By all accounts Japan’s giant wasps are dangerous creatures. And yet, our team recently learned of one huntsman from Kumamoto Prefecture who has a hobby of fermenting these monstrous bugs in batches of shouchuu (Japanese liquor similar to vodka). It merits saying that even in Kumamoto, selling this kind of alcohol is not a common practice. If you do happen to come across some wasp-infused booze in a souvenir shop, it’s safe to say that you’ve strayed quite far from the mainstream marketplace.

Hearing about this peculiar home brew, we at RocketNews24 couldn’t help wondering what kind of a man would make shouchuu containing wasps. Our very own field journalist took a trip to Kumamoto to meet the man in his home and find out more.

・First, how the wasps are captured
Basically, if there’s an underground nest, then simply place a net over the entrance and cause a disturbance which will drive the bugs up into it. If the wasps are flying, then knock them out with a large swatter. Or, if there’s ever a nest built beneath some sort of overhang, then place a plastic bag over the nest and capture the wasps that way. Obviously, protective clothing is an absolute must while wasp hunting, though there are still instances where the wasps’ stingers make it through.

・How this wasp-flavored liquor is made
First, a large number of living wasps is put in a mason jar, which is then filled with shouchuu. Afterward, the jar is sealed up tight and left alone for about three full years. Having no means to escape their alcohol hell, the wasps must suffer terribly within the jar, for they release a great deal of toxins as they die and then ferment. Again, protective clothing is absolutely necessary when preparing the jars.

・A sample taste
The first thing to take note of is the liquor’s color; it’s a dark, muddy brown. According to our gracious host, this is a sign that the wasps’ bodies have properly fermented and all of the necessary nutrients have seeped into the liquid. In spite of all assurances that this is exactly how the drink should look, the sight of it is perfectly unappetizing. Then comes the smell. It’s much like that of regular shouchuu, but with just a hint of rotting flesh. Taking a sip, our reporter made note of a salty aftertaste to the drink. We’ve been informed that this flavor comes from the wasps’ poison and that, incidentally, every batch is just a little bit different.

・The effects of wasp-infused liquor
Surprisingly, the benefits of drinking this filthy brew are said to include beautiful skin, recovery from fatigue, and the prevention of “lifestyle disease,” where repetition of your daily habits leads to sickness and depression. So, it would seem that — provided you can push past the look, smell, and taste of it — this drink is really quite good for you! We’re told that it’s in extremely high demand in Taiwan, of all places.

・Our reporter’s honest opinion
“Let’s be frank. It stinks, it tastes bad, and it looks like crap. I can’t say that I would ever want to drink this stuff again. Sure, the benefits are things that I could get behind, but that’s not the problem here. Maybe if some honey were added to it or if a different kind of liquor were used, then it would be more palatable, but at this point I’ve lost all motivation to give it another try…”

So there you have it! Would any of you readers care to give it a taste? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Photos: RocketNews24

Here’s the jar containing the wasp-infested infused alcohol.

Let’s ladle some out for a better view.

We need four of these buggies to add to our cup.

These ones don’t look too menacing…

They’re a bit clingy, but one comes free.

In case this freaky close-up lacks perspective, that wasp is just about as big as a grown person’s thumb…

And at last, it’s time to drink this foul concoction! Final thoughts? …Bleh!!
[ Read in Japanese ]