Japan should take a leaf out of our book

First, the background


Three people have choked to death on New Year’s rice cakes in Tokyo, with the toll reportedly climbing to at least nine nationwide.

Sticky rice cakes, or “mochi,” are an essential part of the Japanese New Year’s holiday menu.

But the glutinous mochi, grilled or cooked in broth or with sweet beans, can turn deadly, by getting stuck in people’s throats and blocking breathing.

The Yomiuri newspaper reported last week that at least 128 people were rushed to the hospital after choking on mochi, and nine died.

The Tokyo Fire Department said today that 18 people were rushed to the hospital during the first three days of the year, and three males died.

It advises people to cut mochi in small pieces, chew slowly and learn first aid.

Nine deaths. ¬†That’s almost as bad as our road toll.


The solution?

Get the Japanese to set a “no tolerance” policy on mochi eating. ¬† People who eat them without first cutting them into bite sized pieces will be instantly fined.


You’re welcome.


– via One News


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Mountie

    Served one in tea house in Tokyo, one of the worst things I have eaten sucks all the moisture out of your mouth and then you choke on it!

    • Cadwallader

      This experience seems to have imitated my reading of Labour’s policy manifesto.

      • Mountie

        Hadn’t associated the two but now you mention it, perfect match.

    • Odakyu-sen

      I don’t think that’s mochi. Mochi rice cakes are like thick wallpaper paste (but in a good way).

  • Odakyu-sen

    This is old news. Happens every year in Japan. Even the New Years comedy shows joke about it.

    • Garbageman

      This old news is new news to me in this new year

  • Honcho

    If was up to us we would set the rule at 10mm cubes, if you exceed the cube size by only 0.1mm then you can expect a fine, all police resources will be put towards enforcement of this zero tolerance rule, you can expect a police officer waiting in the middle of every long straight table with his highly calibrated vernier calipers checking every dinner as they go past so expect no leniency this holiday dining period.

  • conwaycaptain

    Kamikaze Rice Cakes

  • Timboh

    The problem is not the size but the speed of eating. They should mandate an arbitrary speed limit and then enforce it . Any eater over the speed limit by 10 seconds should be fined.

  • El Jorge

    Love good fresh mochi but you do have to chew it twice as much as normal food to make a small enough bolus to swallow.
    Generally the victims in Japan are children and the elderly.

  • oldmanNZ

    Nz would ban these, and do a massive recall.

    They would only be made in a size of a pea, then they wouold be similar to sago, which they have already.