Day 21 – Jan 25
So, I lied and yesterday was not the last entry…
The play is not over until the fat lady sings, and I am dying to tell you what I did today early in the morning:
So, I woke up real early in the morning, to have a quick look at the Tsukiji Fish Market, which is very likely one of the largest fish markets in the world! It was buzzing with activity, and I almost got run over several times by the forklifts and small carts they use to move the merchandise around. The morning starts with the auction of tuna fish. These are the fresh tuna, which are auctioned to chefs and restaurants. The record is a fish that brought in one billion yen! That would be 10 million dollars!!
I then moved to the wholesalers’ area, where a tourist is a bloody nuisance to the fishmongers who are trying to prepare the merchandise for store purchasers. It is not a sight for vegetarian eyes, with all the chopping and slicing that goes on. I saw a fresh tuna being butchered, and it is a tough exercise. The eyes are the size of a large egg, and you can buy yourself a bag of tuna eyes for little money (I understand you can make a great fish soup with them).
The Japanese beat the Mexicans at eating anything that swims, burrows, or pulsates, so the variety of fish, shellfish, snails, crabs, and invertebrates is truly outstanding. They come in all sizes, from the little clams barely bigger that a fingertip, to the monstrous octopi, clams, and king crabs. The tuna are pretty huge themselves.
It was a fabulous visit to the marketplace, and I ended buying a good serving of caviar for my breakfast. It is an ugly task, but someone has to eat all that bounty from the ocean :)
On the way back I dropped for a look at a 24-hour Internet and Comics Club. This is a facility where for a few hundred yen you can rent a comfortable booth to surf the internet or to read comic books to your heart's content. The cabins are equipped with a very comfortable recliner, a superfast computer with earphones, and a small desk. A soda fountain is available all night and is free of charge, and if you decide to spend the night playing internet games (5 hours for 1,500 yen), you can take a shower before heading for work. Why didn't we look for something like this when we got stuck at the station in
Did I mention that in Japan one does not need a bicycle helmet? It is a bit surprising since they are so safety conscious in everything else. Well, there are also no restrictions on the number of passengers that can ride, and on the way back to the hotel I almost got run over by a young mother carrying her 2 year old in a back seat, and the 6 month old baby in a pouch in front of her. A mom does what a mom has to do!
OK, now it is really time to go. We are leaving with lots of time, with the idea of getting to the airport, leaving the luggage there, and then hanging out in the town of Narita until the time comes to check in. We'll see how that works out with our giant pieces of luggage.
Wish us luck!