I think this is how this all started. Someone on the DC board asked where to get fugu, and I responded with a post stating that fugu season is from late Sept-March, with an aside that my impression was that the fugu that is imported to the US is the farmed variety with the toxins bred out. I got that impression from something I read on these boards elsewhere (not sure where). StephenB responds (and I'm paraphrasing) what's the point to eating fugu if there's no risk of death involved? StephenB seems to have been put on the defensive as some of us has charged him with having a misperception on how/why fugu is eaten. And he responds with the following link.
Certainly, there is a risk of poisoning when eating fugu, but like people who travel by air, or get on the road in their automobiles, my impression (again, it's my impression--no hard data, or empirical evidence) is that most people who eat fugu, don't think of the risk of death when they eat it. I'm sure there are those extreme types who intentionally flirt with death trying to get a "high" off the toxins. But that seems like an extremely small group of people. StephenB seems to think that everyone who orders fugu factor in this risk when they eat it. That's where I say is his misperception.
Fugu is a delicacy from Kyushu and the western tip of Honshu (Yamaguchi prefecture) where I have many relatives. I'm not sure how regularly they eat fugu, but I do know that they don't eat it as a challenge to the grim reaper. They eat it because they like it, and besides, it's a local delicacy. I have yet to try fugu, mainly because I understand that the flavor is very subtle, not much more flavorful than say, hirame sashimi, and I'm not willing to pay the top dollar for something that I might find bland. Of course, if someone else is paying for it, that's another story. Do I fear poisoning? I have a greater fear of being carjacked, and I don't even have a car.