Taste buds and sanity aren’t the only things being challenged as dessert goes off the rails in Sato style.

Over the past year, our crack reporter Mr. Sato has made it his mission to push the boundaries of at-home luxury by trying to put together Japan’s best home senbero, or 1,000-yen (US$7.40) drinking and snack session. But Mr. Sato doesn’t only like stiff drinks, but sweet treats too, and so today he’s forging a path into what, no doubt, will become a vibrant new part of Japanese food culture: the senpafe, or “1,000-yen parfait.”

Mr. Sato started with a trip to the Tokyo Nerima branch of Gyomu Super, a budget-friendly supermarket known for its large quantities and low prices. There he procured a tub of azuki (sweet red beans) with condensed milk for 60 yen…

…some Super Cup Super Vanilla Ice Cream (90 yen)…

…a one-liter (33.8-ounce) tube of frozen whipped cream (268 yen)…

…a bag of frozen strawberries (288 yen)…

…a triple-pack of purin custard pudding (68 yen)…

…a bunch of bananas (128 yen)…

…a canned lemon sour cocktail (78 yen)…

…and a pack of kishimen noodles (20 yen).

Add it all up, and the pre-tax total was 1,000 yen exactly!

You’re probably thinking that cocktails and noodles aren’t exactly standard parfait ingredients, but whatever his end goal is, we’ve found it’s easier to sit back and see where Mr. Sato is going with his highly unorthodox methods rather than try to talk him out of them. As further proof of that, the very first thing Mr. Sato did when he got back from his shopping trip was to change into this outfit.

Yes, it seems that making a senpafe is, to Mr. Sato, a kind of ninja magic, and so he needed some jutsu-enhancing clothing to make his parfait really shine. As for why fellow reporter Masanuki Sunakoma, who was along for the ride, was dressed this way, we weren’t really sure, but we’ve only got so many fancy outfits in the office to choose from.

There is, however, a reason why Masanuki was so stone-faced, but we’ll get to that later on.

“OK, let’s get started!” Mr. Sato cheerfully announced. “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Huh? Noodles in a parfait? That’s weird,’ but just you wait and see!”

The noodles came sort of half-cooked, so Mr. Sato put them on a plate, poured on a little water, then stuck them in the microwave for a minute.

Then he rinsed them in cold water, letting out a joyful squeal at the chilly sensation on this hot summer day.

▼ “Feeeeeeels so gooooood!”

Meanwhile, Masanuki continued to glare at him from across the room.

Now it was time to actually start putting the parfait together, and Mr. Sato had just the right glass.

▼ Believe it or not, this isn’t the largest piece of drinkware he owns.

▼ “Hey, Masanuki! Check me out!”

▼ “It’s me, Squishy Sato!”

▼ “Check out my super-sized schnoz! Wahaha!”

We don’t know if this counts as buffoonery or tomfoolery, but either way, Masanuki remained stoic through it. Eventually, Mr. Sato put the glass down and added the ice cream.

So, we probably should have seen this coming, but Mr. Sato’s less-than-focused approach to dessert preparation meant that by this time, the frozen ingredients had started melting, so, visually, we pretty much lost all hope for the project at this point.

Not that this really instilled any sense of urgency in Mr. Sato.

▼ “Hey, the package says the whipped cream is ‘frozen’ (フローズン)! That reminds me of a song!”

▼ “You know, that part in “Imagine” when John Lennon sings ‘Frozen all the people,’ right?”

After pausing for several moments of awkward silence from Masanuki’s absolute non-reaction to his joke, Mr. Sato proceeded to pour a measure of whipped cream into the glass.

Next came the bananas.

Usually you’d cut these into smaller pieces, but with this much room to work with, Mr. Sato just put them in whole, encircling the pile of ice and whipped cream.

Now it was time for the kishimen noodles.

