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Done with dinner? Have your chopsticks for dessert

"Tatami flavored" edible chopsticks are seen in this photo provided by Kumamoto-ken Igusa Tatamiomote Kasseika Renraku Kyogikai.

KUMAMOTO -- Who needs to worry about wasteful disposable chopsticks when you can eat them once you're done? With pairs of edible chopsticks developed by a farmer's alliance here and now available online, that's exactly what you can do.

    A liaison council of igusa soft rush growers based in Kumamoto Prefecture's Yatsushiro area put its innovative product on the market on July 20, after the chopsticks were distributed to customers at three restaurants in Tokyo and Kumamoto Prefecture in late March, triggering widespread interest on social media and comments such as, "Where can I buy them?"

    The munchable implements are made from flour, sugar eggs and plant rush, the primary material in tatami mats. So not only is the product an original concept, it is also a chance for the group to promote domestically grown rush -- which has been dwindling in popularity due to a decrease in the number of tatami rooms, as well as competition from overseas.

    After coming up with the idea, the group -- which consists of igusa farmers who account for more than 90 percent of the domestic rush market -- collaborated with Marushige, a confectionary maker based in Aichi Prefecture that makes ice cream cones and edible trays. The Aichi firm created the tatami-flavored chopsticks using organic edible rush.

    The edible chopsticks currently on sale have been made at a low heat, giving them a crunchy texture, and one set of chopsticks contains as much fiber as a plate of salad.

    Commenting on the new product, the Kumamoto group states, "We want to give customers the chance to taste 'tatami' through edible chopsticks."

    A pack of five pairs of chopsticks costs 1,930 yen (excluding tax). For further information, visit https://ohashitatami.thebase.in/ (Japanese text only).

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