A blog about culture and love in Japan

Manga Chibi: Eating “Nattô”



It was hands down the worst thing I ate in my entire life, and I’m not even joking.

First of all, the appearance isn’t appealing; it’s brown and also sticky when you stir it because of the fermentation process. Moreover, it smells like Hell has arrived on earth, aka something totally unholy.

Most of the foreigners in Japan don’t like nattô, because they are not used to the strong smell and flavor of that traditional dish. But since the sense of taste can be developped, it seems like you can get used to it after a couple of times eating nattô. I even met a cute 4 year old Japanese boy for whom nattô is his favorite meal of all times.

The world is full of things I don’t, and will never, understand.

I eat cheese; I love cheese, even the blue one. Fermentation is usually not a problem to me — but nattô is a completely different game. Hitomi, being the weird (and lovely) guy that he is, loves nattô, but doesn’t like cheese, because “Cheese smells bad and the taste is too strong”. I told him something is wrong with his brain, his senses are obviously upside-down. He just laughed and said “I’m going to eat nattô everyday and kiss you after”.

This is what love is, or so it seems.

I should try eating nattô a second time, so that I can get used to it before Hitomi tries to give me the Kiss Of Death.

I keep thinking that eating nattô in a sushi was probably not the best idea; there are actually other ways to eat it, which some of them involve mustard, soy sauce and/or rice. If I could just engulf the fermented soybeans with mustard… that might help.

Jokes apart, nattô is actually a very healthy dish; it has vitamin K in it, which helps regulating blood clotting and preventing bone loss. It’s also high in vitamin C and in nutrients similar to meat products, such as protein and iron.

All in all, if you like nattô, you are lucky.

My questions for you: have you ever tried eating nattô? Did you like it and in what ways did you eat it?



Author: Jasmine

Jasmine is a 20-something years old French-Canadian student and part-time blogger who loves traveling, drawing, listening to (all kind of) music and eating (everything). To achieve one of her biggest dream, she went in Japan for two months and a half as a tourist in 2013. She was an exchange student at Daito Bunka University in Saitama (near Tokyo) during the year 2014 - 2015. She is now studying to eventually become a nurse back in Canada, so she lacks time to write about Japan. You can still read all her posts on her blog, since she'll let them there for you to enjoy :)

14 thoughts on “Manga Chibi: Eating “Nattô”

  1. I like natto ^_^ My Japanese friend introduced me to mixing it with a bowl of yamakake soba for a truly neba-neba experience. It was a cheap, healthy summer meal at our work…but not everyone loves natto, obviously. I ordered some at a sushi place for my friends to try and one almost threw up on the table. x_x alala…


  2. I had the same experience with Stinky tofu in China…why would you eat something that smells like a barn in August? But my boyfriend made me promise that I would try it again because there are many different kinds and…I guess I will but it’s a crime against my tongue!


  3. Natto is tolerable to me, after soaking it in wasabi infused soy sauce, and provided there’s a big glass of beer to down it afterwards. Otherwise… I’ll be rolling on the floor crying…


  4. What a cute drawing! Tears on your face in the last panel made me laugh (sorry!).
    Yeah, natto is a tough cookie. My wife leaves out dining table when I am about to eat it at home (which I rarely do).
    If any consolation, LOTS of Japanese people, especially in Kansai region, hate natto, too, for the same reasons as yours.


  5. I really love your comics. You draw SO well~
    And it’s neat that you’re doing the typical 4 panel comics popular in Japan!


    • Thanks Grace~ I also of course love your comics!
      Oh you noticed! Yes I’m trying a bunch of ways to do it, I’ll see which one I (and the people who read) like the most!


  6. I love your cartoons for this article Jasmine! I have never tried nattô but based on your article, I don’t think I want to try it haha! There is actually a fruit that is purchased at the Chinese grocery store called durain. I bought it once for my mother-in-law, and the entire house smelled, it was awful! But, she loves it, and I knew that she did, so that was why I bought it for her. Needless to say, my husband and sister-in-law weren’t too thrilled with the smell the fruit brought into the house!


    • Thanks 😀
      I’m sorry I ruined it for you! Haha! But you still should try it and see for yourself, some people like it first try!
      How would you described the smell of that fruit?


      • I would say it smells like garbage, except 200 times stronger. It even smells when it’s wrapped! I don’t know how the workers can take the smell, it makes me feel very sick.


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