- Nothing is wasted and very eco-friendly
- Straw-made products
- Natto was originally wrapped with straw
- The relation of straw with traditional Japanese culture
Nothing is wasted and very eco-friendly
Rice is harvested during the fall in Japan. You can see people drying rice plants after harvesting the rice fields. Rice farmers create some products out of straw during the off season.
The excess straw can be used for fertilizer or cattle feed.
The products made of straw can be easily burned and disposed of if they wear out. People in Japan utilize every part of the rice plant in their lifestyle.
They make many kinds of products ranging from sandals, umbrellas, and even snow boots out of straw. Before plastic bags, straw was used to wrap food. People even made thatched houses out of straw. Today, cheaper materials have taken the place of straw, and we hardly ever see thatched housing and straw products.
Natto was originally wrapped with straw
Natto used to be wrapped in straw, because straw keeps a humidity level that’ll quicken the fermentation process. It is said that 1 string of straw has about 10,000,000 bacteria. Straw also absorbs the smell of ammonia, so it has a more, pleasant smell when eating. Natto is packed in plastic cases today, but there are still some companies that pack natto in straw.
The relation of straw with traditional Japanese culture
Straw is in fact very closely connected to traditional Japanese culture, such as festivals and rituals. The sacred rope called “Shimenawa” is also made of straw.
Shimenawa is necessary for New Years in Japan. There are people who strive to pass down these traditional straw crafts and techniques to the next generation. Straw isn’t just something that grows in a rice field, it is also part of the wisdom of ancient Japanese people, for a sustainable lifestyle.