In an effort to beat the recent cold snap that befell Japan, our writer Ahiru Neko discovered Edible Kairo (Edible Heat Packs) but got a little carried away.

In Japan, a popular way to endure the cold is the use of kairo: small pads that chemically react with the oxygen in the air to generate heat. They’re surprisingly cheap, effective, and long lasting and can conveniently slip into your pocket or adhere to your clothes depending on the type you buy.

On 7 December a new alternative to the kairo emerged. Called Taberu Kairo, or Edible Kairo, these tablets claim to provide the same warmth of the regular heat pads, only from the inside out. And at 1,000 yen (US$8.25) for a packet of just 16 tablets, this product isn’t messing around either. The reason for the steep price is the main ingredient: 250 milligrams of domestically produced fermented black ginger per tablet.

The whole thing seemed a little too good to be true, but if it held up to its claims, Edible Kairo could be the invention of the century. So, Ahiru Neko decided to put both the tablets and a traditional kairo through rigorous scientific tests to see which was the better warming method.

However, it should be noted that Ahiru Neko never really did well in science class.

■ Here Comes the First Challenger: Kairo

Ahiru Neko decided to experiment with the conventional kairo pads that can stick to your clothing. He took eight of them and applied four to his midsection and four to his back. Prior to this he took his temperature to get a baseline reading.

▼ 36.2℃ (97.2℉)

He then sat out on the balcony for 10 minutes without wearing a jacket. There wasn’t really any practical reason for the lack of a jacket; Ahiru just thought it seemed more scientific that way.

Another self-imposed rule was that he couldn’t do anything after setting his smartphone timer to 10 minutes; any movement would generate body heat, and he had to make sure there were no outside influences.

So he sat…

He sat and thought about stuff.

After figuring out what went wrong with all his failed relationships, the timer went off and Ahiru came back indoors. He immediately removed the kairo and measured his temperature again.

▼ 36.7℃ (98.1℉)

Amazing! His body temperature had actually gone up after sitting outside with nothing but a set of kairo for 10 minutes. This was truly a great result but not totally unexpected given the popularity of the product.

Now it was time to see how the newcomer would do.

■ Here Comes a New Challenger: Edible Kairo

Ahiru Neko was really eager to try out the new Edible Kairo. So eager that he stuffed all 16 tablets in his mouth at once.

This was in defiance of the instructions on the package which said to eat only one or two per day by chewing slowly. He did, however, adhere to the chewing slowly rule.

As he sat still and gave his break-up with Saori a second thought, disaster struck. About a minute or so in an excruciating burning sensation filled his entire mouth and throat. The fermented black ginger had been gradually dissolving and filling his mouth like it was a vat of acid.

As the hot ginger flood continued to rise inside him he began to crunch the numbers of his suffering. Sixteen tablets at 250 milligrams a piece meant he was dealing with 4,000 milligrams of pure fermented black ginger heating the inside of his mouth and throat that would have to slowly pass through.

So he continued to sit on the balcony, swallowing the incessant stream of stinging ginger drop by drop. A tiny pool of sweat began to form on his upper lip. He wasn’t sure if the Edible Kairo were actually warming his body, but he had to admit that at that point the cold was the least of his problems.

When the 10 minutes were up, he came inside, spat out the remaining kairo tablets and quickly took his temperature.

▼ Before overdosing on Edible Kairo: 36.1℃ (97℉)

▼ After: 35.5℃ (95.9℉)

Despite the minutes of pain, Ahiru’s body temperature had actually gone down. However, he had been feeling a sore throat coming on prior to this experiment, and as an odd side effect, after the 16 Edible Kairo not only did his throat condition improve, it actually felt even better than normal.

He was also satisfied that he had solved the mystery of which heat-producing product was superior. Sure by recklessly eating 16 of the tablets he completely corrupted the experiment, but the data doesn’t lie – kairo warmed his body and Edible Kairo made it colder. That was all he needed to know.

He felt so accomplished that no one had the heart to tell him that his thermometer had a plus-minus two-degree margin of error, and that his results actually meant nothing.

Remember, kids: our reporters are a special kind of crazy. Even if it is just ginger, don’t try this at home. 

Source: Edible Kairo (Japanese)
Original article by Ahiru Neko
Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]