Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tsukiji Market

For several decades Tsukiji Market has been considered the best fish/seafood market in the world. Daily auctions bring thousands of merchants from all over Tokyo, Japan and around the world. The auctions begin around 04:00 which is before many of us consider getting out of bed and before some of you get home from the clubs. They sell thousands of pounds/kilos of Black Tuna, Tuna, octopus, swordfish, seabass, mussels and so much more. When you arrive at the market the first things you see are hundreds of trucks and mini-trucks or forklifts that zoom around.
You must be very aware of these men because they are
there to do their job and if you get in the way *BAM* you get hit. I have heard of times when tourist are hit because they are paying attention. It's part of the risk of going into someones workspace and messing it up. Because that is basically what all the tourists are doing. We are in someone else's office. Could you imagine if people came to your job, took picutures of you working, got in your way and believed that they should be there. I would be pissed too and if someone got hurt, I wouldn't care. If you plan on visiting, be respectful of the workers or else you deserve what you get.

Around every corner is something special and new. Fish and seafood I have never seen befor. I felt like I was swimming in the sea. Except I was walking and the fish were all dead. Well, at least most of them were about to be dead. If you want fresh fish this is the place. Men will be slicing giant pieces of frozen tuna and swordfish with large bandsaws.It sounds like you are in a lumberyard instead of fish market. Other men are using giant swords to slice large chunks of thawed tuna. The knives are so
sharp that with one pull it cuts through the flesh like a blade cutting through water. Amazing to see. I have heard stories from my japenese frieds about fights in the stalls of the Tsukiji Market between the workers. They talk of times when the men are too cold and angry to deal with problems so they take these sharp hooks used for pulling tuna around and slap them into each other's calves and rip them back out again. It is a bloody and nasty mess. Men are carried out on carts and return months later and many times they never return. Men will lose half of their legs because of the infections, never walk again or die because of several slashes and loss of blood. It is not a place to mess around. These guys are businessmen but take there livelyhood serious as well. So my advice is to visit in the Spring, Summer or Fall when all of the dockmen are happier. NOT THE WINTER, PLEASE, FOR YOU SAFETY AND MINE.

If you want to get fish here you can't. You have to buy it outside of the market where there are stalls with hundreds of little shops selling the same thing for a slightly marked up price.Outside each of these shops are little tables with samples. Some samples of sashimi (raw fish) not sushi (raw fish with rice) and some with vegitarian item for free. They are here to get you to come in and buy. You can actually get pretty full just trying everything as you walk by. But the best part about waking up at 5am or so to go the Tsukiji is the eat the fish. There really is nothing like eating sashimi or sushi at 7am. It is such a refreshing taste and you can feel the difference in the texture of the fish and the taste when it is merely hours old. Plus you get to wash it down with a beer. Ahh the morning beer. Reminds me of college and waking up to a cold beer in the cooler from the night before. Talk about the good life...this is it. And to top it off this market is only a 15 minute walk from my house. So nice to get up early on a Saturday and walk for fresh fish anytime i want. So when you come visit me soon I will make sure to get you there. I've been a couple times with friends and alone and really love the fish and nice walk along the Samida River at 6am to begin the day. See you soon.


Antoni said...

That is such a great story. Keep writing Neal!!!

Mac said...

OK, Murf. It may be nice for some people to get up at 6 am, but I know you were still out and getting a bite before bed. Remember the visit to the Russian Market with Johnny and Dan at 6 am in Warsaw? My wife does!!

Murf said...

True my man I have done that before at the market but not that time. It is so close and so easy. Instead of taking one more subway stop I get off early for some fresh sashimi or sushi. It's great. And yes, I do remember the trip to the market. That was a good one. "Oh it's light out. Let's go the Russian Market" What were we thinking.