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« guest blathering | Main | fish market (part one) »

fish market (part two)

(Fish Market, part two...)

The entire place was crazy with activity and noise with auctioneers yelling, motorized carts zigzagging around men loading and unloading, crowds of wholesalers bidding as well as examining and buying fish. Jeff and I had to jump out of the way of various moving vehicles several times. Amidst the chaos, however, was a high level of efficiency. These people clearly knew what they were doing. I can understand the need for is a highly perishable commodity, and deliveries would need to be made as early in the day as possible.

There were surprisingly few tourists around. Perhaps it was the early hour (though Alison said there were quite a few tourists when she and her Jeff went to Tsukiji on a weekend), perhaps it was because it was not a place where tourists were particularly welcomed, only tolerated. But if it's DEFINITELY a place I'd put on a "must do" list for anyone visiting Tokyo.

I loved the energy, the frantic activity, the magnitude of everything. Most of all, it was so different from anything else I've seen elsewhere.

Jeff and I wandered out of Tsukiji via the stalls, where we checked out more of the incredible selection of sea creatures. Jeff nearly got squirted when a shellfish on one of the tables we were passing shot a six-foot stream of water across the aisle.

Outside the covered market were rows of small buildings with sushi restaurants and small shops selling things like fish products, vegetables, and restaurant supplies. After seeing all that fresh fish, Jeff and I both craved some sushi. We chose a small shop which had a sign out front saying that the staff knew English.

We each ordered the cheapest sushi set meal, which consisted of 8 pieces of sushi, miso soup, green tea. We cringed a bit at the cost, which was 2100 yen per set (CAN$28), but according to the guidebooks, this was a pretty average price for sushi. It felt a bit strange to be having a full sushi meal at 6:30 a.m., but it seems that this sort of thing is normal around Tsukiji; there were a ton of similar restaurants in the area, and all of them had customers. Jeff and I figured that most of those who worked in Tsukiji had been up since around 3 or 4 a.m., so would be pretty hungry by 6 am after unloading or buying their fish. :-)

Not surprisingly, the sushi was wonderful. It turns out only one staff member knew some limited English, but that was still enough for us to get our questions answered about the menu. Served on a big leaf instead of a plate, there were several types of sushi that neither Jeff nor I recognized. I asked the sushi chef (using Japanese, since he wasn't the English-fluent staff member), but sometimes his answers didn't clarify things a whole lot. One type of sushi was called "arch shell", for example. Not sure what this type of sea creature is.

Ack, still haven't blathered about the last half of our day yesterday, which was pretty cool. I'll try to finish that later today. It's Tuesday, 11:43 a.m. here. Jeff is napping, but we'll likely be leaving soon to visit the Ginza area this afternoon. Tomorrow we go to Kyoto for two nights to stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, so I doubt I'll be able to post anything until we get back (until the ryokan offers Internet access, which I highly doubt :-)).

(To be continued later today, hopefully....)

Today's Blatherpics:

- Jeff at the sushi place we visited after checking out the fish market, around 6:30 a.m.

- Octopus, I think.

- Something I bought on impulse from a vendor. It cost 100 yen (about CAN$1.35). It turned out to be some type of kameboko (sp?), a fish product I remember having as a child. Yummy!

- Sample of the kind of shop in the area just outside the fish market building. Lots of interesting vegetables I've never seen before.

- Grapes. These are the only type of grapes I've seen in Japan so far...pretty big compared to Toronto grapes. Expensive, too. The bunch you see in the photo cost 650 yen (CAN $8.75!!!)....and that's probably a pretty good price, considering that I saw a similar bunch selling for 700 yen a few stalls away. All the fruit here seems to be expensive.

Today's Poll:

Are you relatively fluent in more than one language?

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