It’s complete pandamoninum!

Previously on Japan’s Best Home Senbero, Senbero Buddha Mr. Sato suffered a major setback mere moments after completing his greatest ever combination of food and alcohol for about 1,000 yen (US$8.80), known as a “senbero” in Japanese.

His long-lost brother Masanuki had pulled his pants up so high that he had forgotten all knowledge of the ancient senbero arts. Now, all he does is sit around thinking about pants.

Mr. Sato: “Pants…”

We’ve tried our best to deprogram him by reminding him of all the joys that can be had with food and alcohol. We even treated him to a screening of the latest Matrix film in the hopes he could unplug his own mind from its polyester and cotton prison.

Nothing worked, however, and it was still as if the very word “senbero” had become alien to him.

Mr. Sato: “Senbero… Pants… Senbants… Pants…. Senbero… Panbero… Wait a minute!”

Mr. Sato: “That’s it! I remember now!”

With a sudden burst of renewed energy, Mr. Sato hurried out of the office.

In the lobby of the building, he passed by his colleague Ahiruneko and shouted instructions without stopping.

Mr. Sato: “Can’t talk now. Await my return! Panbero!”


Ahiruneko would have followed Mr. Sato to figure out what he was shouting about, but it was kind of drizzling out. This being cold and flu season and all, Ahiruneko thought it more prudent to wait in the office like instructed.

After about an hour, there was a knock at the door.

*Knock, knock*

Ahiruneko could hear a faint rustling from behind the door and cautiously inched toward it.

He cracked open the door and was instantly greeted by a middle-aged crotch in a white unitard.

The fabric was sheerer than Ahiruneko would have preferred, leaving little to his imagination about the wearer’s underwear choice for the day. However, this was merely the beginning of his problems.

As he continued to scan his visitor, Ahiruneko noticed that the person was carrying a radial tire and some bamboo leaves. Could this be the return of Sato Dog?

Ahiruneko: “Gyaah!”

Mr. Sato: “Pan!”

It was indeed Mr. Sato, but not quite his beloved Sato Dog character. Ahiruneko let his co-worker come inside, rolling a tire all the way.

He wasn’t quite sure what to make of his co-worker’s latest transformation. This was all eerily similar to that one time Mr. Sato developed the “wanbero” in which “wan” was the Japanese onomatopoeic word for a dog’s bark.

This time, however, he didn’t quite look the same, and he said “pan” instead of “wan.” “Pan” wasn’t the cry of any animal that Ahiruneko was aware of either.

Then he remembered what Mr. Sato was shouting on the way out of the office earlier.

▼ Mr. Sato: “PANBERRRRO!”

The best Ahiruneko could figure was that “panbero” was some sort of bread-themed senbero, since “pan” is the Japanese word for “bread.” Still, that didn’t explain why his co-worker was frolicking with a tire on the floor of the office.

He seemed happy enough, but this was quite bizarre — even by his standards.

“Who plays with tires anyway?” thought Ahiruneko, when the answer suddenly dawned on him: bears!

And what kind bear eats bamboo?

Ahiruneko: “Pan….da!”

It would seem that our star reporter and former Senbero God has now taken on the identity of a role-poly panda.

Mr. Sato: “Pan! Pan!”

And he wasn’t just carrying bamboo leaves, but three chimaki. These are glutinous rice dumplings filled with a variety of delicious ingredients both sweet and savory. It’s a very pleasant treat whose roots trace back to China where they’re known as zongzi.

Panda Sato put out the chimaki and stared at his human co-worker.

Mr. Sato: Pan! (I hear these are quite good you know)”

Ahiruneko unwrapped the bamboo leaf wrapping and ate one of the chimaki. He hadn’t had one in a while, but was quite pleased with the simple pleasure of these traditional snacks.

Ahiruneko: “Mmm, yeah that’s god. Thanks!”

However, Panda Sato was confused by Ahiruneko’s actions.

Mr. Sato: “Pan, pan! (Aren’t you forgetting something?)

However, Ahiruneko couldn’t speak panda, and had to rely on Panda Sato’s body language to try and understand him.

Mr. Sato: Pan! (I do believe you are discarding the best part, sir.)

Still unclear about what Panda Sato was trying to say, Ahiruneko watched him pick up not a chimaki, but the discarded bamboo leaf of the eaten one.

Panda Sato then began to chew on the leaf.

Mr. Sato: Pan! (I know, I know… It’s not much for protein or vitamins and usually leaves me too tired to do anything, but these leaves are just so delicious! And you wouldn’t believe how nice your poop smells after eating a bunch of them.)”

