A while ago I had enough of my cheap Mediamarkt-ricecooker and decided it was time for a change in my kitchen.
The old cooker had costed something like € 35, but it has one disturbing disadvantage: when I cook more than 1 cup of rice or when I cook rice and vegetables together (which is supposed to be OK, according to the users’ manual), the rice gets burnt! Not the black-carbon-barbeque-kind of burning, but the rice gets brownish and (if it’s too much) the rice tastes no good anymore.
The manufacturor claims that “that’s the way most people in the far east (e.g. Thailand and China) prefer their rice: with a little brownish teint”. Well, I don’t. Neither do 99,9% of the Japanese, I guess.
So, I decided to (finally) get me a real Japanese ricecooker. But – small problem – none of the Japanese manufacturers export their ‘real’ ricecookers to Europe! It has to do with some regulations, I read somewhere. And since the market for luxury-ricecookers isn’t very large in Europe, the Japanese manufacturers obviously aren’t interested in adapting their cookers for the European market. They only export to the USA (besides Asia itself, of course). Simple reason: the USA has, just like Japan, a 110V/50Hz-electricitygrid. So no adaptions are necessary.
Sadly, the German customs got hold of the package and noticed the value of its’ contents, as mentioned on the shippinglabel. So, yours truly made a trip to the Berlin customs’ Office, paid the obligatory 19% VAT and took his cooker home.
Of course I knew the cooker is 110V, which doesn’t fit in the German (or any other European) socket. Again, globalization came to my assistence and delivered me my very own “Step up/down converter” a.k.a. a trafo. Now I have also one of these pretty Black Boxes in my kitchen, buzzing happily.
By the way, reading on Zojirushi.com, I discovered that Zojirushi has also developed something called an “iPot”! 😛 I have tried translating their iPot-site, but I don’t get it. It looks like a normal watercooker, but it has some kind of radio / mobile-phone / email functionality. It is made especially for the elderly people, but I don’t see what it does. Can the user start the watercooker from his mobile phone? Does the watercooker send an email to the family everytime it is used to let the family know grandma is still alive?? Hmm… I offer a bottle of nice wine and / or a dinner (with rice, of course) tho whoever can solve this mystery to me! You’ll have to come to Berlin to get the wine & meal, of course 😀