Several years ago NHK broadcast an exhaustive special on natto, containing more than you ever cared to know about that much-maligned sticky, stinky dish of fermented soybeans. One of the exciting pieces of information that NHK’s crack investigative journalism revealed was the number of times required to stir natto to a frothy, snotty perfection.

The magic number? 424. Any more agitation and the beans become overworked and loose their stringiness; any less and the right amount of air will not be incorporated — air needed to create just the optimal amount of foam.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.