It is often said the Inuit have dozens of words to describe types of snow, and in Japan it is the same for rice. Now, a collaborative effort is underway to refine and define the terminology used to describe the nation's dietary staple.

A national research center and a private company have begun working together to think up clever definitions to be used in a rice terminology dictionary in a bid to more accurately and descriptively catalog the myriad words that define rice's taste, aroma and texture in the Japanese language.

Rice producers and distributors are hoping by setting standards for common expressions that are often a little ambiguous, they can more accurately convey the "individuality" of products to consumers, such as "rice that has a sweet aroma, is fluffy yet firm with a strong umami flavor."