We all know certain things can enhance our enjoyment of food: setting, company, soundtrack, …slurping? In Japan, robustly slurping noodles is considered not only appropriate, but the best way to appreciate their savor. There are those, however, who don’t appreciate the sound. Solution? Noise-canceling fork, of course!
You may be tempted to double-check your calendar to make sure it’s not somehow already April 1 again, but rest assured, this appears to be a legitimate product, for sale on the Nissin website (they’re also the makers of Cup Noodles).
According to their promotional video, the noise-canceling fork is connected to one’s smartphone (naturally), and works by triggering a louder, presumably less-annoying sound to play when slurping is detected—so the noodle noise is covered up, not magically muted. While there may eventually be a range of options to choose from, the default slurp-masking sound is sort of like an ocean wave building and crashing into a space-age hyper-speed transporter. Interesting, for sure. But is hearing that a dozen times in a row really less grating than enduring sloppy slurping?
If you think the answer is obviously yes, and you feel like you need an Otohiko, they’re for sale for roughly $130.00 USD. But production will only begin once 5,000 orders have been placed. Get in on the ground floor and be part of a new movement! Or, you know, if you’re in a place where loud eating sounds are considered rude, just be a little more aware of your surroundings and dining companions, or suck it up and go eat lunch alone.
From the other side of things, there are many of us who would probably love to press these forks into the hands of loud chewers everywhere, but presumably they only work for noodle slurping at present. And what might the potential crunch-canceling sound like anyway? Maybe something like this, but replace the book stamping with food chomping. And while we’re on the topic of future food-noise-canceling innovation, how about a slurp-suppressing straw for the people who seem physically incapable of sipping their Starbucks silently? Or quieter gum that can’t be cracked (like a whip right to the eardrums)?
If you have a touch of misophonia, it’s probably too much to hope for that people will simply change their habits, much less exhibit common courtesy. So if it’s other people’s supping sounds that drive you crazy, you can always stick to the tried and true: noise-canceling headphones.
Header image courtesy of Nissin.