Here is a brief introduction to Gaki no Tsukai‘s “Genkai” series. Genkai (限界) is Japanese for “limit” or “bound”. The series was apparently born out of Matsumoto flubbing his words when he went to order an iced coffee (aisu kohi), instead said “maisu mohi”, and the waitress returned with an iced coffee. So the question posed by Matsumoto is what is the limit a person can stray from the words of the item they want to order and still successfully receive it.
Since iced coffee was where it all began, iced coffee is the first in the series. Unfortunately I can’t embed the videos here, so you’ll have to struggle with clicking on the links below. I know you’re up to the challenge. These videos utilize YouTube’s subtitle feature so if you don’t have closed-captioning enabled you’ll need to click on the “CC” button along the bottom-right bar below the video.
I think this series provides some small of insight into Japanese culture. It would seem if a waitress or waiter does not understand what was said they pretend it was never said at all. I imagine in the U.S. wait staff would be far more likely to confront the person and ask for confirmation on what they said.
This might be my favorite in the series even though there are no subtitles available. This is 7th in the Genkai series and the entire Gaki cast gets in on the action. Their job is to order Omurice (オムライス) which is an omelette stuffed with rice and topped with ketchup. Look out for attempts at ordering an Anne Rice, a homo sapiens, and a near perfect ordering of one samurai at the end.
You’ll also notice in this video there’s a new twist in which Gaki members receive a cash prize if they successful in placing their order. The prize amount is based on the difficulty of the phrase being tested. The unit of currency is the Yen (円) and the values give in are “man” (万) which means 10,000. So “nana man yen” (7万円) would be 70,000 Yen. A rough, but simple way to calculate from Yen into U.S. Dollars is to treat 1 Yen like it is 1 Cent; movie the decimal point to the left two places and you’ve got your dollar amount; in this case $700 US. In reality 1 Yen is more like 1.3 cents, so 70,000 Yen would be closer to 900 dollars, but it gives you a general idea of how much money is up for grabs when Matsumoto’s attempt at ordering a 侍 is valued at 10万円.