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den4

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This is funny!
Food Ingredients First: Nutrition, Ingredients and Foods Online - Newsmaker :emoji_grinning:


Japanese perceptions of California rice tested

According to a professor of international business at California State University, Sacramento, in blind tests Japanese cannot tell the difference between California rice and domestic rice.

13/02/2003 Japanese consumers know rice. And nearly 80 percent of them "know" that California grown rice is inferior to domestically produced rice, and maintain they can tell the difference.

The perception plays a significant part in justifying Japanese trade restrictions on imported rice. But can they really tell the difference?

"The answer is, `no,`" said Ken Chinen, professor of international business at California State University, Sacramento. "In blind tests they cannot tell the difference even though they say they can."

Chinen, a native of Japan, put Japanese tastes and beliefs to the test in a series of experiments conducted in Sunnyvale and Sacramento. He asked 161 Japanese nationals to taste two portions of short-grained white rice-the kind preferred in Japanese cooking-and rate the samples according to sweetness, stickiness, texture, fragrance and whiteness. Participants were also asked a series a questions about their attitudes toward domestic and imported rice and, finally, to identify the samples as being Japanese- or California-grown. His findings will be presented at the Global Business Education Symposium on Feb. 11 at CSUS.

When the results were compiled they showed that Japanese consumers could not clearly tell the difference. Of the 80 percent who expressed a preference for rice grown in Japan, 40 percent misidentified the rice grown in Japan. Participants did even worse if they made their choices by smell alone: 50 percent incorrectly identified the Japanese-grown rice by its fragrance.

"Statistically speaking, there is no significant difference," Chinen said. "It`s just an issue of perception. Rice is rice."

Chinen said the real issues behind official Japanese distaste for foreign rice is economic and cultural, with a dash of national security.

"In Japan, rice is the source of culture, religion, wealth, power and aesthetics," Chinen said. "Rice is not just food, rice is more than that."

Domestic rice production is also tied to national security through fears that Japan-which relies on food imports to feed its burgeoning population-could be held hostage by foreign rice growers if it became dependent on imported rice. While that might be acceptable for other food products, to allow it to happen to rice would be perceived as a crisis.

"They worry that, some time in the future, other countries might use rice as a weapon," Chinen said. Indeed, 65 percent of the Japanese surveyed by Chinen said they were concerned about the island nation`s future food supply. In addition to worries about "food security," the Japanese are also concerned about the safety of foreign-grown rice. They fear that foreign rice may be contaminated with pesticide residues or harmful preservatives. According to a survey conducted by the Japanese Food Agency, 80 percent of Japanese consumers who prefer domestic rice are concerned about food safety. In Chinen`s study, approximately 50 percent of those who preferred Japanese rice expressed their concern about the safety of foreign rice.

Under international trade agreements, Japan does import rice-660,000 tons in 1999-but often re-exports it as food aid to impoverished nations. The United States supplies 51 percent of Japan`s imported rice, with approximately 75 percent of that coming from California growers; Thailand (19 percent), Australia (15 percent) and China (10 percent) are other major importers. Imported rice for the Japanese consumer is sold on the market at nearly four times the government`s cost.

Referring to a 20-pound bag of koshihikari rice, a preferred type of short-grained rice, Chinen noted that a California buyer could purchase it for under $14; the Japanese buyer would pay about $40 for a bag of the same rice grown in Japan.

"Middle-income Japanese consumers are starting to ask why they have to pay so much more for domestic products when similar foreign products are cheaper," Chinen said. Part of the answer is in the protectionist policies pursued by the Japanese government at the urging of domestic rice growers-very similar to the political influence American agribusinesses have on U.S. policy.

"It is in the politicians` interest and in the farmers` interest to protect the price of rice," Chinen said, "but that might not be best for everyone. I`m on the side of the consumer."

Chinen said he hopes his study will open the door to a greater acceptance of California rice-which is already considered the best of the imported rice-by Japanese consumers, and eventually helping open the market.

Source: Scienceblog.com
 

thomas

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Of course they cannot tell the difference. We once cooked dinner for Japanese friends using Italian rice and amidst all "oishii, oishii" acclamations they didn't even notice it's "non-Japanese" rice.

:D

When the results were compiled they showed that Japanese consumers could not clearly tell the difference. Of the 80 percent who expressed a preference for rice grown in Japan, 40 percent misidentified the rice grown in Japan. Participants did even worse if they made their choices by smell alone: 50 percent incorrectly identified the Japanese-grown rice by its fragrance.

"Statistically speaking, there is no significant difference," Chinen said. "It`s just an issue of perception. Rice is rice."

Another myth vaporized, lol.
 

den4

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the next target will be beef

although, back in the early 90's, they did do a blind test on tv in J-land where they asked common folks to taste the beef from Japan, the beef from the US and the beef from Australia....and most of them had no idea which one was from japan.... :D
 

thomas

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While we're at rice:

Rice on Japan's mind during WTO ministers' talks in Tokyo

Most Japanese insist on home-grown rice. The word for rice, 'gohan,' is synonymous with eating and sometimes even making a living. Almost all the 770,000 tons of rice the nation has been required to import under WTO rules are processed and used for rice crackers, soybean paste and rice wine. Any talk about opening the market to foreign rice sets off warnings about food security. Japan is already among the world's biggest food importers, relying on imports for 60% of its food.

