It’s no 3D product, electric bike or smartphone: the one gadget the Japanese really want at the moment is a rice bread maker, namely Sanyo’s Gopan. The device can make bread after milling the rice that most Japanese households already have on hand anyway.
The machine is the first that bakes bread with rice grains (and not rice flour). And it’s supposedly super-easy to use: just put water, salt, sugar, shortening, wheat gluten, dry yeast and about 220g of rice in the bread pan, press the start button and wait four hours to get a fresh-baked loaf.
And Japan is totally nuts for this thing. Driven by coverage on national TV, the web and in magazines, demand has gone through the roof (in summer, Sanyo even opened an official Gopan Cafe in Tokyo).
The company had to postpone the roll out from early October to mid-November and recently, Sanyo even announced [JP] it will stop accepting orders in the next few days.
The Gopan comes in red and white, weighs about 11kg and is priced at about $615. Sanyo will probably resume accepting orders in April 2011.
This video shows how the device works: