goo Ranking took a look at what aspects of Japan’s food culture they think foreigners would find strange. Note that here the foreigners implies non-Asians, as there are many aspects listed below that are shared with Korea and China, for instance.


Over the 18th and 19th of February 2011 1,097 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 67.6% of the sample were female, 6.8% in their teens, 21.0% in their twenties, 32.1% in their thirties, 24.0% in their forties, 9.0% in their fifties, and 7.1% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

Above is kusuya, and a video of number 10, live fish sashimi, may be watched by following this link, if you feel up to it.

Ranking result

Q: What aspects of Japan’s food culture do you think foreigners would find strange? (Sample size=1,097)

Rank   Score
1 Kusaya – rotten fish 100
2 Sea cucumber 86.0
3 Natto 84.8
4 Boiled grasshopper 79.4
5 Boiled wasp grubs 71.3
6 Making tsukemono (pickles) in rice bran 59.4
7 Raw eggs 46.5
8 Raw meat (liver, etc) 44.8
9 Octopus 42.5
10 Live fish sashimi 40.5


Steven · April 25, 2011 at 12:33

I’ve had all of those besides the bug ones… I’ve never had the opportunity to. I heard it’s popular around Kyushu, but I’m not too sure. I get the feeling a lot of Japanese people would find that weird as well.

    Ken Y-N · April 26, 2011 at 01:05

    I’ve heard that the wasp larvae are popular in the Chubu area.

RMilner · April 25, 2011 at 14:38

A lot of similar foods to those are found in other countries too.

I wonder what the Japanese would think of Cazu Marzu from Sardinia.

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