End Noodle Harassment With This Technological Marvel

Slurping. Depending on your cultural background, hearing this sound at the dinner table may be interpreted as a compliment or as an annoyance on par with fingernails on a chalkboard. If you fall within the first group, what do you do when you have no choice but to dine with someone from the latter? Thanks to a Japanese inventor, there may be a way you can have your cake and eat it, too noodles, and slurp them, too.

Food manufacturing company Nissin has developed the Otohiko ramen fork. This ingenious device is more than an eating utensil; it bridges the cultural divide between slurpers and non-slurpers.

The electronic fork listens intently for the sound of a slurp. Upon detection, it instantly signals the user’s nearby smartphone to emit a noise-canceling response.

If you are imagining a peaceful meal where silence reigns, don’t get your hopes up too high. The “noise-canceling response” is another noise, which sounds remarkably like a combination of a flushing toilet and a text message alert. For those who find the sound of a slurp unbearable, however, they may welcome the alternative.

In case you are wondering, the issue addressed by this innovation is more than mere personal preference. The practice of loudly slurping noodles has a rich cultural tradition in Japan (although not quite as curious or potentially offensive as this Inuit custom of making noises from the other end of the body). Westerners, however, are decidedly less enamored with the noise. The continual complaints from non-Japanese patrons of restaurants have coined the term “nu-hara,” or “noodle harassment.”

The fork is in the pre-order stage, and one can be yours for $130.

Check out the video promotion for the slurp-canceling fork here and see if you think it is worth $130. You can decide which is more offensive: the sound of slurping, the sound of the noise cancelation, or the fact that four people are shown eating noodles with the same unwashed fork.

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Check out these articles on other groundbreaking inventions.

Interested in other curious cultural customs?

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