I don’t even know what we’re doing any more.

Gentle readers, you may have noticed that our Mr. Sato has been spending a lot of time recently creating articles about the common Japanese combination of alcohol and food for about 1,000 yen (US$9) called a “senbero.”

With all the fun and hijinks involved, you might be surprised to find that it’s a series our writer has struggled with on a daily basis. Coming up with new and inventive ways to eat and get mildly drunk over and over again is no small feat.

In fact, just the other day, Mr. Sato was contemplating his next senbero escapade when he was faced with an existential crisis.

He had already created so many varieties of senbero and talked about senbero so much that the very word seemed to lose all meaning. Like, what is a “senbero” anyway? It’s not really a proper meal, but it’s hardly a snack either?

Regardless, he had clearly beaten this dead horse so much, all that was left were some strips of gristle and meat that could be served with a beer for about 1,000 yen. It was enough to make him consider giving up Japan’s Best Senbero altogether.

But just then, a smile flashed on his face and he jumped out of his seat.

He knew what he needed to do, and like a flash he was out the door.

On his way through the lobby he passed by fellow writer Ahiruneko and shouted an urgent request.

Mr. Sato: “Can’t talk now. I’m onto something big. Just wait for me in the office!!!”

Ahiruneko tried to ask what was going on, but Mr. Sato just blurted out something that sounded like “wanbero” and ran away.

Mr. Sato: “Wanbero, man!”

Mr. Sato: “Wanberrrrrroooooo!”

Later that afternoon, Ahiruneko was sitting in the office, waiting like Mr. Sato had asked. Suddenly there was a knock at the door.


Ahiruneko cautiously crept towards the door and slowly reached for the handle, terrified that it might be a bill collector for Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

However, when he opened the portal, something far worse was on the other side…

Ahiruneko could recognize that bulge anywhere. Mr. Sato had returned!


Back in the year 2010, a young Mr. Sato had dressed up like the Softbank mascot Ainu dog while waiting in line for days to get an iPhone4.

▼ Mr. Sato (2010)

This dog, however, was missing “SOFT” on its forehead and thus has clearly no affiliation with the telecom giant in order to avoid any sticky trademark complications. There was still no mistaking that Mr. Sato had once again become a dog after 11 years.

▼ Mr. Sato: “Wan, wan.”

Ahiruneko was taken aback and retreated to a desk in the office.

But Mr. Sato was unfazed and slowly crept into the room with a plastic bag in his hand.

The silence was deafening and the seconds seemed to take minutes. Ahiruneko took the time to think about the last thing Mr. Sato had said.

Mr. Sato: “Wanberrrrrroooooo!”

Wan” was the Japanese onomatopoeic word for a dog’s bark, similar to “bow-wow” in English. Could this mean that a “wanbero” was some kind of senbero for dogs?

Each step seemed to be made with purpose, but much like a wild animal, the Senbero King kept a watchful eye on his co-worker as he drew near.

He then stopped and held the plastic bag out in front of him without uttering a word.

Mr. Sato: “Wan!”

Ahiruneko: “…”

Unable to speak dog, Ahiruneko wasn’t sure what to do next. This caused Mr. Sato to break character for a moment, sigh, and then place the contents of the bag out onto the table.

First out was a piece of Comif Berry & Soy Milk Mont Blanc that cost 528 yen ($4.75).

Then a square of Comif Purple Yam & Soy Milk Shortcake worth 502 yen ($4.51) emerged.

Finally, Mr. Sato pulled out four boxes of Pet Friend Milk Gentle Even For Dogs which sold for 220 yen ($1.98) each.

It all began to make sense to Ahiruneko.

Ahiruneko: “What is it, boy? Are you trying to tell me that you made a senbero that both a pet dog and their owner can enjoy together?”

Mr. Sato: “Wan, wan! [Yes. That is correct.]

Mr. Sato started in on his piece of berry and soy milk cake, which was also specially crafted to be comfortably edible to both dogs and people. This surprised Ahiruneko, since it looked exactly like a regular piece of cake.

