One thing I’m insanely jealous of is Japan’s incredibly involved ways of catering to their audience. Osomatsu-san, being at the height of its popularity when I was over in Tokyo last March, had tons and tons of collaborations all around the city, and my favorite was most definitely the collaboration with Bakudanyaki, a stand in Ikebukuro serving amazing takoyaki.
When I got to Ikebukuro in the morning, I noticed the stand and the sextuplets in their cutout glory and grabbed a lottery ticket – and to my happiness I received ticket number 14 (十四) which just so happens to be the name of one of my favorite characters. What luck! I was to come back in a few hours with ticket in hand. The popularity of these events is so extreme that there needs to be a ticketed system in place, or else the line would grow far too long and beyond what the servers can handle.
Hours (and lots of bumming around in Ikebukuro) later, I got in line when my number was called, and while queueing we were given forms to fill out to write down how many keychains and buttons we wanted to buy. You could choose the keychains by character but the buttons were a blindly packaged secret, so I figured two was a safe bet and anticipated the treat waiting ahead – which requires mentioning that smelled delicious. I got my loot, my yaki, and was soon on my way – so ready and excited to eat it.
The yaki itself was incredible. The cooks had put in something to reflect the colors of all of the sextuplets, with vegetables covering yellow, red, and green, and some food dyes for some of the more unnatural colors. It was so savory and tasty, and far exceeded expectations for anything the NEETs could cook themselves. The cherry on top (or in this case, the cookie) was a printed wafer – mine had Todomatsu! He was almost too cute to eat. Almost. The Bakudanyaki experience was such a joy to experience while in Tokyo, and I’m glad to have the souvenirs to show for it.