Mar 1

Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91) is a staff writer for The Daily Yomiuri. A big part of his beat is the Pop Culture page, which covers manga, anime and video games.  You can follow Tom’s blog at

He also writes about food. Here is a recent article about a food science exhibition currently running at Tokyo’s Miraikan museum. The latter half of the story focuses in on the scientific-culinary concept of umami, often called the“fifth taste”:

How many calories are there in a 500-milliliter bottle of a zero-calorie soft drink? If you guessed zero, you might be right. But the correct answer could be as high as 24. This is one of the many fun facts visitors can learn at “It’s a Tasty World–Food Science Now,” an exhibition running through March 22 at the Miraikan science museum in Odaiba, Tokyo. Under Japanese law, according to a display debunking food myths at the show, a drink is “zero calorie” as long as it has less than five calories per 100 milliliters. (A note on vocabulary: A “calorie” and a “kilocalorie” are the same thing.)

Other displays include sniffable containers of food scents, which you can mix to create new aromas; videos of food processing factories, where plump onions comically pirouette on industrial peelers; and a glowing green tank of euglena, a photosynthetic microorganism seen as a promising future food source. Too bad its Japanese name, midori mushi–green bug–isn’t exactly appetizing….

Read the rest of the article here.

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