=> bluebull.com/servlets/SimpleHTX.servlet.SimpleHTXServlet?X_PRG=J_DET_NEWS&X_PRD=3&X_PKT=WWWIDE&X_PCO=ITD&X_LAN=en&X_GENTYP=GENBROWS&X_NEWS=930582&X_REUT=3
 

miyuki

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the grain self-sufficiency rate

I guess people who support the thought "Japanese love Japanese rice or beef" may be concern about our food-sufficiency.
In fact the grain self-sufficiency rate in Japan is falling.
It is 27% in 1999-wheat 9%,feed crops 35% (beef 35%),
rice 95%.
The self-sufficiency rate of soybean which is the materials of natto,tofu,miso,syoyu is 3%.
I understand they want to say "Japanese love Japanese rice or beef."

As for me,I am concerned about the safety of import food and domestic one.
I want to eat food with more safety.
:)
 

dogcountry

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Domestic or Imported rice

About the rice discussion and can one tell the difference of domestic and imported. When I lived in Kamakura for a time I was a sailor aboard a vessel that sailed from Yokohama to Inchan, Korea on a steady basis. My lady explained to me that the Korean rice was far superior. She told me to bring back all I could. Each trip I would pack two huge carrying bags with Korean rice. She would give away some to friends and her's she would hide away. If I remember it seems to me the actual kernal was larger. It did nothing for my taste buds as even today, rice is rice.
Reading posts I note someone mentioned rice as "gohan." I guess my limited Japanese is slipping as I always thought the word for rice was 'Kome." Like "kome to yasai tsukurimasu" Maybe I better pull out my reference books, dust them off and review.
 

thomas

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I'm not quite sure, but I think kome is unboiled rice where as gohan is cooked.
 

mdchachi

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Of course they cannot tell the difference. We once cooked dinner for Japanese friends using Italian rice and amidst all "oishii, oishii" acclamations they didn't even notice it's "non-Japanese" rice.

Assuming you cooked them Italian food, it wouldn't make sense to use the short-grain high-glutin Japanese rice. I don't think any Japanese would claim that Italian food tastes better with Japanese-style rice.

Now if you cooked them Japanese food and gave them long-grain pilaf-style rice, you can bet they noticed it even if they pretended not to.
 

thomas

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Well, we didn't have any other rice at that time, so we actually used arborio rice which is used for instance for risotto to prepare Japanese food (a sacrilege, I know). I'm not sure if it's short or medium-grained rice. Lol, perhaps you are right, and they just pretended not to notice.

:)
 

dogcountry

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Well, after spending 27 years in the navy I've had many a meal throughout the world served with rice. I have always checked to see if the rice was the long-grain species. I've had some extremely poor quality too. I lived in Costa Rica for a couple of years and thought their rice was of the poorest quality; so inferior that I stopped eating it. Not knocking Costa Rican food, just that I personally didn't care for the native grown rice there.
 

den4

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When I was in college, the rice they served there was the long grain version, but even long grain rice can taste good (ie it is served in Chinese Restaurants, at least in the US).....however, I don't know what they did, but the rice served in college was just nasty.... :p
One day it would be like soup, the next it may be like glue, and the next it would be hard, like they didn't cook it right, and it always tasted like it had some nasty metal-flavor, most likely from the great rectangular pans they used to steam/cook the evil-tasting rice....
I've often wondered what caused that metallic flavor, since no other food ever tasted like that, but I must assume that they had a different cook every night, and chances are they never washed the rice before cooking it.....
I realize that catoring companies the world over for colleges are most likely fairly bad, but any cook that creates cardboard-hard steaks needs help; and for those students that would ask other students to give them their steaks, and you'd see these large, football players hungrily attacking a stack of 10-12 or more of these cardboard steaks and chowing down on the nasty rice may have created a generation of americans that have no taste in any culinary excellence.....
I'm no food critic, but rice should not be glue, and steaks should not be of cardboard consistency..... :p
 

dogcountry

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Well, we both know the others opinion of rice. How about telling me a bit of your background, name, where from, college major whatever you can come up with to make yourself sound important. I will do the same.
 

den4

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Came from this backwater place on the west coast that sponsors the Mushroom (silicon) Forest that is going downhill faster than Koizumi's popularity polls...majored in telecommunications and film studies and minored in J-lingo, but with budget cuts (similar to what is going on now), my major did not amount to much, and my J-lingo ability was laughable at best...realized that when I began working in Japan...
den4 knows nothing, however, so this assumption of yours, that I make myself sound important, is definitely a misplaced view that you need to correct asap, before you fall prey to the delusions created by the Lord of Confusion...
 

dogcountry

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Year of college, languages mostlyand totaled about 1000 hours of our favorite. Captained and narrated cruises in Miami, Japanese and Spanish for 8 yrs.. Own at present a boarding kennel in FL. and doing ok as a senior. Into doggie activities. That's it my friend. Actively particapated in the Mariel (Cuba) boatlift in 1980, still in navy etc.
 

Iron Chef

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I am a fan of all varieties and flavors of rice (depending on the context in which it is used) to accentuate dishes except for maybe couscous which for some reason doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it's the grainy texture but that's just me. While technically made from semolina, couscous is very close to the rice family especially in the way it is used although it is not rice per se and originates from North Africa.
😄
 

den4

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I recall a time in the early '90's when they had a rice shortage in Japan, and Thai rice was imported, and some idiot japanese were dumping it in the street because it didn't taste like Nihon Mai...when they showed it on the news over there, I thought, what a waste! Of course it didn't taste like J-rice because it wasn't even the same type of rice......tossing it away and dumping it on the street was the same mentality of the US representatives that smashed Japanese cars in the '80's, because Japan wouldn't give up its protectionist policies.....the main difference is that when you have a rice shortage, you take anything you can get....and dumping it in the streets did show how spoiled J-society was at the time.....I doubt the same mentality would exist now, with all the homeless running rampant around these days......
 

thomas

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Yep, it entered history as the Yokohama Rice Party. :D
 
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