Fishy market forces at work


Tokyo’s fish market is something else.

Did not actually manage to get up to get in the queue for places to see the fish auction at 4.30 a.m. – wandered down somewhat later but it was still very Bladerunner inside and out (very warm rain started dropping).

Inside fleets of tiny trucks shot in and out of impossibly narrow aisles as workers sliced and diced the catch, tourists and locals shopped and packers iced every fish and shellfish under the sun at high speed.

Huge knives were being wielded with no little skill – made me quite jealous but Anna refused to buy me even the smallest penknife when you could have blades about five foot long.

How the madness produced order I do not know but tons of the stuff seeemed to be flying out of the thousands of stalls and warehouses.

All you could possibly need in the way of vegetables, spices, sauces and preparations was on other stalls nearby.

The real fans were forming lines outside the tiny sushi and sashimi houses to get the freshest cuts possible.

Pity we couldn’t take some back to try for ourselves but I am pretty sure we got some in the Japanese restaurant at the hotel at the end of the day.  

After all that excitement the rain stopped and temperature kept rising so it was nice to get into the strolling gardens next to the fish market for a bit of tranquility.

A great way to cool down was at the old teahouse in the middle of the seawater lake with cold green tea served up ritually in a tea bowl with ice floating in it – very refreshing.

Of course the shoes had to come off, the tiny cake had to be held and eaten in a specified way (left hand holding the paper, right  used a wooden slive to slice it and then eat it – no poking).

The tea bowl had to be turned clockwise a couple of times as you knelt and fanned yourself to cool down.

Next up was the sumo museum, a boat trip up the river and then on the train and subway to an old Buddhist temple and pagoda with loads of incense burning, prayers being offered and huge carp in the water features.

The shops leading away from the temple were teeming and Anna managed to come away with a couple of solar powered waving neku (cats) to adorn the window sill and baffle the real cats at home.

Back at the hotel the meal had a fair few ingredients from the fish market to round of a hot, busy, but successful day.

The Imperial Palace gardens, Edo castle and sumo tomorrow as well as sorting out our Monday train to Kyoto.

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