If there’s anything Japan loves, its “gentei”.
“Gentei” basically just means “limited” – so limited time offer, stuff like that. Its not unique to Japan of course, in America we had lots of limited time offers as well. Thing is though, if whatever it was proved to be popular enough, it would transistion from limited time offer into a permanent staple. Anyone remember when the McDonald’s Monopoly Game was limited time only? Or how about the “special” first week run of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
…But not Japan. If Japan says gentei, they mean it – before you know it, it will disappear just as fast as Macaulay Culkin’s acting career. I remember when I did my study abroad 7 years ago, there was a variation of a drink called Qoo – it was peach flavored. You must trust me when I say that this was the most delicious shit, ever. Ambrosia of the GODS level. As if Zeus himself came down from Olympus and was like “what’s up guys, you gotta drink some of this shit, its the bomb!” I would buy a liter bottle from the nearby supermarket, and it would literally be gone within an hour. Both Americans AND Japanese would raid my fridge for a swig, and then I’d be left with an empty Peach Qoo bottle. Think about that for a sec – the Japanese, so reserved and worried about what other people may think of them, had no problems straight up jacking my peach drank. That’s how ridiculously good it was.
When I came back to Japan some 2 years later, naturally one of the first things I did was to search for some Peach Qoo. But I guess it was gentei, as it was just nowhere to be found. There was Apple Qoo and Orange Qoo and Yogurt Qoo and Muscat Qoo, but never peach. I’d ask the store clerks too, and they’d just give me this funny look as if the stuff never existed at all. …I’d bet good money that these selfish clerks were just hording cases of the shit in the back, and would indulge in Peach Qoo orgy baths after the store closed. After I left they’d just laugh and say “silly Gaijin, Peach Qoo is for Japanese!” Maybe I should have shown up with a baseball cap hiding my Gaijin features. If it worked for the Trix rabbit…
Much of Japan’s gentei revolves around the four seasons. Of course. Because Japanese people love the “unique” and “special” Four Seasons of Japan. As if the Earth somehow rotated around Japan, and all the other unfortunate countries of the world are stuck with one bland mono-season (with my apologies to readers in places like Hawaii and Singapore that truly do have mono-seasons…). I find the “Four Seasons of Japan” to be a load of rubbish anyway – Japan really only has two seasons – “natsu” and “fuyu”, which directly translated means “really farking hot” and “freeze your small intestines off cold”. Now, there is like a week of transistional weather between farking hot and fatal cold, where the weather is actually decent. Perhaps this is what Japanese people refer to as Fall and Spring. I dunno, personally, when I think of season, I think of a period of time much longer than a week. I would much rather call Fall and Spring in Japan “Harsh Weather Interludes.”
…But anyway, I digress. Japan’s big on the four seasons, so of course this is linked in with the gentei – many restaurants change up their menu for winter, spring, summer, and fall, with each offering a special gentei seasonal dish. And as usual, that gentei dish is the most delicious thing ever, but the very nanosecond the season changes over, that dish vaporizes into thin air. Last summer, Starbucks offered a Banana Cream Frappuchino or something, and it was really, really good. I can still remember the day I went to get one mid-September and was sorely disappointed…
Me: Yeah, I’ll have the Banana Cream Frappuchino…
Clerk: The what now?
Me: Banana Cream Frappuchino. You know, its got bananas…cream…perhaps some element of a coffee of some sort…
Clerk: …I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Me: The Banana Cream Frappuchino! I had one like two days ago!
Clerk (digging deep into the recesses of her brain): Oh…well, I still don’t know about this drink you speak of, but that was our Summer Menu. We’re on the Fall Menu now. How about a Chestnut Latte?
Me: How can you be on the Fall Menu, its still like eleventy billion degrees outside!
Clerk: But, its September, therefore it is Fall now. See, I wore my coat to work today. Fall.
Me: I don’t care what season it is, I just wanted a delicious Banana Cream Frappuchino…
Clerk: I simply do not understand why you would want to drink what is clealy a summer drink, when we are now in fall. Don’t the tastebuds of your tongue now yearn for Chestnut Latte?
And notice how this was last summer. I waited a year for that sucker to come back, but summer rolled around and the Banana Cream Frappuchino was never heard from again. Banished I suppose to the forbidden hell where left socks, television remote controls, and Billy Dee Williams all disappeared to.
Amazingly enough, despite Japan’s committment to making gentei disappear forever, there is one champion, one beast who fought his way out of Gentei Hades and now walks among the regular menu items: the McDonalds Mega Mac. Yep, The Mega Mac. This monstrousity was so popular that McD’s had no other choice but to add it to the regular menu. Not only that, but I guess to fill the gentei quota in the universe, they introduced other Mega burgers – the Mega Teriyaki, the Mega Sausage McMuffin, and even the Mega Mac with egg – for those of you who felt you just weren’t dying fast enough. Even in America – poor, gluttonous, over-stuffed America – we didn’t think “Hey, you know what this Big Mac is missing? Twice the meat!” But not only did McDonalds Japan do it, but the Japanese people ate it enough to break the gentei curse. …How Japanese people remain so thin and live so long will continue to remain at the top of my Japan Oxymorons list for the foreseeable future.
One of my good friends here went back to America last summer. He holds a rather unique title of having lived in Japan for 3 years, but never having not even one Japanese girlfriend. He’s a very cool guy, speaks great Japanese, and is as good-looking as a man can admit to another man being good-looking can be…but it just never happened.
During his final months here in the country, we were thinking of making him a shirt with “gentei” printed on it. The idea would be that he could tell girls that he was leaving Japan soon – thus the gentei. Seeing as how Japanese people love gentei, we thought it would make his stock skyrocket. We never got around to making the shirt, but I think it would have done pretty well, honestly.
Now, I’m all married now, so I can no longer indulge in such rampant acts of debauchery, but if one of you eligible bachelors out there, on your next girl hunt, would like to use the pick-up line “Hey baby, my dick is gentei.”, and then report your results back here…well, *I* certainly would be very appreciative.
As always, thank you for the continued donations! Unfortunately, I didn’t reach the target for the work story, so that tale will remain untold. But I will continue to update the site with other new content the best I can.
Again, thank you very much for the donations. Honestly, they help me to pay my rent right now.