Panda Sato looked perfectly content munching on his bamboo leaf, but Ahiruneko was no closer to understanding what was going on and getting increasingly impatient.

Ahiruneko: “So… this is a panbero, eh? Look, you know I have to ask: Where’s the ‘bero’ part?”

Ahiruneko was referring to the “bero” part of “senbero” which means “tipsy” in English and referred to the alcoholic component of the set.

Ahiruneko: “There isn’t anything to drink at all. And how much did this even cost? You never said.”

Panda Sato flinched for a moment at his dining companion’s pointed questions, but then pretended not to hear them and continued to nibble on leaves.

Ahiruneko: “Do you even remember what a senbero is? You’re still thinking about pants, aren’t you?”

It was really beginning to kill Panda Sato’s buzz, when he suddenly remembered how to shut his obnoxious co-worker up.

Slowly, he leaned down to his plate of leaves and began to lap them up.

Ahiruneko: “At least when you fed me dog food it was kind of like a senbero.”
Mr. Sato: *lap, lap, lap*

Ahiruneko: “You totally ruined your dog costume too.”
Mr. Sato: *lap, lap, lap*

Ahiruneko: “Sure, you got the colors right, but pandas don’t have pointy ears.”
Mr. Sato: *LAP, LAP, LAP*

Ahiruneko: “Arrrrrgh my postcentral gyrus!”
Mr. Sato: *LAP, LAP, LAP*

Mr. Sato: “And that is a panbero!”

Panda Sato stood triumphantly as a member of the clean plate club while Ahiruneko lay on the floor in the fetal position. He had a point though in that it kind of seemed like Mr. Sato still didn’t remember what a senbero was *Ack!*

Mr. Sato: “There you go again Mr. Narrator. Take a break for a moment, would you?”


Mr. Sato: “Yes, that’s a normal part of enlightenment, just try to roll with it. Tell me, do you know how many pandas there are in the world now?”


Mr. Sato: “That’s right: 1,864, but it wasn’t always like this. For decades the population had hovered around… 1,000.”

Mr. Sato: “All that time the cute bears seemed to stubbornly resist procreation and we continuously pushed them to do so. It wasn’t until around the turn of the century that panda numbers started to increase and we all patted ourselves on the back for a job well done.”

Mr. Sato: “In our own hubris and misguided efforts to ‘help’ the pandas, we never once thought that maybe it was they who were trying to help us. Trying to show us that the true path to prosperity and bliss lay not in a never ending cycle of consumption and reproduction. In fact, such mindlessness is unsustainable and can only result in disaster. The pandas were telling us all along that the real goal we should all be pursuing is… balance”

Mr. Sato: “Balance is the core tenet of the senbero. An exercise in extravagant eating bound by a limit of about 1,000 yen. Simple yet elegant in design as you never drink nor eat too much. It is the balance of luxury and humbleness. The senbero teaches us that these concepts are not at odds, rather they work together.”

▼ Mr. Sato: “I suppose you could call it a yin and yang, the very black and white symbol that harkens one back to the fur of the noble panda. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ is another simplistic way to view what is really a single entity. Take my brother for instance.”

Mr. Sato: “Although you painted our interactions as a cartoonish ‘good vs evil’ conflict, Masanuki was actually helping me this whole time. By giving me that totally bogus melvin the other day, he had given me the final piece of the puzzle — the pants which led me to the panda.”

▼ Mr. Sato: “You see, like a pair of pants, he and I were two sides of the same unit. We were moving in opposite directions, but meeting at a single point: the crotch of TRUTH!”

▼ Mr. Sato: “Whether you can accept all this knowledge or not isn’t my concern. I am about to transcend this plane and move to a higher level of existence. I will be with the pandas, my brother, Antonio DeNiro, Maffles, and beer flavored beverages. Mr. Narrator, if you’d be so kind as to end the article now, I shall take my leave.”

Dude, I can totally smell the color of my eyelashes….

Mr. Sato: “I guess I’ll do it then. What will remain of my mortal husk once I depart this dimension? Will he forget everything that happened and return to making senbero, or will he be reduced to a unintelligible fool who wears a water gun on his back in the middle of winter? Find out next time on Japan’s Best Home Senbero!”

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
Episode #9 – Milk and Cake for Dogs
Episode #10 – Hanamasa Meat
Episode #11 – Life
Episode #12 – Shokuhinkan Aoba
Episode #13 – Seiyu
Episode #14 – Amika
Episode #15 – Lopia
Episode #16 – OK
Episdoe #17 – Family Mart
Episode #18 – Manbero
Episode #19 – Ministop
Episode #20 – Yaoko
Episode #21 – Cosmos
Episode #22 – Daily Yamazaki

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]