Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish and the dish prepared from it Fugu can be lethally poisonous due to its tetrodotoxin, therefore it has to be carefully prepared to remove toxic parts and to avoid contaminating the meat. The restaurant preparation of fugu is strictly controlled by the law in Japan and only chefs who have qualified through rigorous training are allowed to deal with the fish. Domestic preparation however occasionally leads to accidental death. If a death occurs through the wrong preparation by a chef then he is meant to commit hari-kiri for his misdemeanor however the sushi chefs in Hakuba have told me they won’t. They have also told me they have never lost one customer, yet.
There is a story that tells of three men who prepared a fugu stew but were unsure whether it was safe to eat. To test the stew, they gave some to a beggar. When it did not seem to do him any harm, they ate the stew. Later, they met the beggar again and were delighted to see that he was still in good health. After that encounter, the beggar, who had hidden the stew instead of eating it, knew that it was safe and he could eat it. The three men had been fooled by the wise beggar.