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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Natto Challenge - Japanese Nutcracker

Want to see a Japanese game show involving the losers getting their testicles smacked?

Sure you do.

Here, on YouTube is the GNT Kiki Series 23, which I have no idea what that means, except that perhaps it is the 23rd such food challenge, this one involving natto.

Not sure what natto is?

It's rotting, fermented soybeans that have a strong smell and taste that half the country of Japan refuses to eat.

Not only does it have this gross mucous-like stickiness to it, but it supposedly smells and tastes bad, and as such, the true test of any foreigner in Japan wanting to fit into Japanese culture would involve them eating natto.

It's true that you might be best served by hopping INTO a bathe BEFORE you eat natto, still rest assured that while I love to eat natto, there are other things I prefer to eat more.
Say hello to the natto champion - me. It might seem like it's the girl in the bathtub, but unless she's eating all that, it's still me... the international champion at any rate.

Yup, Not only could I eat natto, but I enjoyed it. I would ask for leftover packages of natto from the school lunches to take home with me so that I could have a free dinner a few days a week.

Natto... you open up the stick pack, dump in some soy sauce and some mustard. You can add some scallions and even a raw egg - all of which I did - and then add the goopy mess atop a field of white Japanese sticky rice.

Mmmmmm - oishi. Which means 'tasty'.

It's not... at least not really, but I dislike the Japanese thinking they were superior to me, the foreigner, just because I could not or would not eat natto. Screw that. I made sure I was the natto eating champion. I told them it was delicious and always asked for more.

Suck on your stereotypes. I'm breaking the mold.

Now... I may have had an advantage over many of you others who have tried and disliked natto. My nose, despite being a handsome thing on the middle of my face, does not take in odors very well. So... if it smelled, I never really noticed it. Taste? It was like hard cooked baked beans on the outside and soft mushy baked beans on the inside. Nothing to it.

Anyhow... back to the natto challenge.

I watched one of these shows involving mayonnaise and the same five hosts, and I can't imagine anyone having the wherewithal to be able to discern differences in mayonnaise, but they did.

So... I was curious to see how they could do with natto. I knew of only one brand back in Japan, and found the same brand here in Canada . And yeah, I have eaten it here when I didn't have to - sometimes just to freak out the restaurant owners.

Anyhow, the five hosts are blindfolded and get to taste natto and then unimpaired get to taste 15 varieties of natto to see if they can figure out which was the brand that they had originally tasted.

Failure to get the right answer provides an opportunity for two burly Japanese men wearing some sort of food vendor related costume to come out holding a thick straw cylinder, place it between the loser's legs and then smash it upwards into the natto sac, I mean testicles and then slide it back and forth in what can only be described as some sort of Japanese homo erotic humiliation punishment.

I know, I know... but it's funny.

The Japanese and these food games is quite bizarre... I recall that even back in the early 1990s roughly 50 percent of the television shows on were food-related, from cooking, to trivia to anime (cartoons) to challenges. One of the then-more weird one was the Second Taxi Drive Fish challenge, implying that there was another time where taxi drivers were challenged to determine if they could figure out what fish it was they were eating.

Strangely, that was far easier than this natto challenge.

Here's the video - and from the still image here, it takes a lotta balls to think this would be easy enough to eat:


Cheers,
Andrew 'nutty 4 natto' Joseph

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