Nissin introduces noise-cancelling fork to counter slurping noises
Japanese cup-noodle maker Nissin is releasing a limited-edition fork called the OTOHIKO, that is designed to detect slurping noises, and then play a series of sounds to mask the slurping. It’s a drastic solution to what some in Japan call “noodle harassment”, where is a recent term about how the Japanese habit of slurping while consuming noodles is considered rude by foreigners.
It all sounds like an April Fool’s prank that has come out on the wrong month, but from the rather serious looking advertisement released along with it, it’s an actual product. The price tag is hefty, coming in at around 14,800 Japanese Yen (around US$130), but the implement, which looks like what would happen if you jammed a fork onto an electronic toothbrush, is limited to 5,000.
Check out the advertisement and judge for yourself:
The cumbersome looking fork has a microphone that will pick up sound. When it detects slurping noises it will beam a signal to your phone. Your phone, using a specially-designed app, will then play sounds that will cover up those sounds of pure food enjoyment.
Surprisingly, the technology behind the instrument comes from TOTO, the toilet and bidet maker. The utensil uses similar tech as those that mask embarrassing toilet noises.
So will the OTOHIKO catch on? Possibly more an item of cultural history. We just hope that it doesn’t embarrass Japanese change their habits of loudly enjoying a good bowl of great ramen.