Suppon is the only turtle that we commonly eat in Japan. It is believed to give us energy, especially virility, because of the dangerous, strong nature of the animal. Its neck is cut while it is still alive, and the blood is collected into a cup, and is then mixed with sake. Some middle aged men drink the blood sake for their health. The liver is sometimes eaten raw. Its body from head to tail is cut into pieces and boiled in nabe (a Japanese pot) with vegetables. Its meat has a soft texture and a plain taste like chicken. The skin of suppon is thick, tender and full of collagen, which is believed to make one’s skin more supple and radiant. Because of that, many ladies love to eat it.
Suppon is familiar to the Japanese as it commonly lives in rice field. There are many expressions that use the suppon character. “Tuki (moon) to suppon” means “ They are as different as chalk and cheese.” “He is like a suppon” means “He is a pesky person.”, as suppon is thought to never let it go once it bites.
Nowadays, we eat suppon at washoku restaurants. It is very expensive, so we only eat it when an energy boost is needed.