Homemade Fugu Sashimi Couple Near Death


A couple are at death’s door after having decided to dine on fugu they caught and prepared themselves, liver and all.

The 68-year-old Nagasaki prefecture man caught a fugu (pufferfish) in a local bay himself, and upon returning home made it into sashimi, liver and all.

Together with his 65-year-old wife, the couple tucked into the meal; an hour later, his wife’s mouth and extremities had gone numb, and soon after the same happened to him.

The pair were conveyed to hospital, and the poison took full effect, resulting in complete paralysis and an inability to breathe. Both were left unconscious in critical condition.

The active neurotoxin in fugu, tetrodotoxin, paralyses victims causing asphyxiation. There is no known antidote, and treatment largely consists of putting victims on life support until the poison wears off.

Fugu cuisine has a notorious reputation even in Japan, where it still maintains niche popularity in spite of regular fatalities.

Restaurants are tightly regulated and chefs must be highly trained, but even so the serving of the liver, the most poisonous organ in the fish but also one of the most celebrated, is banned in restaurants.

However, private individuals are free to prepare and dine on toxic poisons as much as they please, and many still do – in spite of the fact captive farmed non-poisonous fugu are now available.

In Nagasaki prefecture alone, from 2001 to 2008 there were 22 fugu poisoning incidents, 6 of which have been fatal, although this incident is the first since 2009. Prefectural authorities warn that “we would prefer people absolutely avoid attempting to prepare fugu simply at home.”

Online there is a distinct lack of sympathy for the couple:

“Come on, don’t eat the damn liver…”

“Why would you deliberately eat the part which the fish concentrates most of its poison in?”

“Apparently if 5 people eat one liver they will not get a lethal dose. They also say the non-poisonous livers aren’t tasty…”

“It’s a double suicide, right?”

“Over 60 and they still couldn’t work out how dangerous this stuff is.”

“I’m from the area – I’d certainly be grateful if these morons died off…”

“You reap what you sow. Amateurs should not prepare that stuff.”

“They had probably been preparing it themselves it for a long time, so naturally they thought it was a matter of course.”

“Perhaps they were eating a non-poisonous species before, but this time caught the wrong one?”

“It’s habit forming, especially when it makes your tongue go numb.”

“It’s their fault. What a waste of medical expenses.”

“I hope they have to pay for their own treatment.”

“But there’s no antidote?”

“If they can survive long enough it will wear off.”

“There’s no end to these idiots.”

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    Comment by Anonymous
    02:48 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I think tetrodotoxin is a pretty cool guy, eh draws big boobs and doesn't afraid of anything

    In all seriousness, though, I must quote Dave Barry: "Clearly this is a fish Mother Nature is telling us we should leave the hell underwater." If I ever went to Japan I wouldn't eat it since I don't like fish anyway, I'm just scared someone would try to serve it to me without telling me what it is.

    Avatar of Pyrus
    Comment by Pyrus
    05:57 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    So you've read Dave Barry's book about his trip to Japan have you? I've long since lost my copy, but can still remember him complaining about the Japanese putting corn in everything, including the pizza. And some chef feeding him cricket.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:24 12/09/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    See, I actually wouldn't mind corn in pizza. I could deal with that, because my mother used to mix corn into stuff like spaghetti sauce for example, so I'm used to it. It's the tentacles and so on that I couldn't handle.

    I think it's actually his best book, especially the chapter about Hiroshima, which was unexpectedly profound. He made some extremely insightful points about both Japanese and American culture and the book was funny as hell on top of it. I still remember the brief mention of manga he made:

    "There are comic books of course, but they're not like American comics. They're more like action-adventure novels with pictures, and they tend to contain a lot of violence and sex. More than once I'd be on the subway and there'd be a man standing next to me holding a fat comic book, which he was studying studiously, as though it was the Third Quarter Sales Trends, and I would glance at the page he was reading, and there would be a naked woman with hooters so large I half expected to see a little cartoon Woody Allen running away from them."

    Dave Barry was my hero growing up. It's too bad he seems to have lost his touch, because ever since he wrote that novel (which I didn't think was even remotely funny) his new books don't make me laugh at all.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:50 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    picture looks delicious

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:16 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    reminds me of what I ate in a chinese restaurant albeit quite smaller, too my horror I later found out it was a wax decoration

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:53 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I ate fugu fish in China about a month ago, funny experience, the chef ate some first, we waited half an hour, he didnt die, so we dug in lol.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:29 12/09/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    people really should know better than to eat poisonous food on purpose >_>

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:37 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    And the cheff dont explode?

