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Welcome to Shimonoseki, the “Fugu Capital” of Japan located in Yamaguchi Prefecture at the southwestern tip of Honshu.
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Fugu is usually prepared from a pufferfish of the genus Takifugu, Lagocephalus or Sphoeroides or a porcupine fish of the genus Diodon. Fugu contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin in its inner organs especially the liver, the ovaries, eyes & skin. The poison, a sodium channel blocker, paralyses the muscles of the victim who stays fully conscious but is unable to breathe & eventually dies from asphyxiation. There is no known antidote for fugu poison. Only chefs who have qualified after 3 or more years of rigorous training are allowed to prepare Fugu where extreme care is taken to remove toxic parts & to avoid contaminating the meat.
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Most Fugu is harvested during the spawning season in spring & farmed in floating cages in the Pacific Ocean as strict fishing regulations are put in place to protect the Fugu population from depletion. 
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At the entrance of Shimonoseki’s Wholesale Fish Market which has two sections. One selling fresh produce & the other prepared food for take-aways.
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The most popular way to eat it is sashimi-style  called Fugu sashi or tessa where knives with exceptionally thin blades are used to cut the Fugu into translucent slices using a technique known as Usuzukuri (薄造).
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The largest wholesale Fugu market in Japan is right here in Shimonoseki & this highly prized Japanese cuisine is not for the faint-hearted.
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Not to worry… a  wide array of the freshest & most delectable of seafood is available for your picking if the Fugu Challenge is not for you!

The inhabitants of Japan  have been known to eat Fugu for centuries as evidenced by Fugu bones found in several shell middens called kaizuka from the Jomon period dating back more than 2,300 years.

Did you know the Emperor of Japan is forbidden by law from eating Fugu, for his own safety?

 

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