Mr. Sato: “Wan, wan! [Let’s try a bit of this then, shall we?]

Mr. Sato: “Waaaaan! [Simply exquisite!]

Mr. Sato then washed his dog-friendly cake down with some dog-friendly milk. This milk contains a special kind of lactose that breaks down more easily and is kinder on a dog’s stomach while also being more digestible to humans.

Mr. Sato: “Wan! [Slurrrrrrp!]

Mr. Sato pumped his fist in satisfaction like any happy pet would. Ahiruneko thought he saw his co-worker’s tail wag under the table, and really hoped it was just a tail.

Then, Mr. Sato suddenly shot a look at Ahiruneko.

Ahiruneko: “Wha?”

He seemed angry about something, but Ahiruneko couldn’t be quite sure. Dog’s faces are really hard to read.

Suddenly, Ahiruneko figured it out. Mr. Sato was wondering why he hadn’t eaten anything yet. So, he picked up his cake and gave it an apprehensive try.

Knowing that it was specially designed for dogs, Ahiruneko braced himself for something that tasted like dog food. However, it was just like ordinary cake. Had he not been told it was for dogs, he never would have noticed.

Actually, it was kind of great.

Next, he tried some of the milk. It was surprisingly sweet and possibly even sweeter than the cake. It had a slightly powdery texture as well which was odd, but his dog seemed to really like it and that was the main point.

Mr. Sato: “Wan! [Now you’re getting into the spirit, my good man!]

Ahiruneko: “So, if this is a wanbero, then what about the ‘bero’ part?”

The word “senbero” is composed of two Japanese words. “Sen” means “1,000” and refers to the price of the combo, and “bero” means “tipsy” implying that the alcohol component is key to the overall experience.

However, this meal had no alcohol at all, nor could it since feeding a dog alcohol would constitute animal abuse. The logic and reality that Ahiruneko brought crashing down this far into a Japan’s Best Senbero article upset Mr. Sato greatly, and he grimaced upon hearing it.

However, he just blocked it out and continued to enjoy his wanbero like a good boy by licking his plate clean.

Ahiruneko: “Mr. Sato? Are you listening to me?”
Mr. Sato: *lap, lap, lap*

Ahiruneko: “Can you explain why we’re even doing this?”
Mr. Sato: *lap, lap, lap*

Ahiruneko: “We’re a news site, right?”
Mr. Sato: *LAP, LAP, LAP*

Ahiruneko: “Mr. Sato?”
Mr. Sato: *LAP, LAP, LAP*

Ahiruneko: “Mr. Sato?!”
Mr. Sato: *LAP, LAP, LAP*

Ahiruneko: “Mr. Satooooooooooooh?”
Mr. Sato: *lap, lap, lap*

Ahiruneko lay curled up on the ground weeping by the time Mr. Sato finished licking the cream off his plate. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and smiled in satisfaction.

Mr. Sato: “And that is a wanbero! Any questions?”

It would seem that a wanbero elevated the senbero experience by removing alcohol completely. After all, who needs the mind-altering effects of booze when you can just alter your mind by dressing up like a dog?

When you think about it though, Mr. Sato…logically speaking, shouldn’t you have replaced the “bero” part since tha…ARRRRGHHHH! MY HEAD!

Mr. Sato: “You speak too much Mr. Narrator. Shush!”

Mr. Sato: “As you can see my senbero prowess is now strong enough to bend the very fabric of reality and has elevated me to the level of Senbero God. I have such wonderful things to show you.”

Well, there you have it. We hope you’ve been enjoying our ongoing Japan’s Best Home Senbero series, because…it’s never going to end.

See you next time!

Catch up on all our “Japan’s Best Home Senbero” articles here:
Episode #1 – Lawson Store 100
Episode #2 – Don Quijote
Episode #3 – Costco
Episode #4 – IKEA
Episode #5 – ABS Wholesale Center
Episode #6 – Aeon
Episode #7 – Kaldi
Episode #8 – 7-Eleven

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]