Hear the stench of fermented soybeans, herring.
Anyone who puts off brushing their teeth in the morning or really enjoys garlic-heavy dishes or pairing beer with cheese knows how vile breath can get. But to appreciate just how strong certain odors can be without actually being present, Lotte, a Japanese/Korean food processing corporation, commissioned composer and pianist Takashi Niigaki to play impromptu piano pieces after getting good whiffs of smelly food.
The first video exposes Niigaki to nattō, fermented soybeans which have a strong following in Japan despite what many consider an unpleasant smell and taste. In the sequel, Niigaki endures the stench of surströmming, fermented Baltic herring considered the world’s stinkiest food. In both cases the odors are balanced out by the aroma of Lotte‘s ACUO breath mints, which it markets as being appropriate for chewing after eating “smelly but tasty food.”
Niigaki admits that he loves nattō and his positive feelings for it — as well as its sticky consistency — is reflected in the piece he plays. On the other hand, he found the surströmming powerful indeed and really had to improvise his feelings. He also admits that he was partially influenced by the models’ beauty.
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