If you haven’t heard of Gudetama before, you’re in for a treat. Gudetama – often described simply as “grumpy egg” – has quickly become one of the most popular Sanrio characters in Japan and all over the world, even. First introduced in 2013, this lazy, negative, avid procrastinator of a yolk is known to always be finding an excuse for a few extra minutes of sleep.
I first learned about him in the States a few years ago when he was first introduced, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Not sure why – maybe it’s because of his hilarious facial expressions, or his adorable tiny arms. Or maybe it’s because I find his sluggish disposition and distaste for physical activity extremely relatable.
Luckily (or, unluckily) for me, a famous Gudetama themed cafe just happens to be located in the heart of Osaka, in the Hep Five building across from Umeda station. So, of course, when I discovered that a cafe dedicated to my favorite character sits only a few stations away, I pushed the destination to the top of my bucket list and forced a few of my friends to go with me.
We arrived at the cafe around 3pm. We had to wait for about 15 minutes outside (usually the wait can be up to an hour on weekends, so we weren’t complaining), but the entrance to the cafe was entertainment enough to make the wait itself enjoyable. Posters of the defeatist little yolk muttering signature catchphrases, like “Pah,” “Ugh,” “Meh,” “I can’t,” and “Seriously, I can’t, lined the entryway, which kept us company as we made our way to the front.
The front desk has shelves of Gudetama-themed products on display – from t-shirts to tote bags to cell phone charms. I had to turn away after a minute though, because I was about 5 seconds from buying up every single key chain in sight.
After being seated – and after dedicating the first few minutes of our visit to taking pictures of every inch of the room – my friends and I focused our attention on figuring out what to order. I already knew what I wanted – I’d seen several customers at nearby tables sipping soda from these lightbulb-shaped containers with Gudetama’s face plastered on the front and I knew that I had to have my own. I mean, how was I supposed to resist sipping from a lightbulb with Gudetama’s classic facial expression plastered on the front? (A lightbulb which, might I add, also lights up at the push of a button.)
And then I checked the price. 850 Yen for a bottle. Yes, 850 – about $8 in the States. If any other establishment attempted to charge me $8 for artificially flavored soda, I’d leave immediately and probably flip a table or two on my way out the door. But I had to make an exception, as the Cafe knew I would. Because many a die-hard Gudetama fan would pay anything for that light-bulb-shaped container.
The soda itself was sickeningly sweet and I kind of hated it – pretty sure it was just sparkling water mixed with about 20,000 pumps of mango-flavored syrup. I ended up dumping it out in the sink when I got home.
But honestly, it was worth it.
Though, I’m not planning on making many more trips to the Gudetama Cafe, because I’d go probably go bankrupt if I did.