Anyone for some Pufferfish? or Fugu?

by on April 20, 2012
in Uncategorized

We had heard about it, but never thought we would eat it!
While working in Japan as a Missionary Journeyman for the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board teaching English in a Japanese Girl’s school, my co-missionary, Charlene, and I had many dining adventures!
We found out that refusing what is served at a dinner or snack is terribly rude. Of course, it is rude in America, too, to refuse a dish that has been lovingly prepared or expensively provided. But not to the extent that it is in Japan where the intricate rules of etiquette are interwoven into the culture, the food, the language, and really, everything.
The last thing we wanted to do was insult our friends or co-workers.
So when our school went on vacation (yes, all the faculty went on a vacation trip together on a bus to a lovely hotel in a seaside village) Charlene and I bravely faced the whole fish, eyes, fins, and all, served on a platter decorated with vegetables and flowers for our communal dinner.
I almost felt I had been there too long when I found myself looking forward to my hot rice, raw egg (which was broken over the steaming rice, stirred into the aromatic rice which kind of cooked it, and eaten after dashing in a little soy sauce for flavor), yellow radish pickles, and small blackened dried fish.
Anyway, some of friends decided to treat us to a marvelous, expensive, traditional, famous, and dangerous meal! We were invited to eat fugu sashimi (very fresh, raw fish sliced extremely thin and served with sauces for dipping it into).
We had become accustomed to maki sushi (rolled sushi) and other forms of raw fish (served on a small length of rice with wasabi, a hot green condiment). But we knew a little of the reputation of fugu, or blowfish.
The skin, liver, and ovaries of the fugu fish contain a poison, tetrodotoxin, which paralyzes the muscles. First the lips and tongue tingle and grow numb. Then the person dies from full body weakness, seizures, a coma and respiratory arrest. A thousand times more potent than cyanide, the poison in this fish is nothing to fool around with! Of course, I didn’t know all these facts then.
The Japanese government has set up strict rules for the training of chefs who prepare fugu. First there is a two or three year apprenticeship; then a licensing exam which includes a written test, a fish-identification test, a practical test, and fugu preparation and serving. Only about thirty five percent of the people taking the test pass. So, our friends considered the risk minimal when they asked us to eat with them at a well-known, licensed restaurant to try fugu. Being invited to this expensive meal was considered a great honor.
We sat around on the tatami floor around the low dining table. A lovely lady dressed in a formal kimono brought in our hot tea, rice, and a large platter with the thin, delicate fish slices arranged on it. The platter was white with an intricate blue design which we could see through the fresh fish.
Our friends were chatting and began taking small pieces of the fish in their chop sticks and choosing sauces for dipping and eating the fish. Then they turned to us. Charlene and I looked at each other. So far so good. No one was falling over! And then we ate fugu safely with dear friends and lived to tell about it!
No one was insulted. No one died.
However later we heard about a famous actor who had died from eating fugu! It seemed that because he was so influential he had been able to have a tiny bit of the poison served with his fish. We learned that some diners liked the danger of the slight tingle they got from a touch of the poison while eating fugu. However, he was a bit greedy—and ate a friend’s portion of the very expensive fish. He didn’t know that his friend liked a bit of the poison, too. He died from an overdose since he had his amount plus his friend’s amount of tingly in his serving.
Have you thought about the warning that Jesus gave that could be compared to ingesting poisonous fugu? Jesus and his disciples went across the lake and the disciples had forgotten to bring bread. The Pharisees and Sadducees had just asked Jesus for a “sign” that He was who He was—the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus told the disciples to: “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6)
The disciples were confused and thought what Jesus said was because they had forgotten bread—but Jesus reminded them he had fed the multitudes.
“You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Yeast starts out tiny and spreads throughout the dough to make the entire mixture change dramatically—just as the poison in the fugu can be a tiny amount, but spreads throughout the body to kill it.
Refusing to believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the only Son of God, who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross taking the punishment for our sins, rose again to life, and is alive today as our Savior is spiritual poison more potent than any poison on earth.
“After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” (John 2:22) They had a happy ending in eternity.
Beware. Be careful. Know what you believe about Jesus.
Don’t be fooled by Satan’s lies no matter who tells them.
(more at www.conniebunch.com)

Comments

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