Tokyo Fish Market

cimg4810-320.jpgRising at dawn, we visited the Tsukiji Fish Market for the height of the morning rush. After navigating our way through the trucks, vans and motorized trolleys, we found the main fresh fish market with hundreds of vendors selling fish whole, filleted or still alive. Men ran frozen tuna through enormous band saws while others filleted eel after eel or sliced off chunks of fish with a knife three feet long, any of these jobs requiring rubber boats, plastic pants and a wet suit like jacket to keep warm and dry.

cimg4823-320.jpgSome of the tourists wore plastic bags on their shoes, but that is dangerous on slippery concrete floors running with water and blood. With fish and guts everywhere, I was surprised by the complete lack of smell. Perhaps it’s different in the summer, but on our visit everything was surprisingly fresh.

cimg4814-320.jpgIt was hard not to consider the enormity of it all—a vast industry cleaning the ocean of edible life. At no point could we see the entire market and this was only one market in one city. Live sea cucumber to whale bacon, all prepared or packaged to feed our enormous population.

cimg4828-320.jpgThose contemplations didn’t stop us from enjoying a sushi breakfast at one of the many restaurants that fringe the market. In Tokyo, few people speak English, but most people are used to dealing with people who don’t speak Japanese. In this case we were directed to the wall menu for a choice of the $20 set or the $30 set and an Engligh drink menu was provided. As the sushi chef completed a serving, he dropped it in front of us on a black laquered board that ran around the bar, which was used instead of a plate. Wow, so fresh. Most were the usual suspects, tuna and shrimp, but one animal we only reconginized from the fish market—a sort of dark flattened shrimp. It tasted much stronger than a shrimp, not something I’ll likely seek again.

One Response to “Tokyo Fish Market”

  1. Randy Says:

    The Tokyo fish market sounds amazing. I wonder what sea cucumber might taste like. Did you have to clean your shoes at the end of your visit?

    Looks very interesting!!!