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I guess you all know that Japanese people love rice, right ?
Not only do we usually eat as cooked rice, but also as sweets and make it into Mochi; yes, rice is an essential part of Japanese culture.
However, as bread and pasta become norms in Japan, the quantity of rice eaten has been decreasing from year to year. For example, in the latter part of the Showa 30s (early 1960s), Japanese people consumed 118 kilograms of rice per person. Yet in Heisei 18 (2006), only 61 kilograms were consumed per person. This is almost half the quantity of consumption.
This is has become a large problem for Japan's rice farmers.
However, on November 11th this year, Sanyo put their new bread maker 'GoPan' product on sale in answer to the farmers hopes. This bread maker 'GoPan' can make bread from rice grains.
A bread maker is a machine with which one can make bread easily from wheat flour within your own home. There are a number of bread makers on sale now with which you can make a variety of breads from wheat flour and a few which allow you to make bread from rice flour too, however you cannot make bread from rice. Rice flour is expensive and is also slightly inconvenient.
However, with Sanyo's GoPan, if you have some rice, even if you don't have any rice flour, you can still make make bread. Bread made from rice has a nice chewy texture, is cheaper, and more filling and people allergic to wheat can eat it safely.
For these reasons, GoPan has become a big hit and now the makers are in a situation where they cannot keep up with the demand. The rice farmers are hoping that this might lead to an increase in need for rice too.
Rice bread ? Yuk ! That doesn't sound appetising ! You might think that, but if you get a chance, give it try.