Here is another prefecture-specific article; today, I’d like to introduce an article about Akita, a prefecture in the Tohoku region of Japan!
According to a study of Tsukuba University in 2000, it is revealed that 77% of Akita residents have NN type gene, which is a sign of high alcohol tolerance. This percentage is the highest in Japan, and Akita people are in fact well known as big drinkers. This is also backed up by the national survey, which indicates the highest alcohol consumption of the region!
Interestingly, this national survey also shows that Akita’s high consumption of ‘sugar’, which is two times of national average! I think we usually say that big drinkers don’t eat sweets…, but was I wrong??
Well, according to an independent research of this article, the trend in sugar consumption varies between north and south part of Akita. But both areas do use more sugar than other areas when cooking food. For example, rice can be eaten with sugar and soy sauce, and sugar can be added to natto and potato salad, which are all pretty uncommon in other areas. (Personally speaking, I have never heard that natto can be eaten with sugar…!)
But why is sugar heavily consumed in Akita?
An author of an Akita food book concluded that this must be due to their heavy use of rice malt (Rice malt brings slight sweet taste to food). In Akita, for example, rice malt is used for pickles, and this could be the reason why they prefer to have sweet taste with rice.
One concern here is that the region also has a trend of childhood obesity. As the highest obesity rate in 2006 went to Akita, the situation has been improved since then, but when it comes to adult, it must be difficult to change the status if you like both alcohol and sweets…
What do you think about today’s article?
I will be looking forward to hearing your opinion 🙂
This is JAPAN Style!