the consumption of a potentially lethal substance. Proof of courage, and of an uncaring attitude to death. I bet it doesn't even taste particularly good. It's all about a cultural expression.
I knew you wanted to know
On August 21, a Chinese fisherman caught a rare fish worth over $475,000. As impressive a haul as that is, it didn't represent the highest known payday for something caught from the sea.
Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish. Eating it has the potential to be very costly, and not just in the traditional sense. The fugu's organs contain tetrodotoxin, a deadly poison that asphyxiates its victim if ingested. Common sense dictates that people would stay as far away from fugu as possible, but it's actually a delicacy for which some people pay handsomely.
To prepare the fish for safe consumption, Japanese chefs are required to undergo up to three years of apprenticeship, followed by a licensing exam and, finally, eating the fish that they themselves have prepared for the first time. If they don't succumb to paralysis, muscle shutdown and ultimately death, then they pass.