearty senbero.

First, Mr. Sato got to work constructing his sushi. He delicately placed sheets of faux crab onto the sushi rice. It was made of fish anyway so he was in the ballpark, and as long as it’s lovingly made it still has the potential to be great sushi.

Having learned his lesson from last time, Mr. Sato brought along a plastic knife. However, it proved too flimsy to pierce the mighty giant octopus of the Pacific.

Cut damn you…”

Son of a…argh!”

Mr. Sato eventually gave up and went to a nearby shop to purchase a pair of kitchen scissors for 1,500 yen ($13.62). Although not in keeping with the senbero financial spirit, he was getting pretty tired of screwing around at this point.

Thanks to his new shears, Mr. Sato’s senbero sushi platter was complete with the addition of some makeshift gunkan kimchi sushi, made extra Korean with the specially seasoned seaweed.

The table was set and there was nothing else to do but crack open a Strong Zero and let the good times roll!

▼ “Kanpai!!”

Mr. Sato was a cheap drunk to begin with, but the added exertion of trying to cut the octopus helped the Strong Zero really get on top of him.

After his first can he was already comfortably numb and dug into the sushi. As he suspected, this was an adult imitation crab stick and had a bold mature flavor with the firm texture of authentic crab meat.

Next up was the kimchi sushi.

Mr. Sato was again delightfully surprised. The seasoned seaweed really made it a flavor explosion on par with something a revolving sushi restaurant might serve.

It might have been the Strong Zero talking, but our reporter was feeling mighty good about himself and his choice of DIY sushi. It seemed like he could do no wrong at this point.

However, as if on cue, he then pulled out the large jar of grated garlic and started eating it straight with a spoon.

Yeah baby! Energy charge! Yeah!”

The “energy charge” of the garlic was a little much and set Mr. Sato’s mouth abuzz. Luckily, he had another can of Strong Zero to quickly douse the flames of intense savoriness.

To come down from all this excitement, Mr. Sato peeled open a pack of banana milk pudding. At his core, our reporter is first and foremost a big old sweet tooth, making this the perfect cap to his evening.

The whole senbero lasted about an hour, and it was still pretty early, but the dining was just so splendid that the day could only go downhill from here.

So, Mr. Sato decided to call it a day and go to sleep while the ecstasy of his senbero still coursed through his veins.

This was undoubtedly the happiest day he’d had in a long time, and if every day were a senbero day like this then he’d consider himself the luckiest person alive.

We should remind you that Mr. Sato is a trained professional, and you should not attempt this level of enjoyment at home without supervision.

Or even with supervision.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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