Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Nattou (Fermented soybeans)

Natto, fermented soybeans, is less of a foodstuff than an elaborate hoax played on foreigners in Japan.

Of our five senses, sight and smell immediately tell us that natto is not something to be put near our mouths. If you can imagine putrid beans covered in slime, you don’t even need to open the packet.

It’s most popular in Tokyo, where the smell of the filthy ocean makes natto seem fragrant.

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