Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I'm not a huge fish person, but I do love me some Hamachi and Maguro every now and then.  Lately I've been craving sashimi and sushi, two things I don't get to eat on a regular basis because Rich doesn't eat either of them.  So, me being the awesome wife that I am, I took advantage of Rich being sick with a bad cold by leaving him home and heading up to Tsukiji Fish Market with my friends Paul and Mina.  I mean, if you want the best, freshest fish, why mess around right?
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Tsukiji Market, the largest wholesale fish/seafood auction in the world and popular Tokyo tourist spot, made headlines in the Star Advertiser (click here for the full article) earlier this month when a tuna sold for a record $736,000 during the first auction of 2012 (craaaazy).  On a normal day, things are probably less exciting there, but if you hope to catch a glimpse of the real action at the market, you have to get there at the crack of dawn.  Let's be real here, I'm not what you would call a morning person and I can do without being around tons of smelly, bloody fish....I suggested we start our trek from Yokosuka at the more reasonable hour of 9:00 a.m.

We got off the train in the Tsukiji area and, armed with our iphones with gps (not to mention the area maps that are all over the place), we set off to find this famous fish market. It really was quite a sight to see - Paul with his iphone out and us trying to figure out which direction on the real time google map we were heading versus which way we were supposed to be heading.  Several times we turned around mid stride, probably annoying the heck out of the locals walking behind us, but enjoying ourselves nonetheless.  In spite of the directional aids at our disposal, we STILL managed to get a little lost and we ALMOST turned around and left without even getting to the heart of the marketplace.  Luckily we made one last turn which turned out to be the right one.  During our exploration of a very narrow and definitely sketchy corridor, we received an unexpected treat when we came across them making blocks of tamago (yum).

Now came the really hard part....deciding where to eat.  Many of the sushi restaurants in this area are small and have long lines, especially at lunchtime, which by this time it was.  Our initial strategy was to stand in the longest line we could find (about 20 people), our thought being the longer the line, the better the food.  After standing in line for 20 minutes with barely any movement and hunger (mine) really setting in, we agreed to change strategy and found a restaurant with a much shorter line.  Looks can be deceiving though because even though only 2 people were ahead of us, we still waited another 20 minutes.  By the time we got in, I was numb - the weather app on my phone said it was 40 degrees but I swear it was really 25.  Mina and Paul had nigiri sets and I had a tuna/crab don with a side of hamachi and toro nigiri (can't forget about the toro).   Once the food came, all conversation ceased as we savored every delicious bite, silently agreeing that these moments were definitely worth the trip and money. 

When each of us was certain we couldn't possibly eat another bite, we paid our bill and headed out.  We had only taken a few steps out the door when in response to someone asking "so what should we do now?" all three of us immediately agreed that coffee and dessert should be the next item on our agenda.  And with that, we set off to find us a coffee shop and eat more food!


Annie Kamiya said...

you are awesome, shan. i love your blog. and, yes, i'll say it again publicly. you are a great writer! = ) keep it comin', girlfriend. <3

Will said...

S2 - Finally caught up on all your blogs - very entertaining!! Definitely makes me want to visit Japan again soon. By the way, never knew you were such an awesome writer! Hope you guys come back for a visit in 2012! Looking forward to more stories from you.

Lori and Max said...

i'm drooling reading this post. The sushi at Tsukiji market will remain my favorite EVER! Soooo melt in your mouth amazing. Love your blog btw.

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