“To throw away life, eat blowfish.” That is what the Japanese say. Fugu, blowfish, puffer fish, globefish, swellfish, river pig, Sphoeroides testudineus–whatever you call it—it contains in its skin, liver, ovaries, and intestine a neurotoxin that is 160,000 times more powerful than cocaine. One of the most poisonous non-protein substances known to man, tetrodoxin packs a lethal wallop that is 500 times that of cyanide, and yet the water-swallowing, passive-aggressive fish that is infused with it has long been considered a delicacy. That’s because fugu is also a powerful stimulant. If properly prepared, and that means in a manner that does not induce death, it provides quite a rush: a warming, a tingling, a sense of euphoria. With luck— and if the chef has been exceedingly careful about his preparations—death will not ensue. But blowfish and nature are capricious. The toxicity of this sea creature depends upon the season, the fish and, most important, the physiology of the individual who consumes it. It is a very dangerous fish. In Japan, only licensed chefs are allowed to prepare it. Still, every year there are deaths caused by blowfish. But people continue to eat it. Why?
Because flirting with death is a thrill.
—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 11.6/Blame it on the Fugu