Happy belated Natto Day everyone! Don’t worry if your calendar doesn’t have 10 July marked off as the day to celebrate Japan’s sticky smelly and healthy fermented soy bean dish,  it appears no one’s is.

It is, however, the date the Kanazawa University has chosen to launch a trial run of Sky Natto which is natto fermented in bacteria harvested from 3000 meters above the Earth.

Sky Natto’s origins began as a research team from Kanazawa University was studying yellow sand samples taken from over the Noto Peninsula on the west coast of Honshu.  Yellow sand is sand of the deserts in central Asia which is kicked up in large quantities and blown in massive clouds eastwards.

In addition to being a nuisance for East Asian regions there are also fears that the sand may carry harmful viruses and bacteria, as well as man-made pollutants.

However, what the team discovered was not a killer virus but a strain of Bacillus Subtilis, better known in Japan as “the natto bacteria” and as its name suggests, is the primary agent in fermenting natto.

And so this new bacteria was put to use to make Sky Natto!

Sky Natto has more of that good stuff kids go for, like magnesium and calcium in addition to the health benefits often ascribed to regular natto. The taste and smell are said to be pretty much the same, which is like a marathoner’s socks.

Sky Natto can only be bought from Kanazawa’s university coop store for the low, low price of 50 yen, but may expand depending on these trial marketing results.

If you’d like to learn more about natto, please consult your local library, or better yet, come to Japan.  Within minutes someone will offer you free natto just to see your reaction.

Source: Kanazawa CARP Blog via Gizmodo (Japanese)

▼Here’s some Bacillus Subtilis.  Mmm mmm looks delish!
Photo: Y tambe, Wikipedia