[From November Issue 2010]
Many electric appliances sold in Japan are made to accommodate the country’s customs and climate. A suihanki, or rice cooker, is used to cook Japan’s most staple food, and is found in most Japanese households. Most suihanki have a programmable setting to cook rice at a predetermined time, as well as a warming function to help maintain a certain temperature.
Panasonic Corporation’s “Steam IH Jar SR-SJ2” series incorporates an abundance of functions. It can cook rice in 13 different ways, including gruel and vinegar rice (for sushi), and milled or unpolished rice. Users can adjust the cooking times and temperature automatically through its liquid crystal display and via voice navigation.
This cooker also uses various other technologies guaranteeing perfectly cooked rice every time. The inner bowl is composed of multiple layers of specially processed aluminum and stainless steel, all specially coated. This helps maintain a constant temperature, making each grain of rice plump and delicious. Further steaming and warming creates a coating that keeps each grain soft, even after it cools down, making the cooked rice ideal for boxed lunches.
“We measure the sweetness by machine but confirm it by having people taste it, all in the pursuit of perfectly cooked rice,” explains TAKANUMA Tomoka, a member of Panasonic’s appliance product team. “Also, in order to make the special coating durable, we conducted repeated experiments, and made continual improvements to about 1,000 inner bowls, before getting it just right,” she adds.
Japan is located in a humid region. Mitsubishi Electric Home Appliance Co.’s “AD-S80LS Futon Dryer” is an appliance that reflects this reality by helping easily dry both futons and pillows.
To use the AD-S80LS, you place the included thin mat under the bed sheet. Then, when you want to dry the futon, you remove the sheet and attach a hose from the dryer to one corner of the mat and turn it on. The AD-S80LS then circulates warm air to the mat, gently inflating it while completely drying it out.
“The mat is made with a specially processed fabric, which makes it possible to send out warm air in moderation,” says INAMI Junichi, part of Mitsubishi’s home electric appliance technology department. “A mat has three seams and four breaks. Among the four corners, two are left unstitched. The two open corners are sandwiched with triangle stitches. By experimenting, we discovered that this mat was most effective for drying futons. Sometimes we even worked all night stitching mats for these experiments,” he explains.
The AD-S80LS has one sensor and a simple computer. With them, it reads the room temperature and automatically adjusts the futon drying temperature. It can make seasonal adjustments to keep the futon warm in winter or cool in summer.
The AD-S80LS also includes convenient household attachments. With it comes a big blue cover that can be used to dry laundry. Just cover your damp clothes with it, close it around the hose and let the hot air flow in. Boots and shoes can also be dried by inserting the other, adjustable plastic attachments, which can then be inserted and used as boot holders. Finally, the included deodorant sheets can also be attached to the hose to help remove odors from the bedding.
Text: SAZAKI Ryo