    Avatar of Daniel
    Comment by Daniel
    07:09 12/09/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Scary to think that the chef needs to check if it's poisonous or not before you can eat it. >.<

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:04 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Well, the chief is tasting it to show customers that it's fine, but he knows for sure if he properly extracted the liver or not.

    Comment by Anonymous

    arghhh!! zombie!!

    Avatar of Morgadeth
    Comment by Morgadeth
    04:30 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    06:57 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I didn't know there was a non-toxic version.
    I would LOVE to try that!

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:04 12/09/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    It's quite amazing, actually. There is no genetic engineering, targeted breeding or anything of sort involved.
    Fugu fish breed in captivity (aka safe) conditions simply lose their toxic properties, just like that. It's like they consciously decided "duh, no predators here, so fuck it - not gonna bother with neurotoxin secretion".

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:16 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    @Anon 7:04
    lol its like the fugu are oblivious to the main predator: Humans.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:33 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    So can you buy the non-toxic version anywhere other than Japan?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:35 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @Anon 07:04

    Nothing magic about it -- the reason they lose their poison is because they're no longer eating the animals with the poisonous bacteria. Quite simple, really.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:52 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Y'see, country of badasses like Japan take that risk regardless of a "safe" version being available.

    Avatar of Uncommon0taku
    Comment by Uncommon0taku
    07:21 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    actually one must be very very careful when preping the fish for consuption. Cleaning must be done with utmost care, so as to not cause the poison to spread.

    on the other hand, being a source for a poison with no known antidote. is also something to keep in mind. When you have a grudge against someone you want to get even with.

    Suprise, cheese cake - no hard feelings!

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:15 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Even roses are poisonous.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:25 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    is that even edible?

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:14 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Looks can be deceiving, my friend.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:02 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, it was largely tasteless from what I remember, except for a slight tingling on the lips/tongue.

    Avatar of Carrot_Glace
    Comment by Carrot_Glace
    03:36 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wait a minute: Anonymous 01:50 is right. Fugu is supposed to be delicious, but it must be prepared by professionals.

    Avatar of TheBeast
    Comment by TheBeast
    06:36 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    apparently tuna and ribeye's aren't good enough for their descriminate tastes.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:08 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I guess, if you like eating raw animals.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Don't be fooled by the appearence.
    That food in picture is maybe made by Himeji Mizuki (Baka to Test). Be careful before eat one.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:54 12/09/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Ret's see... poison, poison, tastyfish!

    (Akira stabs puffer fish with knife, puffer fish deflates.)

    Concentrate, concentrate...

    Homer Simpson: I WANT FUGU!

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of Satonaka
    Comment by Satonaka
    15:46 12/09/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    We have map to hospital on back of menu!

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:17 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    That was the exact first thing that came to mind.

    Avatar of VillainousHanacha
    Comment by VillainousHanacha
    02:13 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I'm not surprised that these 2 didn't go for the non-poisonous farmed Fugu. A large part of eating Fugu, or any potentially dangerous food for that matter, is the adrenaline rush from gambling with your life. It's like Sky Diving or Bungee Jumping, the entertainment is the thrill of losing everything that you have (i.e. your life). There's a similar motivation behind high rollers who regularly gamble huge amounts of money. People don't eat Fugu for the flavor nessesarily, people eat it to gamble with everything that they have, hopefully come out winning and then tell people about it. And since the risk factor is the attraction, people won't be interested in something that takes all the risk out of it. It's similar with gamblers in casinos being more interested in the adrenaline rush than in the actual payoff.

    Interestingly enough however, there are many who have said that the Fugu's flesh itself has very little flavor, but there is actually enough residual poison in the flesh not to kill you, but to just numb out the tongue (as tetrododoxin is a neurotoxin, which therefore affects the nervous system).

    And as for this whole business with these 2, I can understand the human desire for risktaking, it's the reason things like this and "Extreme Sports/Stunts" exist. However, those who are smart about risk taking do so with risk-reducing precautions. Like all the safety measures that go into Sky Diving or Base Jumping, or in the case of Fugu, eating only from a licensed and reputable restaurant. If you do something like this without any precautions beforehand, then you get what you pay for. It's a simple as that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:51 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's like Sky Diving or Bungee Jumping, the entertainment is the thrill of losing everything that you have (i.e. your life).]

