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Japan's Streets Will Soon Smell Like Chocolate for a Very Gross Reason

There are some problems even chocolate can't solve.

Every city has it's own particular nagging odor. New York has the smell of hot garbage in the summer; Black Rock City has the stench of unwashed hippie; New Orleans deals with the French Quarter's particularly nasty mixture of hot garbage, urine and vomit. But countless major cities are plagued by the stench of sewage, making residents wish they lived in a city that constantly pumped the fumes of chocolate instead of the fumes of sewage. Well, Osaka, Japan has just made that wish a reality


Like Willie Wonka and Slugworth joining forces to save the day, four Japanese companies teamed up to transform the noxious stench of sewage-waste processing trucks into the sweet-smelling scent of cocoa. How did they do it? The science is based on a deodorizing product created in 2011 called "Deo Magic" that had until now been used primarily in baby diapers and pet odor-eliminating products. By infusing the lubricating oil used in Japanese sanitation trucks' vacuum equipment with a specially crafted Deo Magic scent, the aroma released during the unsavory process of sucking out sewage lines now releases a chocolate fragrance.

This isn't the first attempt to mask unsavory sewage smells. In 2007 after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans businessman Sidney Torres rose to local fame after winning a bid to remove waste and clean up trash in French Quarter, in part due to his decision to deploy a custom scent—SDT Superfresh—when scrubbing the streets multiple times a day. It has become such an ingrained part of the neighborhood, that today you might not even notice the lemony scent masking the the aforementioned scent city's most debaucherous neighborhood. But boy, do you notice when it isn't there.

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In oaska, the reception to the chocolatey sewage trucks has been less than positive. For many Japanese, the intermingling of chocolate and feces is an unwanted association being forced upon them.

Commenters on a Japanese news site share their thoughts (via the magic of Google Translate):

"Color is too evil." "It's extra discomfort I like this smell." "It should be more different smell given the visual of both."

Alternative scents like orange and citrus have been suggested by a baffled community that this solution was meant to benefit. Parents of young children have even suggested that the association between chocolate and human waste might encourage unsupervised kids to indulge in a little bathroom snacktime. Shudder.

Be careful what you wish for.