Saori Kako, who has worked as a rice-cooker developer for Panasonic since 1992, has become so skilled in the art of making rice that she can tell the weather just by studying the taste, texture, and look of the grain.
“When rice comes out fluffy, I know it’s sunny,” Kako told The Wall Street Journal. “I still don’t know exactly how I can do that.”
During the course of a day, Kako eats at least seven bowls of rice as part of her role as one of Panasonic’s “rice ladies” — experts who study the many different varieties of Japanese rice, and how to cook them.
The work of Kako and her peers has helped Panasonic develop some of the most technologically advanced rice cookers, to Japanese consumers and international visitors alike.
Panasonic’s range of rice cookers includes quick-cooking versions, no-frills machines, and high-tech cookers that can be started via smartphone.