Mental Floss

6 Odd Things Eaten in Japan

David K. Israel

Because it’s surrounded on all sides by water, it makes sense that much of what the Japanese eat comes from the sea. We all know they eat whales and dolphins, but how about fish sperm and poisonous puffer fish? The short list below also includes a few specialties found on land that I just had to include. As always, if you’ve tried any of these, please let us know how they taste in the comments below.

1. Zazamushi (Aquatic Insects)

Zazamushi isn’t just one kind of insect; rather, a catch-all name applied to the larvae of insects that live at the bottom of rivers. The name “zazamushi” literally translates to “insects (mushi) that live in a place where the river makes the sound zaazaa as it flows.”

2. Fugu (Poisonous Puffer Fish)

3. Shirako (Fish Sperm)

4. Basashi (Raw Horse Meat)

5. Hachinoko (Bee Larvae)

6. Shirouo no Odorigui (Dancing Icefish)

Shirouo are very small transparent fish that are eaten alive. They dance in your mouth - or rather do the odorigui (dancing while being eaten).