Today’s adventure begins at 4:45am. We needed to get up this early to see the Tsukiji Fish Market in all its chaotic glory. This is where all of the sushi restaurants and fish sellers come to buy their fresh seafood. It is just off of the Tokyo bay.
I have to say that this is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. The smell of fish is fills your nostrils to a whole new level. There are hundreds of fast moving carts driving around with baskets of fresh fish being taken from one area to the next. There are hundreds of booths filled with every seafood item imaginable. Huge tuna (flash frozen out at sea to preserve freshness) are laying in a large warehouse. Bidding wars ensue for top dollar. These tuna will be served to sushi lovers tonight.
After we walked through the chaos for about an hour, we headed towards nearby stalls. For sushi lovers that want the freshest seafood items, nothing beats eating right next to Tsukiji. Tony and Dakota found a tiny sushi bar for breakfast. I know that having raw fish for breakfast sounds weird to Americans, but it is completely normal for Japanese. The guys went in, and I decided to walk around the area (with my trusty Clif bar breakfast in hand) to people watch. The guys had: abalone, ark shell clam, tuna, mackerel, sardine, and yellow fin. They sat next to two guys from New York, and chatted a bit.
After breakfast, we came back to our hotel for a much needed two hour nap. Feeling energized we hopped on the subway to Ameyoko. This is a local shopping district filled with: jewelry, food kiosks, and clothing stores. We found a store that had what appeared to be American clothing. Upon a closer inspection, you realized that many of the t-shirts were either misspelled, or had sayings on them that made absolutely no sense. Tony and I both found shirts on a clearance rack for $8 each.
We had a quick meal at Yoshinoya (the equivalent to a Japanese McDonald’s with rice and meat). We dropped Dakota off at the hotel with two movies to watch, and then Tony and I headed out for some nighttime walking. We found ourselves just a few blocks away in the Kabuki Cho district. This is the entertainment district of Tokyo. You can find: massage parlors, Pachinko bars, t-shirt shops, sushi bars, dance clubs, and even brothels. Brothels are regulated by the government. Only the older ones are around as the government stepped in and stopped allowing new ones to form. Walking by these places, their windows are plastered with photos of the “entertainers” inside. Unlike the U.S., you don’t see the “entertainers” walking the streets.
Tony and I were hitting the tired wall so we headed back at 8:30pm for a quiet night in the hotel. I don’t know how much walking we’ve done on this trip, but it feels like a hundred miles.