Auctioned fish and a walk around Kamakura

Tsukiji Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #59: The auctioning voice for the Tsukiji fish market is absolutely hilarious. It sounded like a song with a lot of crescendos – just drop the beat and that guy would be platinum in a few months.
Waking up for the fish market was a little difficult due to the drinking from the night before. It definitely helped that we got to bed around 10:30PM, but some people had a rough night. The Tsukiji fish market is a popular tourist place, but most of the fish is completely sold by noon so those who want to see the spectacle need to arrive early. The fish selling seen in the picture above starts around 7AM and finishes by 8AM. Although catching the first train at 6AM might be laboring, the video and pictures of this auction section is worth the early wakeup at least once.

A door in the warehouse, labeled “for visitors,” leads into a small corridor overlooking the auction. The person calling the prices follows a very addicting rhythm while looking at the company representatives buying their fresh fish for their restaurant’s day or next few days. Most of the fish is imported from oversea shores, but the business itself looks like a well-practiced play. Small hand signals look quite simple, but probably can be easily misunderstood. The fresh cut flaps of the tail are analyzed and by the regulars to get the best cut. Although I didn’t understand a word that they were saying, it was quite intense.
Squishy sloshing sounds from black boots mix into the soundtrack of the auctioning. As a tourist attraction, it’s very important to keep in mind that these people are actually doing business in their daily routine and need to follow a very tight schedule.
Large carts are driven around the warehouse streets delivering fresh merchandise – ready for the rush-hour crowd. If you’re not careful, you’ll get run over or splashed with dirty water for sure. Most foreigners with large cameras are ignored and despised because, at the end of the day, they will never be customers. If I were working there, I think it would take me a few days to get used to the gai-jin and completely ignore their presence.
Around the fish market area, there are 24-hour sushi places that have some of the best cuts of sushi I’ve ever tasted. This was my first time at a real sit-down sushi ordering place where the chefs were not Mexican or Chinese. Everyone had name tags with their hobbies written below them (which I thought was an interesting idea to give each of them individual personalities).
We were greeted by a chant of “Irashiemase!” and welcomed to order directly to the chef at our leisure. Since it was 7AM, most people didn’t order a large breakfast, but my mouth was salivating too much from the sight and smell of fresh fish. I ordered the tuna special, which offered a cut of every type of tuna in the form of a tasting menu breakfast. Fresh toro (fatty tuna) is orgasmic. It melts in your mouth and not in your chopsticks. Dip it with soy sauce lightly on the fish side of the sushi and enjoy your taste-buds moan. It was an expensive breakfast, but “whatever” (Helen reference), I’m on vacation.
From Tsukiji, the tour group traveled to Kamakura for a stroll around the famous temples.
Although we were not pressed for time, I feel like this area of Kamakura could take a few days to explore. Instead of attempting to consolidate this into a few hours, we saw the major attractions and went on our way. The first temple we visited did not seem unusual. The temple placed high on a mountain was accompanied by a large lily field.
The Big Buddah in Kamakura is famous for its incredible design and structure. The pieces of this enormous structure just magically fit together and let physics take care of the rest. As one of the major tourist attractions, it was extremely crowded. Pictures with the Buddah would always include another random tourist. Patiently, I waited for the right angle and I’m left with the impressions that I was the only one in front of the statue.
The inside of the statue costs 10 yen, but it’s quite incredible. Given in this cramped and stuffy space is a brief description of the techniques used by the architects (they were so clever back then).
Because of the deathly heat, our next stop was a barbeque at a beach. I didn’t think there were beaches in Tokyo either, but if you take a train far enough south, you’ll find a nice vacation from the busy city life.
~See Lemons Hug the Buddah

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photo by: magianson