Monday, March 10, 2008

Fish Extravaganza

A visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market at 5 am in Japan followed by running around for an hour looking for an atm that works followed by 9 am sushi breakfast feast definitely falls under top five coolest life experiences. I got home three weeks ago and am still dreaming about this morning feast and the auctioneer with green hair.

To do this truly right you have to arrive at the fish market at sunrise after staying out until 3 am the night before. If you have trouble finding it follow your nose, and the noise of a bustling marketplace through the dark alleys of knives and dried weird fishes. When you are almost run over by a man driving a scooter with a big oil barrel on the front you are there! But this is just the start; you have a maze and stands to go before the Tuna auction. Make your way through the aisles and aisles of eels, blowfish, clams, weird things, and more weird things. Through the puddles, beware of the men on carts, follow the yelling and suddenly you are there! Men running around and tagging big tunas. Bigger tunas. Frozen tunas! In each section of the vast building a different auctioneer waving his arms screaming as though he is conducting an elementary school orchestra.

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t forget your rainboots!

  • If you speak Spanish to the tuna from Mexico the fish guy still doesn’t understand you.

  • There is lots of live stuff that is cute soon to be dead (like turtles!) Be prepared.

  • The fish people don’t mind all the gaijin (gringos) pointing and taking pictures, but be considerate because they have BIG knives.

  • As amazing as the market is, you can see how we are overfishing our waters!

According to Wikipedia: The market handles more than 400 different types of seafood from tiny sardines to 300kg tuna, from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar. Overall, more than 700,000 metric tons of seafood are handled every year at the three seafood markets in Tokyo, with a total value in excess of 600 billion yen (approximately 5.5 billion US dollars). Tsukiji handles over 2000 metric tons of seafood per day.

No comments: