Blowfish, also known as fugu or fish-ball, belongs to the family Tetraodontidae, blowfish. There are about 100 different species of puffer fish, 38 of them are found in Japanese waters. Ovary, skin, muscles, but primarily the liver that, at first glance, ridiculous "inflated" fish - contain deadly poison in its effect similar to the famous curare. Tetrodotoxin (tetrodoxin), as it is called, causes muscle paralysis, respiratory failure and, eventually, almost guaranteed death. He is 1250 times more dangerous than cyanide, but in microscopic doses can act as a painkiller for patients with neuralgia, arthritis and rheumatism. Lethal dose tetradoksina - 1:59 milligrams - able fit on the tip of the needle, and one fish usually contains enough poison to kill 30 people.
But puffer fish is not to blame for their deadliness - the whole thing in her diet. The poison accumulates in it due to plankton, which it feeds. It is possible to artificially bring totally harmless fish-ball and have it consume food, but knowing about it, no one wants to engage in such business. Poisonous fish brings millions and harmless enough, and so in the ocean. Fishermen catch puffer spring, in a special stand and raise it to them until mid-autumn. Eat fugu in the period from October to March. The average fish weight in a couple of kilos will cost in the market in Tokyo is about $ 100, but this is not the final price, because no one is preparing fugu in your own kitchen on the advice of the cookbook. A small portion of fish in the restaurant has been around for at least $ 200.
"Those who eat fugu - stupid, but the one who does not eat too stupid," - says the Japanese proverb. What attracts gourmets in this dish? Fish meat ball to taste like chicken and tender texture resembles gelatin. After you eat fugu, you will feel a slight tingling and pleasant feel no less pleasant relaxation. Here in the pursuit of these fleeting effect annually from tetradoksina only in Japan die from 5 to 10 people. The government is constantly trying to ban these Japanese games with death. The first prohibition began in the days of the Tokugawa shogun and continued throughout the reign of this dynasty from 1603 to 1868. According to this decree fugue could not eat in the capital - Edo - and its environs. Then, when the shogunate came to power Meiji - 1868 -1912 years - the ban was extended to the whole of Japan. In 1958, the government introduced a licensing chefs preparing fugu. The license is obtained masters, past the two-year training course and passed a series of examinations. During the examination, the candidate must not only identify a few dozen species and subspecies of this fish, talk about features cutting and preparation, but also to prepare and, most importantly, personally eat cooked fish. According to statistics, every year the selection does not take place for about 35% of the students who wish to obtain a license. This measure proved to be much more effective than a total ban. Before that, from poisoning tetradaksinom perished and 200 people a year, and now the annual list of victims is estimated units.
Perhaps the most famous victim of his own passions fatal delicacy - "a national treasure of Japan," Kabuki actors Bando VIII Mittsugoro. He died on January 16, 1975, did not live up to quite a bit of his seventieth birthday. According to eyewitnesses, the actor demanded to give him a portion of the liver fugue - a body, which is considered the most toxic, saying his order that he has three times tried this delicacy for him and he is not dangerous. How much said about this later death columnist NYTimes, «he was wrong."
So is it worth it? Do I have to try everything in his life, including a deadly delicacy? Each person decides this question for himself. Well, except for members of the Japanese imperial dynasty - it is against the law to use the puffer. Their lives - property of the nation. And yours?