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  • You know my entire life has been leading up this moment

  • or ever since I was a kid and I saw the episode of The Simpsons, where Homer...

  • accidentally eats some poisonous fugu.

  • If this goes wrong, I could have 24 hours to live...

  • and then not die.

  • Wow, usually when we do these videos, Ryotaro rents the cheapest, crappest car you can find.

  • Today he's actually splashed out for once he's got a Mazda Miata, a convertible.

  • Alright Ryotaro, this is your big moment do the roof thing.

  • Roof thing.

  • Roof thing, there must be a better word to phrase it.

  • Roof thing!

  • Oh my god.

  • Oh, no.

  • There you go.

  • This is my first time like in a convertible, I can't believe it. - No kidding?

  • Have you been in one?

  • I had two cars convertible. - Of course he did.

  • 'Course he did, alright. - Yeah~~!

  • Alright, should we go?

  • This is becoming real like...

  • Top Gear,

  • Abroad In Japan.

  • That's always been your plan.

  • Ryotaro is a massive fan of Top Gear.

  • so in everything we try and do, he wants it to be like Top Gear

  • and today is the closest he's come to turning that dream into reality.

  • And then you can speak like Jeremy.

  • Speak like Jeremy Clarkson?

  • Yeah, exactly.

  • Like that.

  • That's exactly... what Jeremy Clarkson sounds like.

  • Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県) on the southern tip of Honshu (本州) is the home of fugu blowfish.

  • Japan's deadliest cuisine.

  • Today Ryotaro's flown in for a road trip across the region

  • to see how the dish is prepared and to taste it, firsthand.

  • And along the way, we're making the most of the snazzy Mazda convertible.

  • We'll visit Yamaguchi's most picturesque shrine.

  • The largest limestone cave in all of japan.

  • And taste a popular local dish, served in a not so conventional manner.

  • That is if we survive Ryotaro's reckless driving.

  • This car...

  • has got a thing called, Sport Mode.

  • And, can I turn this on?

  • You can turn it on.

  • Now it's on Sport Mo~~~~de!

  • How did Chris die?

  • Ryotaro went into Sport Mode.

  • This is a brilliant.

  • The Motonosumi Shrine consists of 123 torii gates.

  • Descending down into the emerald green sea of Japan.

  • Curiously, the shrine is surrounded by imagery of white foxes.

  • And to explain why, we turn to our erstwhile Japan expert for answers.

  • Talking about fox.

  • You know, you said that there are many fox here, there are foxes...

  • Yeah.

  • around this shrine, apparently the grandfather of the priest right now here.

  • Had a divine message.

  • Divine message?

  • Yeah, from a white fox as saying that they should build a shrine in this premises.

  • You're gonna have to elaborate on how that divine message happened.

  • That, I'm...

  • pretty sure they saw a fox.

  • When he was asleep or something, in the room a fox, in the room.

  • And say... that... there was a...

  • You're really struggling.

  • I've seen a fox in the wild, but I didn't have a divine message.

  • Well, yeah the work he did, he did and he... the fox says that they should build a shrine...

  • uhm... here in the this tip of the... the land facing to the sea.

  • I don't know what's funnier that,

  • the way you struggled to tell this divine intervention story or just your face in the middle of a fox's ear.

  • Come on then, Ryotaro this is your-- your big moment. Can you do it?

  • Of course, I can do it.

  • Yes~~!

  • Ryotaro got it on his first shot, I don't believe it.

  • No.

  • Yeah~~.

  • 2.

  • - No. - Yeah

  • 3.

  • 4.

  • You did it, yeah~~!

  • I must admit, I was worried. I thought it would take me like forever to get a coin, so.

  • I was quite happy to get it on 4.

  • So each of these gates has been donated, people pay up to $3,000?

  • Not up to, $3,000 per gate.

  • Per gate.

  • So each of these 123 gates has been donated by somebody.

  • I think when most people think of Japan, this is one of the first things that springs to mind, right?

  • - Kind of... - True.

  • the iconic Torii gates.

