Day 4 Tsukiji fish market

Thursday April 3rd

It’s just after 6.30am and we are sitting at Tsukiji station after our tour of the wholesale/retail Tsukiji Fish Market. Breakfast was at Daiwa Zushi which was 12 piece sushi set menu breakfast. Naturally we accompanied that with hot sake – our chefs highly approved of that. They line you up like cattle at the doors on one side (a restaurant wrangler does thew work herding you in the correct manner) only to be efficiently guided out afterwards on the opposite side.

We were to meet our guide at 3am outside a Lawson store {convenience 24 hr store selling everything from hot fried chicken, pantyhose, frozen portioned vegetables to sake}. We had 2 young girls from Singapore on our tour also – Iris and Jasmine. Naoto-san was very efficient, affable with great English language skills. He previously had worked at the market for one of the five auction houses so he knew his way around. The government does not sanction tours of any kind and employ security guards who apparently done like Naoto-san. I promised him a private tour of Melbourne’s Queen Vic Market if he ever visits our fair city of Melbourne

So we’ve now been up for 4 hours and I reckon we are doing really well considering we probably only had 4 hours sleep on a tatami mat. It’s fortunate that it’s prior to peak hour so the train ride home is simple and sans train passenger wrangler.
Our taxi driver at 2.30am was old school. No English (which matches our fluency in Japanese) and lots of bowing. Taxis here are delightfully so clean and well presented. Clearly the taxi drivers take great pride in their vehicle In fact, Tokyo as a whole we are finding very clean, though there  is a dearth of rubbish bins…

Our plan is to have a few hours rest/nap before attempting the remainder of the day. Clearly some sake won’t hurt in this aim.

I found the market workers pretty much the same as most genuine market people around the world – concerned with their own business. By that i mean, they aren’t exactly rude but do like to get on with what they should be doing so please don’t get in their way. Fast and furious mototrised transporters zoom in and out the tiny alleyways.

It was dark and rainy and a bit chilly – in other words perfect weather to visit a fish market. Water cascaded everywhere, in and out of buckets, along gutters in the stone work upon which clever merchants had lain wooden squares to raise their wares up out of the constant water flow. Yes, everyone wears gumboots. I’m so glad that I wore my leather boots over woolen socks with jeans tucked in, leather jacket, scarf and new knitted peaked hat = kept me mostly dry and warm.

12 noon

Just woke up from a 5 hour nap and I’m feeling good. Mostly rested and we can attack the day again. I think we are going to try and track down a tea or coffee first (it’s a massive assumption that you’ll be able to get both in the same establishment) then find a soba restaurant. Soba is a buckwheat noodle often served cooled but also served hot in a broth.

We are staying very near a shrine that has a lot of cherry blossom (sakura) trees surrounding it. Most locals we come into contact with tell us how lucky we are to be here in the very short sakura season. The blossom only lasts a week or so apparently and that’s exactly how long we are here for.
Today it seems to be drizzling almost constantly. Not that it made a difference at the market this morning as although we were essentially always undercover, there was water everywhere anyway. Ain’t no water restrictions due to drought here. 

We got quite wet on our first day in Tokyo and kept juggling with the idea of buying an umbrella (a clear one so we could see what/who was weaving their way through the throng) but also as a defense against other umbrella wielding pedestrians. We didn’t and we survived and I’m guessing we won’t today either.

The plan is to caffinate first, then soba, then hang out in a  sake bar to learn more about sake for the afternoon – purely for educational reasons you understand. Of course honesty dictates that I admit that we had our first sake at 5.50am with our sushi breakfast – purely to warm our bones, you understand.

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