Tsukiji Fish Market
My day of relaxation prior to today had done me the world of good as I awoke at 4.30am quite perky and ready to tackle the Tsukiji fish market. I over stayed in the shower though and found myself running for the first train of the day and making it with seconds to spare. The train was fairly quiet and all onbaord aside from me were alseep. After picking up a few passengers, I arrived at my stop and left the train behind a group of Australians, who were being led to the fish market by a guide. So I just tagged along without the worry of getting lost. Perfect!
Tsukiji fish market is huge! And so it has to be, just to accomodate the hundreds of workers and thousands of fish. Even then, the whole place is cramped like a tin of sardines, if you'll excuse the pun. Men on mini pallet trucks zip along the aisles, with just inches to manoeuvre.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Keep your eye out for them as they won't move for you! As I browsed through each aisle, perusing so many different kinds of fish that I couldn't even begin to name or count, I realised that it doesn't even smell of fish. I guess that's because of how fresh they are! Lobsters and crabs side-step around a sawdust filled box, alongside eels that sliver around in a tank. Some fish I saw were flapping around on the table, as their executioner slipped a knife between the gils, before snapping his wrist quickly to kill it. I just couldn't keep up, there was so much going on. I paused for a while to watch a worker carefully filleting a huge tuna with a knife that looked more like a sword.
As if there wasn't enough room already, there was quite a number of tourists taking up valuable aisle space, me included.
However, the market workers were incredibly patient and tolerable of the visitors, and most were more than happy for you to photograph them at work or their fish. After an hours walk through the market and seeing more prawns, lobsters, squid, octopus, fish and eels I could shake a stick at, I decided to get some breakfast. I settled for a little restaurant called Tsukiji Sushiko, and would be lucky enough to eat some of the freshest Sushi on the planet. My first ever Sushi as a matter of fact.
I made myself comfortable at the bar type table that wrapped itself around the chefs kitchen. After been presented with a cup of green tea, i opted for the finest Nigiri Sushi plate. This consisted of tuna, salmon, boiled prawn, salmon roe, some kind of white fish, some Maki-Sushi and a long fillet of fish, that looked quite intimidating! I started off with some Maki-Sushi rolls, after which I ate the tuna, salmon and the white fillet, all of which we delicious.
I was a little worried about the prawn but I too finished it off. I began to struggle now, due to the fact that this was my first Sushi ever and it was 7am. The long fillet of fish which dominated the plate was left but I wasn't sure if I could manage it! But I couldn't leave it, that would be greatly disrespectful to the chef I thought. So I coyly nibbled a little bit and it tasted awesome, and I soon devoured the rest. The chef then advised me that I had just eaten conger eel.
Fed and watered, I made the short walk to Ginza
to have a quick look at the famous department stores and fashion brands. I didn't linger too long as shopping isn't really my thing, and made for the Sony Building, where I could get to play with some of the latest technology.
This was much more up my street, so I was really disappointed to find that the store was closed today for renovation work! Typical! Wandering around a little more I came across a Kabuki theatre, but couldn't get a decent photo due to the fact that a huge van decided to park right in front of it! Again I was a bit miffed as the theatre is quite spectacular!
I stopped for a coffee break and rest, before I got back on the subway to head to Yanaka, an area I was very much looking forward to. When I got there I wasn't disappointed. Arriving in Yanaka was like going back in time, strange to think that somewhere so traditional is a mere 2 stops on the train from the electronics town that is Akihabara. I soon fell in love with Yanaka; the houses, shops and even the people seemed a lot different to those in Roppongi
, Shibuya or even Jimbocho.
Everything was so much slower and the whole area was littered with temples, shrines and traditional Japanese gardens. I spent quite a few hours wandering around the area, and in particular, Yanaka cemetery. The cemetery was full of cats, almost as if they were guarding the place. Just walking through the serenity of Yanaka was a welcome change of pace for me, it was such a calming and peaceful time.
A long day had passed so the rest of afternoon and evening was made up of reading and socialising back at the hostel. To my surprise I found that Riku had returned to the hostel, as he had been away climbing Mount Fuji for the last couple of days. We discussed his climb over a couple of beers before heading for our favourite dish of Kare Risu once again! Looking back now, I wish that I had went back to Yanaka, it was a fabulous place, and probably quite overlooked by many tourists.