  • That with the red and it happens to be the one in Kyoto is the most popular.

  • I actually seen pictures of this place for years. I didn't know where it was.

  • I always wonder whereabouts in Japan it was and now I know.

  • And you're here.

  • so Yamaguchi.

  • So...

  • don't you like my excellent coin toss that we make, I made it for the first time.

  • Oh, yeah.

  • And how many times did you have to do it?

  • It took me 4 times.

  • Yeah, that's your life and that's MY life.

  • Yes, let's define ourselves by how many times it takes to throw a coin in a box.

  • The Mazda Roadster has 183 horsepower, powerful yet obedient.

  • Like any good woman should be, she glides through the air like a hawk in a hurricane.

  • That's my Jeremy Clarkson impression.

  • He doesn't even say that.

  • Captured the misogynistic rhetoric of Jeremy Clarkson quite accurately, I think.

  • I feel like it's time to exploit this roof as well

  • I know Ryotaro is dying to see it happen.

  • Yeah~~~.

  • Oh good lord.

  • So this creepy-looking cave is called the Akiyoshido Cave and it's the largest limestone cave in the whole of Japan.

  • And how old is it, Ryotaro?

  • This is like 350 million years old.

  • 350 million years old, older of course than even Ryotaro.

  • So that give you a sense of how old it is.

  • This cave is so obscenely large, if I just stumbled across it without knowing any context knowing anything about it.

  • I would say it was a man-made submarine base or something.

  • 'Cause it's so damn big, I've never been in a cave quite like it.

  • Look at these limestone's and looks like as if we're in the mouth of alien.

  • In the mouth of an alien.

  • Yeah well, this has got to be the what, this is what you're going to see

  • when you're actually eaten or I don't know if you would actually.

  • Ryotaro's an expert on the subject. - Yeah.

  • I'm not gonna lie, it's a little bit eerie

  • Seeing these giant spikes of limestone

  • dangling from the ceiling, if one of them was to fall down.

  • It could be a very swift to brutal end

  • to the Abroad In Japan channel.

  • Apparently they have to shut this cave up to 3 times a year because of heavy rainfall, though.

  • All this area could get flooded with water and it's the last place you want to be...

  • when there is a downpour, given in the water just drips down from the ceiling into your face.

  • Well, I must admit all this talk of being eaten by aliens has got me feeling rather hungry.

  • Isn't it time for lunch?

  • I guess so.

  • Definitely is.

  • What are we having?

  • I don't know, you're the...

  • You're the bloody tour guide.

  • Kawara soba literally means "roof tile soba", the dish became popular in the 1960s,

  • when a local was inspired by tales of soldiers in battle.

  • Who in the absence of cooking tools turned to using the ceramic roof tiles.

  • As a means of grilling meats and wild herbs.

  • Today the dish is topped with pork, omelette and green onions.

  • With the soba noodles themselves kneaded with green tea to give them a distinctive kick.

  • I've never seen a dish in Japan quite like it. I mean, it's on a roof tile for God's sake.

  • People of Yamaguchi Prefecture are a little bit special, aren't they?

  • If they not eat, if they're not busy eating a poisonous fish.

  • They're eating food off a ceramic roof tile.

  • It's not actual roof tile, is it?

  • This is actual-- actual roof tile

  • Yeah, but it's not.

  • It's not-- it's not-- it's not like actual roof type that was actually used for roof tile.

  • It was created just for this.

  • I'm far too snobbish to eat food off of a used roof tile.

  • Crispy noodles, yay.

  • I like that, as the-- as time goes by and the dish gets cooked.

  • The noodles get really crispy underneath and thus tastier.

  • Crispy equals good, a scientific fact.

  • Walking in here, right. I saw a lot of couples coming in.

  • I can't help but wonder what the romantic ramifications are of going and eating over a roof tile.

  • If I was taking a girl out on a date. Where are we gonna go, Chris?

  • Michelin star restaurant. No, love. We're going to the roof tile restaurant.

  • Wouldn't really work in British culture.

