Besides sushi, one of Japan's biggest food exports is sashimi (刺身). With a reputation for being mysterious and exotic to the Western palette, sashimi is integral to Japanese cuisine and is based on the principal that if any fresh seafood is to be eaten raw, it should be served raw. Sashimi implies slicing, so while raw slices of scallop are sashimi, raw oysters are not.Most often, preparing sashimi is the specialty of culinary professionals as it requires heavy knife skills and experience with the care and sharpening of special knives. These skills are especially put on display during ikuzukuri, when a fish is sliced while it is still alive and placed on its skeleton for serving. Sashimi eaten at home is usually purchased already prepared and sliced.Because sashimi is a raw course, it should be eaten at the beginning of a meal. It can be accompanied with soy sauce and grated wasabi for dipping, or sometimes benitade - little purple leaves with a peppery flavor that is also mixed with soy sauce. While meats such as chicken, beef, horse, squid, and whale can also be served raw as sashimi, octopus is boiled first when served in this way.