Posts Tagged ‘Gopan’

More ways to try before you buy

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

In the market for ... ? Ocarina lets potential buyers road-test appliances.

Not sure if you need a fancy single-serve coffee maker in your kitchen or if a Roomba scooting around would freak out the dog? Now you can try out expensive home appliances before buying them at Ocarina Rental. Products include the vacuuming robot Roomba, Dyson’s bladeless fan and Gopan, the briskly selling breadmaker that uses rice instead of flour.

The basic rental period is five days and prices range from about ¥2,000 to ¥5,000. Rental can be extended for as long as two months. There is no deposit, but unlike most online shopping in Japan, the only way to pay is by credit card. The delivery driver checks your ID with your first delivery.

Users say they like the service not only to see if, say, the homemade bread is good and easy to make but also to see how well the breadmaker will fit on their kitchen counter. One commenter on the site said she had rented the breadmaker to see if the sound it makes grinding up the rice would be too noisy for a small apartment.

It’s not all cooking and cleaning — there are a few tech toys on the takeout menu, too. The Parrot quadrocopter, a remote-control styrofoam hovercraft piloted by iPhone or iPad, is coming soon. Eyeclops night-vision goggles will also be available later this month, too.

While detailed specs for all products are listed on the site, one thing not listed is the purchase price. The fact that some products can be purchased is buried in the FAQs. The focus is on the trying, not the buying.

Continue reading about trying before you buy →

Chefs rise to rice-flour roll cake challenge

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Roll your own: A selection of cakes made from rice flour featured in a recent Daimaru competition

Soft, springy and yummy, the mochi mochi rice-flour roll cake (Swiss roll) is in the spotlight this month at Daimaru Tokyo department store. Until Feb.22  the store is hosting Japan’s first rice-flour roll cake championship. The competition features 15 different types of roll cakes battling it out each day to win a place on the list of top five roll cake role of honor.

Mochi mochi means springy in Japanese and is used to describe the charms of bread or cakes made from rice flour. The rising popularity of rice-flour products, a option that is particularly attractive to people who are allergic to wheat flour, has largely been fueled by the runaway success of Sanyo’s Gopan “home bakery” machine. The device, which launched in November 2010, was so popular that Sanyo couldn’t meet customer demand and the company has had to stop taking orders until production can be increased in April.

Rice flour is not the only unusual ingredient in these roll cakes, and this competition really shows off the creativity of roll-cake chefs from all over the country. The diverse ingredients used in the cakes include green tea, sesame, mikan, soy, Japanese chestnut and purple sweet potato (beni-imo).

Each slice costs ¥367, and the names of the best-selling five cakes are displayed on a board the next day. Many visitors will be eager to try out the Momo Kome Roll created by celebrity Miyoko Oomomo (whose nickname is Momo-chan).  Made with special Niigata momo rice, the roll is filled with rich strawberry cream. Though they all sounded tempting, we were drawn to the one with a cute cow’s face made out of cream and sponge.

The Daimaru event is another indication that rice-flour products are still hot in 2011. According to Walker Plus, limited-edition koshihikari bagels made from rice flour went on sale at Bagel & Bagel last month and, until the end of January, Mister Donut sold doughnuts made from rice flour in soy, sesame and chocolate flavors.

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