    I disagree. Diving and jumping cause your body to go into overdrive and release a large number of natural drugs into your body. Basically, getting high on your own body's chemicals. Nobody I know does those things to toy with their life. In fact, participants of extreme sports go to great lengths to ensure nothing would ever go wrong.
    These activities are for people who want to experience the thrill, but do so safely. In contrast, people who enjoy risking their lives are idiots.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:22 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @ Anon 06:51 12/09/2011 :

    It's -- for me -- not "about the adrenalin".

    I've been in adrenalin overload, and I hate it.

    I also have been skydiving (ground school + two static-line jumps), but experienced only low-to-moderate anxiety during the critical time - the time between exiting the plane and verification of correct 'chute deployment.

    Your anxiety/adrenalin level will be based on your confidence in your training, your equipment, and your abilities.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:18 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)


    As nice an essay as that is, the reason for eating fugu is in the hallucinogenic properties the residual neurotoxin holds: when prepared properly a small enough amount remains to get you a little high without any considerable side effects.

    Could have just been a couple of pensioners trying to get stoned.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:26 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I would say death is a considerable "side effect" Cheech!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:12 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    they should've asked toriko to catch the fish :/

    Avatar of VZ
    Comment by VZ
    08:39 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Try something new they said. I never heard of a poison pork chop"

    -Homer Simpson

    Avatar of Barbarian of Gor
    Comment by Barbarian of Gor
    14:36 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Except that they've probably reproduced, I'd say "Darwin Award"... Really, sometimes you think they should find the kids and sterilize them so they don't pollute the race...?

    Although, on the subject of Fugu, I'm plainly fascinated at the Asian mind...

    It's common "Western Wisdom" that "All delicacies are rooted in an act of desperation" and while many Eastern delicacies are such (1000 year old egg) they've gone a step further by taking sh-t you won't Fucking believe anyone would THINK of eating and turning it into a delicacy...

    Tiger Penis
    Birds NEST
    Sea Urchin
    More or less almost everything gross and disgusting they find a way to make into a delicacy. I don't say that in any way to say bad, I'm amazed actually.

    Avatar of Inan
    Comment by Inan
    12:53 24/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "More or less almost everything gross and disgusting they find a way to make into a delicacy."

    Let's observe what people in the west eat.

    Hen's eggs.
    The mammary secretions of cows, goats.
    Vegetables (grown in manure).
    Underwater cockroaches (lobster, shrimp).
    Ground "unappealing" parts of meat stuffed into cylindrical casings (hot dogs and sausages).

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:20 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm Asian and yes, Asians are weird like that.

    To add more to your list, we also indulge in:
    1) Rotten fermented tofus (East Asia)- These stink like raw sewage in a septic tank that can be smelt from 200 meters away. Popular in Hong Kong.
    2) The still-beating heart of a snake soak in wine and snake blood(Indonesia)- Supposedly good for male potency
    3) Century eggs (Southeast Asia and East Asia) - Traditionally made by fermenting eggs in horse' urine (Or so it is believed). Today they do it without the urine though. Taste the best with ginger.
    4) Cockroach soup (Malaysia only, I think) - Traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
    5) Wide variety of penises - Crocodiles, tigers, bulls etc etc. All of them promising vitality to a man's manhood.
    6) Durian - While not particularly disgusting, most Westerners could not stomach the smell of these demon fruit.

    I can think of a lot more but I think you get the idea. There's a saying in Chinese that as long as a creature's back faces heaven, it can be eaten.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:16 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It would have been funny if somehow one of the 2ch users managed to blame a Korean for this, lest say, lack of good judgment.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:54 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    At that age, I'm sure they understand the concept and just don't care. Anything that looks that good is obviously bad for you.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:28 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hate to say this, but anyone who eats fugu fish that has not been properly prepared by a PROFESSIONAL CHEF, deserves what happens to them.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:58 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    09:57 12/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've had fugu, wasn't even impressed to the slightest sense.

    Avatar of Pinger
    Comment by Pinger
    04:47 04/11/2016 # ! Neutral (0)

    Has anyone tasted it ?
    What is it like ?
    How tender is the meat ? Or is it like jello ?
    When I visited japan, I did pass by some restaurant which had aquariums with some pretty big ones swimming inside - I guess they were for eating - but was too scared to try it :X

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:46 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    so you spend a large amount of money on some tasteless ass fish that could kill you just because it's exotic? I've heard shark is very tasty and hardly as deadly when dead.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:15 14/09/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Shark is also incredibly bland and has no flavor. People only want the shark fin soup because it is a symbol of prosperity. It is basically tradition. A stupid tradition.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:16 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shouldn't they have known better? Like, seriously?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:57 13/09/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Talk about one's last meal...

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