Monday, May 08, 2006

Japan continued

Saturday May 6th

On our own for the day, we woke up at 7 and were out by 7:3o, heading to Tsujiki Fish Market. Apparently it's one of the biggest/most exciting fish markets in all of Asia. I couldn't pass that up! If we wanted to see the real action (the tuna auctions) we'd have had to be there much earlier but I didn't want to push D'Arcy too far.

We got to the subway station probably at around 8:30 and followed the flow of rubber boots and foreigner faces towards the market. There was a little introductory act before the main attraction; a market that was cleaner and tidier than any other I've seen. The people were pretty quiet and not at all aggressive (it was mostly a food market with some fish, produce, and edible products of Japan). I couldn't quite tell if it was tourist geared or what. It was mostly quiet.

"This can't be it!" I thought. I'd come all this way to see fish wriggling in buckets just the way I like 'em. What was with all these nice filets lying on ice? We pressed on, passing the little overpriced sushi restaurants with lines out the door despite the early hour, and through the crazy traffic of strange motorized vehicles the marketmen were driving around in. Then we came to it.

The market was pretty good, I have to admit. Huge and sprawling but mostly of the same thing. Enourmous tuna chunks (I can't believe how meaty these fish are), squid, octopus, lots of other fish I don't know specifically. We say four men work at sawing off a quarter of an huge poisson. A man splashed us with fish water, perhaps intentionally. Another professed his love for D'Arcy. A few gestured about my height. One spoke to us in English and French and told us his salmon were from Vancouver. "Hello," D'Arcy said to the salmon. "He's dead. He will not answer" said the fisherman. True enough.

In the end I prefered Busan's Jalgachi fish market because it's right on the water and the ships are coming and going, people are doing work, and vendors are sitting on ground outside in fish guts. It felt more alive there.

After two rows of watching fish decapitation (yeah! get him!) and a number of other fascinating things, we had enough and I sought out some less pricey fresh sushi. It was delicious. This cost me $10USD for the curious. Not too bad, I suppose.
We went home and freshened up for a bit before hitting the streets and walking. We walked and walked, from Sagenjaya to Shibuya and then on to Harajuku, stopping for a tasty lunch of ramen noodles with leek and pork, and mixed veggies in a random place we finally settled on after a too-long search. It can be damn difficult choosing a restaurant in a foreign country where you want to eat good food but you don't know how to read a menu. This time it worked out well.
Harajuku was teeming with people. We went there because Mio told us that we could find cheap things there. We were walking past Dolce and Gabana and Burbury wondering what the hell she was talking about. Backtracking and asking for directions, we came to some alleys of second hand stores. They were selling used American t-shirts (in the colourful family reunion/baseball team/highschool graduating class/etc. variety) for twenty bucks. They were selling used converse for seventy!!! Ridiculous. We bought ourselves a frosty at Wendy's for less than two.
There seems to be a very strange fascination with American culture. I saw a white Corelle casserole dish with the blue flowers that everyone I've ever known owned. It was on display in a thrift shop. What is this about?

In Harajuku we saw the famous goth babydoll girls of the area. They have crazy hair and wear dresses reminiscent of Raggedy Ann though usually in black and white. They pair these dresses with fishnets, platform goth boots, and insane-o makeup. Man, the style here is different from Korea.

Our feet fell off and we went home to sleep for a couple of hours.

In the evening after Scott got home from work we met up with him and Mio and headed to an area called Ebisu which is known for its restaurants. Scott and Mio had made us reservations at a tofu restaurant that knocked my socks off, not to mention the sake. All we had was tofu but it was never in the same form twice. Magnifique!
After eating we headed back to Shibuya (again) and had a few drinks with Matt from Thornhill. Then we took a taxi home. The ten minute ride cost $16. It would cost $6 in Seoul. I can't get over the price difference between the two cities.

Sunday May 7th

Not worth decribing in detail. A breakfast of sushi, some strolling in the rain around Ueno, and a train ride through the countryside to the airport. Then a game of spending my last 1500 yen on airport souvenirs.

The end.

PS: I have many, many pictures but am too lazy to post them within the body of this post. You can look at them if you want.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home