It seems that Tetsu's mission in life is to take me to interesting places on the weekends. I'm not sure if he's doing it for me or for my blog... (What he does for my blog is really for me anyway.) Tetsu has been talking about taking me to Tsukiji, which is a fish market in Tokyo. Now to be honest, I have no interest in seeing a fish market. We live far enough away that BUYING fish would not be feasible (not that we eat enough fish to make a special three hour trip to a fish market anyway), but Tetsu made his plans that I half-heartedly acquiesced to.
We left home at 5:45 and WITHOUT using the highway, headed for Tokyo. I don't know why Tetsu doesn't like to use the highway (costs money?) We arrived in Tsukiji around 9:00, too late to see the tuna auctioning but time enough to wander the stalls and narrow alleys looking at fish.
Tsukiji has turned into an interesting phenomenon in Japan. It has been Japan's "kitchen" for hundreds of years, wholesaling goods to businesses in Tokyo and is one of the largest markets in the world. Along with the shops and stalls, there is a whole area that is devoted to feeding the workers who spend their day in the market, but a few years ago the market and food businesses became popular with tourists. The hundreds and thousands of sightseers overran the market until it was difficult for the sellers to operate their business and recently many of the areas are closed to tourists in order for wholesale businesses to run smoothly. The auctioning area is now only open to tourists with reservations. If yesterday was any indication, that hasn't deterred the tourists a bit!
Tetsu had a vague idea that he wanted to eat sushi at the fish market. Well, just the first row of shops had 6 to 8 sushi places (along with ramen shops, domburi shops, curry booths etc.) with major lines blocking the alleys The shopkeepers meticulously kept adjusting the lines and directing people out of the way of the mini-forklifts that barrelled their ways through the crowds. (They have the right of way).
We ended up joining a line and stood for about an hour watching the earlier customers (a whole nine were all that could fit in the shop) eat sushi. When we finally got inside, our stomachs were growling.
Authentic sushi chefs at an authentic fish market! The little shop was so small that the lady serving tea had to continually apologize as she crab-stepped behind our stools trying to get to the other seven customers, but it was worth the wait!
I don't know about you, but that looks like a plate of sparkling jewels to me! Absolutely beautiful! Let me tell you, you can't find sushi like this in California (nor probably even in Nikko!)
Just for the record, the miso-soup had shrimp heads in it... makes the broth even more delicious! Get over having a shrimp looking up at you if the soup is this good!
I finally stopped taking pictures and enjoyed my sushi. Usually I'll leave one or two pieces of sushi for Tetsu (he's the bigger eater, right?) Sorry Tetsu-san, I'm eating this ALL myself today!
Well, the trip to the fish market was a success for us just because of the sushi!