Sound-cancelling Forks Are the Next Big Thing: Yay or Nay?

When eating ramen, do you slurp the noodles loudly like the Japanese do? Do you stuff in as many noodles as you can into your mouth, and ignore the death glares directed at you from neighbouring tables? Or do you stare right back at their faces and give them a “Sorry, not sorry” shrug?

We’ve all been annoyed by a someone who slurps their noodles as if they’re inhaling the damn thing, and we’ve all wished we could go up to them and dump the bowl of noodle on them instead of fuming silently. Well, we’re happy to announce that a Japanese instant-noodle titan, Nissin, has stepped up and created a noise-cancelling fork designed to drown out the sounds from slurping ramen and other noodles.

The sound-cancelling fork is called the Otohiko, a ramen utensil that’s designed to mend the “cultural friction” that exists among cultures that encourage slurping and cultures that unwelcome the act, viewing it as offensive or downright rude.

Nissin promoted the sound-cancelling fork by creating a video that features three Japanese people sitting across a group of Westerners at a table. The contrast between the two cultures is made clear when the Westerners start eating their ramen quietly, silently enjoying the noodles whereas the Japanese makes all sorts of loud, boisterous slurping noises while consuming them. The Westerners find the sound off-putting — which kicks off a series of events that ultimately lead to the creation of the Otohiko fork.

Otohiko is a fork that looks vaguely like an electric toothbrush, and is equipped with a highly directional microphone that recognises the slurping noise. A signal is sent to the device, which immediately emits a loud, electronic noise that sounds like waves washing ashore combined with futuristic space sounds.

Retailing at ¥14,800 (around RM558) via crowdfunding, there needs to be 5,000 backers by 15 December in order for the high-tech cutlery to go into production. However, it appears that Nissin is only selling the Otohiko fork in its native country Japan, where it will be shipped in early 2018.

Watch the one-minute-long advertisement here:

What do you guys think of the Otohiko? Is it necessary? Or just a huge waste of money?