Strange Japanese Foods. A Dancing Squid Bowl?!?

By Donnie | Articles

A Dancing Squid Dish?!?

Mr. Dillard, thank you for emailing me this link. In a word “fascinating!” In another word, “creepy.”I haven’t been to Hakodate or to an ikezukuri restaurant, but this was a pretty good look at one.

I love trying new foods here in Japan, because there are so many good one to try. I saw this video, though and it send a chill through me. Have you ever heard of ikezukuri or ikezukuri(いきずくり, いけずくり or 生き作; (I hope the hiragana and kanji are okay on this one))? Well, if you’re not familiar. Ikezukuri is a type of sushi that is prepared and eaten alive. While I truly love sushi, but I’m not a fan of eating it while it’s still moving. I think this dish qualifies as ikezukuri, but it’s a little bit more disturbing than some of the other videos I’ve seen. When you pour soy sauce on the squid, it starts “dancing.” You’re supposed to eat it, but I don’t think I could do it:

If you’re a bit squeamish, this might not be the video for you. I apologize in advance.

It gives a new meaning to the word “fresh.” I’m sorry but that’s just a bit TOO fresh for me. Listen, I know humans are types of animals, too, but I guess I’m not in-tune enough with my animal instincts to pull this off. Some may even argue that this is quite natural in the wild…so what’s the problem? When I think about it, it does seem very like something you’d see on the Discovery Channel, just take away the trees and grass and instead replace with building chairs and air-conditioning. I’d feel like “Civilized Wildlife” eating this thing.

I know I’ll eventually have a chance to go to one of these. It’s highly, and I do mean highly, likely that I won’t be eating anything, but rest assured that I’ll be filming when I do go.



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  • Nanami says:

    ; ; … I watched it.. *hides face*

    • Nanami says:

      On a side note though, I am glad you posted it. It’s good to have different kinds of exposure! It might make me personally a bit squeamish but it’s still interesting to see something that is considered a trend. I don’t really think this would ever catch on in the states tho’.

      How popular is this dish? -curious-

      • Donald Ash says:

        Hey Nanami! I don’t think the dish is very popular. Most of my students would tell me that they didn’t like ikezukuri (the sushi that’s cut from the live fish and served while the fish is still moving). But maybe for people living in Hakodate it’s a different story.

  • Sean Patton says:

    I once had the misfortune of watching a video of Koreans eating baby octopus that had just been diced up alive and were still squirming around on the plate. One of the diners commented on how you had to chew thoroughly or else the suckers would stick to your throat going down. I wanted to curl up in the corner hugging my knees and rocking back and forth after seeing that.

    My fiancee has expressed interest in taking me to Hakodate for the seafood. If she tries to take me to an Ikezukuri restaurant I’m going to “come down with the flu” that same morning. 😉

  • Ceci says:

    No…no…a million times no. They have nerves and can feel pain. I spend years in neuroscience and studying squid giant axon experiments. I’ve left science because I just can’t do that any more. Whether it’s to mice, rats, guinea pigs, monkeys, or even squid. While the squid may not know fear, it does feel pain. The mammals feel both.

    Ceci….who’s avoiding those videos like the plague.

  • LanceT says:

    0_0 …

    No way would I be able to eat something like that. The whole time I’m imagining the squid saying, “Please don’t eat me!” as it has a salty solution poured on it, which possibly is a source of pain judging how it reacts to it, though the jury is still out on that (

    It just seems kinda cruel to hack at something and eat it while it is still alive and even a little barbaric still to have it “dancing” on top of what appears to be severed tentacles. Replace that visual with a person atop severed limbs and I think you will get the picture.

    Sorry, I’m gonna have to pass on this one. Though it is good to know what people are capable of, both good and bad. -_-

  • Regina says:

    GAH! That was awful!! I agree man… Way way way too fresh! And the person in the video just kept it from falling like it was nothing! GAH!