  • Well you might be like you know... - It's one slap.

  • Well, they should create something the roof with a heart shape or something.

  • A roof with a heart shape, that would seal the deal.

  • Absolutely, rooftop in the shape of a heart.

  • Oh my god, this might be the busiest market I've ever seen in my life.

  • So we're just about to get some fugu, guys.

  • We're just passing through the Karato Ichiba Market, the largest market in Yamaguchi.

  • Most fish markets you just get wholesale fish.

  • But here you can actually buy individual pieces and it turns out Ryotaro's friends mom owns one of the stores.

  • He's a well-connected man.

  • Even in Yamaguchi. - Even in Yamaguchi.

  • The tentacles of Ryotaro's Empire stretched the length and breadth of Japan.

  • Let me just say hello to the mom. Today is a mid day of the three-day holiday.

  • So it's just a crazy amount of people.

  • Miyoko Yanagawa also known as Ryotaro's friend's mom.

  • Is the owner of Yanagawa seafood, a prominent shop in the center of the market.

  • Where she and her female staff serve up almost every variety of sushi you can find.

  • As the men are off in the mornings catching the fish,

  • the wives play a key role in running the day-to-day operations at the market.

  • And satisfying the appetite of Yamaguchi's hungry customers.

  • So this is my friend's mother.

  • All right.

  • If you say, she's the owner-- she's the owner of this place.

  • And if you say Ryotaro, to her and you get one piece of sushi for FREE.

  • Free sushi, alright.

  • Present.

  • Thank you.

  • Delicious.

  • You know In The Abroad In Japan. - In The Abroad In Japan?

  • In Abroad In Japan, the channel.

  • People may think that we always be eating and eating and eating.

  • But which is true and we will keep eating.

  • I thought he was gonna say "we're always eating, but...

  • but no, we do always eat things."

  • Such a strange fish.

  • I think the thing that gives fugu its character, apart from the fact it blows up like a cheap party balloon.

  • Are the eyes and the expression, you see it on statues on posters across Yamaguchi.

  • It's the expression, because fugu is one of the only fish that can blink.

  • At least that expression on his face I think that gives it a sense of character.

  • I feel like I can relate to it in some way, especially when I was...

  • bigger myself a few months ago before the cycle.

  • I too, was like a balloon.

  • So, in order to cook fugu the blowfish you need special license.

  • Obviously here there's a chef and You-san is his name. Your name is You-san?

  • No-no.

  • Tom Cruise

  • Tom Cruise, okay, of Japan.

  • And he got a special license and he's able to cook fugu and here he is, started to cook fugu.

  • Preparing fugu is no easy task, only licensed chefs are able to do so.

  • Due to the lethality of the toxins within the fish.

  • What makes fugu a risky delicacy, is the poison tetrodotoxin contained in its inner organs.

  • Should you be unfortunate to consume it, the electrical signaling in your nerves will come to a halt.

  • And your muscles will become paralyzed while you remain conscious

  • and unable to breathe, dying slowly through asphyxiation, by all means.

  • It's a really crap way to die.

  • The first stage of preparing fugu is to separate the poisonous organs from the fish.

  • These days, incidents involving poisoned diners are rare with 23 incidents between 1993 to 2006 in Tokyo.

  • With the leading cause often being people who have caught the fish themselves.

  • Without having the adequate knowledge on how to prepare it.

  • Once the fugu has been separated into its poisonous organs and safe to eat meat.

  • The chef prepares the sashimi by slicing it into paper-thin slices.

  • And the fish takes on a whole new identity as a work of art.

  • Ryotaro sitting... with all of his friends.

  • Some people should take one by one, which I don't do this just take five

  • slices together, dive into it an~~d you go.

  • Texture that-- that's what is so different from other fish or meat or anything.

  • It's a little bit chewy, but because he sliced it really thin.

  • It's got very nice, I don't know...

  • Slice.

  • That's my review.

  • I love how you gave up and then chose the absolute wrong word.

  • You know my entire life has been leading up to this moment or ever since I was a kid