Rice is still a staple food in the Japanese diet even though other delicious options can are available, I think. Steamed richly and softly white shining rice in a bowl is an essential dish for traditional Japanese cuisine. Additionally, various easy toppings such as retort curry pouch have been expanding its usage as we speak. In my home, we prepare the steamed rice using a rice cooker which cooks automatically almost every day. Without the rice cooker, it's not easy to prepare steamed rice.
There are various kinds of rice cookers from low-end to high-end. Recently, I replaced my middle-end one which used more than 20 years with a high-end one. What we used to have back then was very different from what we have today, there were no high-end models 20 years ago. At that time, most rice cookers were made by Japanese home appliance makers, but since then, some Chinese and Taiwanese home appliance manufacturers have entered into this market with price-competitive strength. Therefore, those long-established Japanese makers had started to develop high-end rice cookers to avoid price competition.
So I bought the high-end rice cooker, NW-US07-WZ, for about 800$ from a long-established Japanese maker, Zojirushi. My sincere feedback on my first bite, it's much more softly cooked and the rice was literally shining like those I see on advertisements, and the taste was much sweeter and more delicious than ever! To tell the truth, I didn't expect much but it was actually better-I-almost thought-it's-a-magic-than I had ever imagined. Many improvements must be done by them but I don't know the details. Thank Japanese manufacturers for developing wonderful rice cookers!