    One of my students told me about a soup that had live mini fish that danced in your mouth. Here are a couple links…

  • Regina says:

    Found another site… This one I will attach a SERIOUS warning to because the dude is eating the squid live. Donald it’s up to you to post this one… It made me cringe but i was curious how you eat live food… i got my answer… now i wish i didn’t seek it out…

    • Donald Ash says:

      Umm…eww. Thanks for posting that. Have you ever seen or been to an ikezukuri restaurant?

      • Regina says:

        No I haven’t and I never will. I can barely bring myself to eat shirasu even though I like the taste because of their really really tiny eyes. There is no way I can manage something live! HAHA! How about you ever been to an ikezukuri restaurant?

        • Donald Ash says:

          Yeah, eating eyeballs isn’t much fun I reckon. No, I’ve never been to an ikezukuri restaurant. Just thinking about eating something “that fresh” makes my skin crawl.

  • Neo says:

    yeah nice idea..

    i got another idea, why don’t i fire up my game of iron cross with a special god like symbol attached to it and fire 100 nukes at japan..
    hopefully then a bunch of ufos (like the tsunami) will appear and rupture the fault line again and wipe all these cunts out! you never know the gods might play ball like in arizona..
    bear in mind guys some of these aliens/gods are sea dwelling and aren’t enjoying this too much.
    hopefully then after 25% of the country has been washed away, they’ll start again only this time they’ll be torturing their reincarnated brothers/sisters & cousins!..

    that’s pretty sick too eh?!

    enjoy your meal

  • Q says:

    How could it be still alive when its brain is completely removed??? Isn’t it moving cuz of some kind of a Chemical reaction to salt in soy sauce?

  • Anthony says:

    Interesting post. I had squid before at a restaurant here and it has to be the chewiest thing ever, like eating rubber. As I’m open to anything, my only fear would be that I wouldn’t chew it enough and the semi-live squid would get stuck in my throat and choke me out as it’s last dying testament haha.

    • Donald Ash says:

      I’ve actually heard that it does get a little stuck for some people. I just can’t see myself doing, unless it’s for extreme, life-or-death conditions.

  • Rebecca Quinn says:

    Oh god. Really cant get over this. Animal cruelty or something should step in..
    Apparently it dances because the soy sauce stings it.
    Squid is nice and all, but something alive, thats just wrong, I’ll eat anthing thats not gonna be in pain when Im doin so.

    So mean..

    • Donald Ash says:

      It got to me too, Rebecca. The friend that sent me the link was saying that the soy sauce must activate the nerves or something after death. Definitely cruel and unusual.

      • Blake says:

        The squid has had its brain removed and is already dead but only recently. Most cells are still alive and havent died yet throughout your body for several hours following death even though all internal organ function has stopped. The Sodium Chloride in the soy sauce is reacting with receptors in the suckers of the tentacles causing these still living cells to activate and elicit a response. In this case that response is muscle spasm which would normaly be associated with pain, however there is no longer a brain in the squid so the nerves are unable to reach any synapses to cause the pain in the first place. So even if the squid still knew what was going on, which it doesnt without its brain, it would feel no pain. Rest assured, same as eating cooked chicken, just uncooked… and creepy.

  • Al says:

    How can u be cruel to something that is already dead? Do you live in a different universe?

  • Regina says:

    Hey Discovery channel did a segment on this very topic! They talked about the squid not feeling pain. Here is the video

    I still wouldn’t eat it but i feel better knowing that the squid isn’t suffering.

    • Donald Ash says:

      It is really cruel, but that does ease my mind a tad bit. Thanks for the link, Regina.

    • emily samuels says:

      discovery lies! octopi do fell pain.they are very smart, sweet animals that should not be eaten at all.let alone alive

    • Charlie W says:

      that’s rubbish. just trying to make people feel anything is ok and justified and believe what they want to so they can ignore disgusting cruelty when they see it so obviously. cephalopds have a large amount of neurons (brain cells) actually located in their arms, which is why you often see the arms moving around even after being cut from the head. its almost as if they have a separate smaller brain in each arm.

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