Tsukiji Fish Market

5 am Tokyo, jet lag has put us out on the streets in an attempt to find the Tsukiji Fish Market.  After wandering around some little market-like streets, we come up to bustling, confusing intersection right before a warehouse where piles and piles of styrofoam boxes were stacked up all the way to the back along a road that was teaming with people on bikes, small trucks, and these odd little vehicles with a flatbed body and a huge round steering wheel you have to stand up to drive.  No one paid any attention to pedestrians and after almost getting run over, we managed to cross the street and enter the warehouse. It was indeed the fish market:

The market is vast – rows upon rows of fish vendors selling everything from the sea – tuna, eel, various different kinds of crab, shrimp, all different sizes of clams and mussels, and all kinds of fish.

People were darting in and outwith buckets of water and ice, long strings of styrofoam boxes, and odd little vehicles would blast down the lanes with more loads of fish.  There were vendors gutting and filleting enormous slabs of tuna with long sword-like knives and buyers haggling over prices.  Surprisingly, there wasn’t a heavy fishy smell – just a whiff every now and then.  We wandered through all the rows, oggling at enormous clams and scallops, bright red chunks of tuna, fish staring up at us with glossy eyes, until we reached the back, where more men were unloading huge, whole, frozen – or maybe salted? – fish.  Whatever they had done to these fish, they were hard as rocks and vendors were using band saws to slice through the enormous slabs of the fish meat.

After we’d seen enough of the market (or more like after we got tired of almost getting run over by people and carts of fish) we decided to get our first real sushi in Japan at a sushi bar right off the market.  A little old woman seated us, took our order (for which we just pointed at a picture on the menu) and brought us hot towels to wipe our hands.  We both got a sampler of sushi and sashimi, watching the chefs prepare it behind the glass.  It was amazing – probably the freshest fish you could ever find.  Interestingly, you don’t use chopsticks – you just pick the sushi up right off the counter with your hand and pop it in your mouth.  Seated next to us at the bar was another American couple.  Talk about small world – they had gone to JMU and the woman was from Manassas, Virginia.

One Response to “Tsukiji Fish Market”
  1. Bruno Alcoreza says:

    Thanks for making it possible for us to follow you on this wonderful journey. Have fun, be safe and take advantage of these great experiences. Keep them coming….

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