Solving this block of noodles is no piece of cake.

We’re fully aware that our staff isn’t exactly the most mature collection of individuals, but even we know we’re not supposed to play with our food. Not only is it bad manners, in the case of soba noodles fiddling around with the buckwheat pasta is likely to get you splashed with scalding hot broth.

Today, though, we’ve got an exception to the don’t-play-with-your-food rule.

That may look like just another package of Midori no Tanuki, the perennially popular line of instant soba from noodle maker Maruchan. When you open the lid, though, you’ll find something much less familiar-looking.

That’s because these are no ordinary noodles, they’re the Midori no Tanuki Cube, a three-way team-up between Maruchan, Japanese toy company Mega House, and Rubik’s Cube.

They’ve really gone all-out on the visuals, too. Not only does the explanation/hint pamphlet look like a packet of seasoning powder when it’s folded up, the plastic noodles themselves were created by 3-D scanning an actual serving of Midori no Tanuki soba.

There’s also a recreated kakiage (mixed tempura disc) sitting atop the block when the cube is in its finished form, since that topping is what separates Midori no Tanuki from just plain old soba. On the other hand, the other sides are entirely noodles, save for a single Midori no Tanuki logo on the center square of the bottom-side face.

At first glance, this might make it seem like the Midori no Tanuki Cube will be incredibly easy to solve. After all, with a normal Rubik’s Cube, you’ve got six faces, all with their own colors that need to be matched up, but here it’s just the one tempura side that’s different, with five face of noodles,. It should be a snap, right?

Nope. Even though there are five noodle faces, there’s only a single way for all of the blocks to be arranged so that the tempura disc forms at the top.

In other words, you’re still solving all six faces, but doing five of them essentially blind. Aside from the single logo mark, there’s no way to tell if you’re getting closer or farther away from completing a noodle side until you get a tempura piece locked into the perfect position on top.

So actually, the Midori no Tanuki Cube is a whole level of challenge above what a traditional Rubik’s Cube presents. This isn’t a bad thing, though.

See, in Japan it’s tradition to eat soba on New Year’s Eve, with the long noodles symbolizing long life, and thus health and happiness, in the year to come. It’s also customary to spend most of the New Year’s vacation period relaxing at home with family, and the Midori no Tanuki Cube makes for timely entertainment as you lounge around the living room, possibly with your legs tucked into a nice warm kotatstu or snug and cozy under a gaming blanket.

If this is the sort of quirky challenge you’d like to ring in the new year with, the Midori no Tanuki Cube is available through Amazon Japan here.

Top image: SoraNews24
Insert images: SoraNews24, Mega House
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[ Read in Japanese ]