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The fire is supposed to be searing my skipjack tuna, but I feel as if it’s my cheeks that are cooking instead.

Turning away from the intense heat, I extend my arm as far as it can go while still keeping my speared hunk of fish in the flames. The young employee manning the grill at Tosa Tataki Dojo — a restaurant complex on the fringe of Kochi city in southern Shikoku — stokes the fire with yet another armload of straw and gestures for me to flip my fish. I brace myself for the wave of heat and mentally count down the last few seconds of this scorching yet quintessential Kochi experience.

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