MITO, IBARAKI PREF. – A speed-eating competition involving “natto” fermented beans held Saturday in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, drew 92 participants, with the winner downing 350 grams of the sticky, stinky fare in just 27.7 seconds.
The top natto eater was Yasuharu Kimori, 27, from Ando, Nara Prefecture.
It was the second-fastest time in the 11 years the annual competition has been held to promote the local product.
“I have studied (eating methods) a lot for this competition. I finally won the championship after participating eight times,” a happy Kimori said.
Ibaraki Prefecture is well-known for producing large amounts of natto.
The event was canceled last year as a result of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, and the number of tourists heading to Ibaraki Prefecture was greatly reduced.
Of the top 10 participants, seven were from Ibaraki Prefecture, and the other three were from Tochigi, Saitama and Nara prefectures.
An American man also took part in the competition this year.