We take a no-frills approach to a night of drinking.

If you’ve been reading along this past week or so, our reporter Mr. Sato has evolved from a Senbero Master to a full-fledged Senbero Meister. For those just joining us, however, a “senbero” is a Japanese term for a session of drinks and food designed to cost someone under 1,000 yen before taxes.

Mr. Sato has taken it upon himself to visit all kinds of food and drink retailers to discover Japan’s very best at-home senbero and perhaps find some intrigue and romance along the way. This time, his spiritual journey has taken him to ABS Wholesale Center.

As its bland name implies, this chain cuts out all unnecessary things like a catchy name or logo and passes the savings on to the customer. In some circles it’s known as a 68-yen store as a variety of items can be found there for only 68 yen ($0.62).

Upon entering ABS, Mr. Sato was greeted by crates upon crates of cheap instant noodles and his mission became clear. He was to hold the grandest instant ramen drinking party.

First, to cover the alcohol end of things, Mr. Sato grabbed a 300-milliliter (10-ounce) bottle of Hakutsuru sake. It was the old-fashioned kind with the little sake cup attached to the top and only cost 138 yen ($1.25).

Everything was so cheap here that he still had plenty of room in his budget for some assorted snacks before getting to the soups. First, for 48 yen ($0.44) he picked up a bag of lightly salted Dragon Potatoes with the hashtag #GodTexture.

Next, he got a pack of kakiage which is a clump of assorted vegetables and seafood all fried together tempura style. He got a two-pack for only 119 yen ($1.08) which was half-price because it was already past the expiration date.

Speaking of which, this pack of vermicelli salad with small bits of ground chicken in it was also past its prime and half-off, so he bought one for only 49 yen ($0.45).

Normally expired chicken and seafood would be a recipe for a bad time, but we should remind you that Mr. Sato is a trained Senbero Meister, skilled in the ways of spending long periods of time on toilets.

He is so experienced at this point that he remembered to buy a pack of pre-cut takuan for 98 yen ($0.89).

Followers of Japan’s Best Home Senbero might remember that our reporter had been thwarted by uncut pickled daikon in the past.

Even after all these items, Mr. Sato still had plenty of room to get a whole bunch of instant noodles. So without further ado, we’d like to introduce everyone in attendance to your… 2021 Senbero… ALL-STAR NOOOOOOODLEEEEEES!!!

Shin Salt Ramen — 57 yen ($0.52)

Shin Soy Sauce Ramen — 7 yen ($0.52)

Shin Miso Ramen — 57 yen ($0.52)

Curry Nanban Udon — 57 yen ($0.52)

Spicy! Ramen — 57 yen ($0.52)

Sauce Yakisoba — 57 yen ($0.52)

Dashi Ga Kiteru Soba Dappe — 57 yen ($0.52)

Dashi Ga Kiteru Udon Dappe — 57 yen ($0.52)

Dashi Ga Kiteru Ramen Dappe — 57 yen ($0.52)

When the dust had settled, Mr. Sato walked out with a whopping 14 items all for a total of only 1,044 yen ($9.49) after tax.

It was a pretty amazing haul for the price he paid, and Mr. Sato was already giddy with excitement for his soup party.

After rolling up his T-shirt sleeves, which then immediately fell back down, he prepared to do some heavy cooking. The first step involved removing the plastic film from each bowl.

He then had to carefully add the separately packaged dried ingredients to each bowl. This required a great deal of focus because some packages are meant to be added after the water but others before.

Actually, it was so mentally taxing that Mr. Sato forgot about his bowl of Ramen Dappe altogether!

▼ Oh you…

All these instant noodles would require a lot of boiling hot water too, so our reporter got the biggest pot he could find, filled it up, and started the fire.

Of course, pouring the water directly from such a big pot would be tricky, so he ladled it into each bowl.

Having never done it this way before, he was surprised at how much easier it was.

One by one, he lovingly added water…

But about halfway through, he realized there wasn’t going to be enough, and had to repeat the process a second time.

Yes, no one said cooking a full course meal was easy, but as the bard Tom Petty once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

“Yeah, the wai-ai-ting is the har-dest part.”

After an excruciating three minutes, Mr. Sato’s collection of wholesale noodles was complete!

But first it was time to celebrate with a drink! Our reporter made sure everyone in the office recognized the ingenuity in Hakutsuru’s bottle design.

Mr. Sato: “Check it out! The CAP… is a CUP!”

He then proceeded to wet his whistle.

This left little else to do but dive into his smorgasbord of factory-direct delights.

Mr. Sato: “Oh, this yakisoba is DELICIOUS!”

Mr. Sato: “Ah, this salt ramen is SUPERB!”

Mr. Sato: “Oooh, this soy sauce one is STUPENDOUS!”

Mr. Sato: “Awww, this ramen is my favorite and FANTASTIC!”

However, before digging into his bowl of soba, Mr. Sato grabbed one of the expired kakiage and placed it on top.

Mr. Sato: “This kakiage and soba is OUTSTANDING!”

Mr. Sato: “And this Udon? AMAZING! These Dappe ones have a really nice mild taste.”

Mr. Sato: “Boy, this curry udon is SCRUMPTIOUS!”

Mr. Sato: “Miso ramen… FABULOUS!”

Mr. Sato: “This Spicy! Ramen isn’t all that spicy… but it’s WONDERFUL!”

Like a triathlete finishing a lap of running, Mr. Sato reached for another cup of sake to recover from this whirlwind tour of instant noodles.

Then he remembered he still had some Dragon Potatoes to eat.

This food was all rather junky compared to his previous senberos, so he was glad that he got an expired salad to balance things out.

But during this moment of pseudo-nutritious clarity, a wild, drunken thought occurred to Mr. Sato: What if he drank all of the noodle broths at once?

Since everything was already made, it would be super easy. Our reporter would simply stick a straw in each bowl and then taste all of the broths simultaneously.

However, because of the sizes of the bowls and the length of the straws, he couldn’t get them all to reach his mouth. So, he enlisted two co-workers to hold the bowls closer so that he may sip  from each one.

Mr. Sato: “Yep that’s it. Masanuki, a little higher over there….”

Mr. Sato: “Yes, yes! I shall now suck!”

It was probably the first time anyone had every tried something like that, but unfortunately Mr. Sato couldn’t really describe the taste. It was just like a bunch of ramen at once.

But it’ll take more than ungodly levels of sodium to stop this senbero! Mr. Sato returned to his desk to complete the last leg which consisted of a giant skewer of pickled daikon.

After all, there was no reason for work to get in the way of a great drinking session – no reason that he could think of at least.

Masanuki: “…”

Mr. Sato: “Alright! Let eat this bad boy.”

Mr. Sato: “Oh yeah! That’s the stuff.”

Mr. Sato: “And to wash it down with a little sake. Yessir! There’s no combination quite like pickles and sake!!!”

Mr. Sato: “This senbero has been a huge success!”

Mr. Sato: “And the best part is they keep letting me do this EVERY DAY… AT WORK! BWHAHAHA!!!”

Mr. Sato: “I wish all my friends and co-workers could see me now! Maybe I’ll email them a picture of this.”

Mr. Sato: “Not Masanuki though. That guy gets on my nerves.”

Will Mr. Sato find yet another retailer capable of delivering the ultimate home senbero experience, or will one of his co-workers murder him first? Find out next time on Japan’s Best Home Senbero!

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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