Friday, July 27, 2007

Japanese Court Rules That Mochi Caused Brain Damage

In an earlier attempt at writing a blog, I posted the following about mochi.

Every year, mochi kills. This New Year's treat always manages to take out a few old folks. Actually near death by mochi occurs in the film Tampopo where a vacume cleaner is used to remove mochi from the throat of an elderly gent. No doubt more Japanese died yet again from sticky rice cakes. Makes you wonder whether it is worth all the risk. Also consider that while blowfish (fugu) is well known as a culinary killer, the only people who actually die from it are those that lack professional training in properly slicing it up. That is to say, you have to be a complete idiot to die from blowfish poisoning. Mochi by comparison kills far more people and does so when served properly. Just think about that. Its New Years day, you are sitting down to a nice bowl of ozoni (standard Japanese New Year's soup) with a big piece of mochi in it. You eat it. Nothing happens. This goes on for seventy or eighty years until one day when you choke to death on your favorite New Year's treat. I'l stick to blowfish prepared by certified professionals and leave the mochi to those with a death wish.

At the time I had no idea that mochi could cause brain damage, but that is what one Japanese Court Ruled:
"Man who received brain injury from choking on mochi wins lawsuit

A man who received brain injury after choking on a “mochi”, a sticky Japanese sweet, won a lawsuit Friday filed against a Tokyo compensation fund, filed after the man was denied compensation by the fund, Yomiuri reports.

Presiding Judge Yuki Furata dismissed the foundation’s appeal to the Tokyo Supreme Court, and supported the two previous sentences and ordered the compensation fund to pay the man 21m yen ($170,000).

The compensation fund does not pay compensation for accidents caused by chronic diseases, and argued that the man, who was 82 years old at the time, lacked the strength to swallow the mochi because of such diseases.

However, Judge Furata dismissed the foundations arguments, saying: “The burden of evidence that the accident did not happen because of a chronic disease does not lie on the person seeking compensation.”

Clearly mochi is even more dangerous than I thought. Look for a big wave of mochi brain damage cases to follow. If this were in America there would be a class action suit.

For those of you who enjoy mochi ice cream, I don't think you have to worry about choking to death or brain damage because the layer of mochi is rather thin. Anyway, best of luck.