河豚 – River pig! Beloved blowfish. Admired for it’s quirkiness and puffiness. Forgive me for masticating on you. Absolve me from my consumption. But I did not taste the dreaded moudoku ( 猛毒), nor the dangerous kyoudoku (強毒) or the risky jyakudoku (弱毒), and quite thankfully, for they are poisons…
The particular pufferfish I ate is called shousaifugu in Japanese (below) and has deadly poison in its liver and ovaries and dangerous poison in its skin. Of course I wasn’t aware of that at the time, but trusted my host family with their word that virtually no-one dies from eating fugu in restaurants. I did spot the chef carefully slices the pieces of thin yellowish meat opposite the tank of lacklustre fugu fishes. One happened to be enjoying a swim upside down too… o.O;
Pufferfish have the toxin ‘tetrodotoxin’, a neurotoxin that causes paralysis while leaving the victim fully concious eventually to die usually within 4 to 24 hours of asphyxiation. It is a poison 1200 times more lethal than cyanide, according to Wikipedia. It is the same toxin found in the Blue Ringed Octopus, and is produced by the bacteria eaten with food. Therefore, puffers raised in captivity who have not been exposed to the bacteria are not poisonous. Wait, were the puffers I ate raised in captivity..?
分類 内海内湾魚介類 フグ目フグ科１４
学名 Takifugu snyderi
流通状況 旬の時期・稀 旬：冬
Well, I still haven’t said what it was actually like… Between the sake and the sea urchin sushi, I guess it was rather bland and a little chewy, though no where near the mouthful the octopus tentacle was. I chewed on that thing for damn near half and hour and still had to force the battle-damaged tentacle down with water afterwards! It was sliced very thinly and arranged in a circular fashion around some sort of dressing. For the price and the risk I’d say it probably isn’t worth it, but there are some fish connoisseurs who would smack their lips and undoubtedly disagree I’m sure.
I was very full of fish by the end of it, and felt my head sliding a bit more than usual when I looked around the room. I guess I was slightly tipsy from the sake my host father kept ordering. It was a nice meal, and I slept in a comfortable, warm futon that night instead of my creaky, hard bed at AIU. I was up early the next morning to leave their house for my 9 o’clock lesson, should I not be paralysed…