BlogTV presents this important public safety warning about exploding eggs. FujiTV’s recent exposé Itai SOS [Pain SOS] recreates the disaster that occurred when Akemi-san dared to irradiate and eat the dangerous ovum.
Itai SOS begins with the image of Akemi-san and her young daughter, we can immediately see that there is a threat to this young family. Akemi has come forward to warn the public about a dangerous irradiated explosive that is right underneath our noses, lurking right on our dinner plate. The drama begins with an actress recreating a fake video “flashback” showing how the tragedy happened, when Akemi tried to reheat a leftover hard boiled egg. Everyone knows that an egg will explode if you heat it in the microwave, so she peeled and pierced it to let the pressure out just like you’re supposed to. After heating, she squeezed the egg to see if it was warm and everything seemed fine. She put the egg to her lips and took a bite, and pow the egg exploded, spewing boiling egg yolk fragments as far as 5 meters! Akemi describes her pain, and how her mouth was burned and bleeding so she was unable to cry for help.
FujiTV’s SOS program heard Akemi’s cry and they are here to help. Two culinary engineers dressed in paper haz-mat suits, protective face masks, and heavy rubber gloves are summoned to perform some experiments. In FujiTV’s immaculate stainless-steel kitchen laboratory, three precooked hard boiled eggs are reheated in a microwave oven. The technician attempts to retrieve one egg from the irradiation chamber, it explodes the moment he sets it on the table. A second egg also detonates prematurely, these babies are more unstable than nitroglycerin! On a third attempt, the camera captures the effect in closeup.
A simple animation attempts to explain the physics behind the explosion. A cross section of the egg appears on a green background. As the egg is bombarded with red kryptonite radiation, the infinitesimal amounts of deuterium isotopes in the water in the egg begin a cold fusion reaction, setting off a microscopic thermonuclear detonation. Well, not really, but that is about as accurate as their stupid explanation of the effect.
The explosion really is caused by superheating, a complex phenomenon of the physics of phase changes. When water is heated over a flame, it gradually reaches a boil and turns to steam when the water temperature reaches 212F. But in a microwave, the heat is applied at a subatomic level, the water molecules can reach temperatures above 212F without changing phase from water to vapor. If these “superheated” molecules are jarred or disturbed, they will change from water to vapor in an instant, releasing a huge burst of steam, or even a small explosion. You can sometimes see this effect by making a cup of instant coffee from very hot microwaved water. When you drop in the powdered coffee, the superheated water can boil explosively, the water can gush right out of the cup like a geyser.
Let’s revisit this video from a Japanese linguistic standpoint. Listen for interesting phrases that use onomatopoeia, I particularly like “chin suru.” Chin suru is from the sound of the bell that goes “chin” when your microwave oven is done cooking. They use the expression chin suru like we’d use a slangy phrase like “to nuke.” Akemi uses another interesting phrase, “pan tte hajikeru,” to explode with a bang. Instead of an explosive sound, she almost sings the word “pan” with an upward inflection, you can hear her excitement as her voice rises. Onomatopoetic words like pan and chin are quite common in Japanese and add a lot of nuance to the language.