The Japanese Internet is buzzing about this mysterious blue cheese, and as usual, we’re ahead of schedule on the weirdness.

Over the past few days, there’s been a lot of buzz on Japanese social media about “a kind of cheese that gives you weird dreams.” The cheese in question is Stilton, a type of British blue cheese.

Ordinarily, being the adventure-seeking gourmands/weirdos we are, we’d run right out and buy some to try for ourselves. Except, as luck would have it, we’ve already sampled the dream cheese and conducted an experiment to see if, and how, it would affect us.

Our story begins back in the waning days of the spring of 2017. Mariko, one of our Japanese reporters, was reading the results of a 2005 study by the British Cheese Board (which is a trade organization that promotes British-made cheeses, not a plank of wood with an assortment of cheeses on it). According to the board, over 75 percent of its male test subjects who ate Stilton before going to bed reported having strange dreams that night, and more than 85 percent of females experienced the phenomenon.

Mariko was intrigued by the prospect of a cheese-triggered nocturnal freak-out, and as luck would have it, Stilton isn’t particularly hard to come by. Considered one of the world’s three great blue cheeses (along with France’s Roquefort and Italy’s gorgonzola), it’s a popular export, and Mariko found a block for sale for 638 yen (US$5.70 at the time) at Seijo Ishii, a slightly upscale Japanese grocery store chain.

▼ The placard mentioned “world’s three great blue cheeses” thing, but didn’t say anything about funky dreams.

Back at SoraNews24 headquarters, Mariko recruited five coworkers to help with her experiment, and divided the cheese up six ways, since she was including herself in the test.

Surprisingly, the cheese that’s supposed to make your dreams weird didn’t taste, or smell, all that odd. Sure, it has the unique aroma and combination of rich and sharp flavors you’d expect from a blue cheese, and Stilton also has some particularly strong salty notes, but the flavor is delicious without any bizarre elements.

It was a late night at the office for all involved, so they all consumed their cheese rations at about 9 p.m., then headed home for a strange night’s sleep.

When they got to work the next day, Mariko had them report what kind of dreams they’d had, and the results were:

Momo: “I didn’t have any dreams, but I slept well.”
Midori: “I had a dream, but it was just a normal dream where I was talking to some guy I’ve never met who was wearing a suit. But it was a lucid dream. Like, while it was going on, I was thinking ‘I’m dreaming right now.’”
Shinomiya: “I had a really realistic dream about eating cheese! And for some reason I was laughing. I actually ended up laughing for real and woke up my wife.”
Kawarano: “I had a dream where I was talking to someone, but we weren’t talking about anything weird.”
Seiji: “I know I was having some kind of weird dream, but there was also a lightning storm going on last night, and after the sound of the thunder woke me up I couldn’t remember what I’d been dreaming about.”

Huh. Well, we guess some of those are a little weird, maybe…Oh, wait, we forgot about Mariko’s results.

Mariko: “I was in a building that turned out to be the largest bookstore in Japan. Suddenly, ths manga artist showed up and kept pressuring me to buy like 20 volumes of his series. No matter what I did, he wouldn’t take no for an answer, but as soon as I bought the comics, this big group of people from like the district attorney’s office or something came rushing in and surrounded me. They said they were investigating the store for tax evasion, and they confiscated the manga I’d bought and said I was now an official suspect. I started thinking ‘Oh no, I’m gonna be late for work!”, and that’s when I woke up.

OK, now that’s definitely a weird dream…and the results get a little weirder still.

See, in the British Cheese Board’s experiment, the participants each ate 20 grams of Stilton. However, since our boss will only approve so many of our expense account requests for things like “freaky dream cheese,” Mariko had only been able to buy 70 grams of Stilton. Split among six people, that works out to only 11.7 grams each, meaning our reporters were in essence working with half doses. What’s more, the British Cheese Board test subjects ate their cheese 30 minutes before going to bed, but our team had theirs just before clocking out of work, meaning that after that they rode the train home, took a bath, and generally unwound for a while before hitting the sack.

Mariko was the only exception to this. After dividing the Stilton between herself and her coworkers, she still had a little left over, so she took it home with her and popped it into her mouth right before she crawled into bed and her head hit the pillow. In other words, the person in our test group who ate the most Stilton, and ate it the closest to falling asleep, had the weirdest dreams.

Of course, there might be a placebo effect going on here. Dreams are often manifestations of whatever your brain is background processing, and if you fall asleep while part of you is wondering “Am I gonna have weird dreams?”, that in and of itself makes the answer more likely to become “Yes.” There’s also the fact that Mariko had already been intrigued by Stilton’s purported effects enough to organize the experiment, then spent the day conducting it, which also may have set her up for some strange dreams. And last, and certainly not least, even on normal days we’re pretty weird here at SoraNews24.

Case in point

Whatever the reason, though, our group did have one undeniably weird dream after eating Stilton, though, so maybe the British Cheese Board really is onto something.

Reference: British Cheese Board
Top image: SoraNews24
Insert images: SoraNews24, Pakutaso (1, 2),
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