We should once again mention that no, in Japan noodles are not something most people put in parfaits. Actually, we don’t think anyone but Mr. Sato has ever done this. However, Japanese parfaits usually do include some kind of starchy stratum, like granola or corn flakes, and with only 20 yen left in his 1,000-yen budget, the 20-yen kishimen pack was all Mr. Sato could afford for this component.

The purin puddings also put Mr. Sato in a musical mood, as he held them while singing a lyrically rearranged version of the famous Lupin III anime theme song.

▼ “♪Purin, puriiiiiin!♪”

“Hey, Masanuki, did you just laugh?” Mr. Sato excitedly asked as his coworker turned his face away for a brief moment. When he looked back, though, Masanuki was as sullenly silent as he’d been for the entire process so far.

Like all proper purin, these ones have a caramel sauce on top. Mr. Sato was shocked, though, when the pudding flipped upside down when he went to put it in the glass.

Honestly, we didn’t think that made much of a difference in the unbridled visual mess that was sitting inside the glass, but Mr. Sato, craving symmetry in his sweets, now decided that all of the purin should be upside down.

He failed at this too.

Grabbing the whipped cream tube again, he created a conical swirl…

…added the strawberries…

…and then the azuki.

Then it was time to use up the last of the cream…

…crack open the canned lemon sour, and pour that in too.

At this point, something remarkable happened. Mr. Sato’s senpafe parfait…

…actually looked good!

With it being too big for a normal spoon, and “normal” not being a concept that had anything to do with Mr. Sato’s goals anyway, he instead grabbed a cooking ladle for tasting purposes.

▼ He made sure to get some noodles in the portion he dished up for himself.

▼ “Here I go!”

“Mmmmmm! It’s cold and delicious!” Mr. Sato remarked. “And the noodles are kind of like shiratama mochi dumplings,” he added, which are something normal people actually do put in their parfaits. “Not super-duper good, but they get the job done! So this senpafe is a success!”

Again, Masanuki remained unresponsive while Mr. Sato patted himself on the back with growing gusto. That’s when Mr. Sato had an idea.

▼ “Ahhhhh!”

▼ “I gotta tell Ahiru Neko about this!”

With that, Mr. Sato dashed off to the main office to grab another of his coworkers, since he always has so much fun with Ahiru Neko, like that time they blasted each other’s crotches with air and liquid.

“OK, what’s so important that you had to show me?” asked Ahiru Neko, good-naturedly entering the room after being pulled away from less insane work. “Oh, hey Masanuki,” he said, noticing him for the first time. “Haha what’s with the outfit?”

Now, finally, Masanuki spoke.

▼ “Ahiru Neko, you just laughed, right?”


See, unbeknownst to Ahiru Neko, this senpafe session was also a try-not-to-laugh-challenge, which is why Masanuki had been so stoic throughout. The penalty for laughing was a kick in the butt, which is what Ahiru Neko now had coming to him.

You might think it’s unfair that the rules got extended to Ahiru Neko, seeing as how he wasn’t part of the conversation when Mr. Sato and Masanuki had decided to play this game. What’s really unfair, though, is that the kicks weren’t going to be administered by Mr. Sato or Masanuki, but by another member of the staff, Go Hatori, whose hobby is kickboxing.

▼ Go even had his fighting trunks on for improved flexibility.

▼ “Haha I still don’t know what’s going on, but you guys are all pretty funny!”

After the kick, the four friends shared what was left of the parfait.

“So, what do you think? Pretty good, huh? Using kishimen noodles instead of mochi dumplings was a smart move, right?” Mr. Sato asked.

▼ Go: “Using kishimen like this is wrong.”
Masanuki: “Wrong.”
Ahiru Neko: “Totally wrong.”

▼ “But, it tastes good if we’re all eating it together, doesn’t it?”



In addition to a swift kick in the backside, Mr. Sato’s punishment for this culinary transgression was having to eat all of the remaining parfait by himself.

So is this the end of his senpafe ambitions? We’re not sure, but we are certain that he won’t be using kishimen like this again.

Images © SoraNews24
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