Friday, April 24, 2015

Japan {Tsukiji Fish Market}.

This morning we got up really early so we could be at the Tsukiji fish market 築地市場 to see the big tuna's being auctioned off at 4 AM.  We got there too late ... by about 40 minutes.  The last tickets had already been given out.
We decided to make the most of our morning there even though we weren't able to see the big tuna auction.  We walked along the streets just outside the market were there are shops and restaurants that.
Nate and Gregg.
It was kind of fun walking up and down the streets early in the morning seeing the shop owners set up for the day.
We didn't have a clue what half of it was!
You can see samples in the picture above at the very bottom ... we weren't willing to try any of it.
Nate checking out some sushi shaped magnets.
We decided to walk to the near by Hama-rikyu 浜離宮恩賜庭園 gardens since they were on our list of things to see but they were closed {gated and locked} that early in the morning.
It was a clear calm peaceful morning and we enjoyed the views.
Sumida River 隅田川

Nate gave us a brief run-down of where we had been and where we were on this map.
It was a good map.
We decided to head back to the fish market and look for a place to have sushi for breakfast.
Look at our tuna!
We watched this guy for a bit making omelets.  The pan is cool he is using.
This picture is for Truman.  He asked me if there was Japanese writing on the roads.  Yep.
Pizza anyone?!
We found these dried squid's for sale and took this picture for Bodie.
Fish everywhere of every kind at the fish market.
We found this building full of vending machines so we stopped in for a sunrise snack {It was somewhere between 5 and 6 AM at this point}.
They sell everything in vending machines ... including drugs {the kind that are illegal in the US}.
We decided on a water equivalent to our power-aid drinks.
We ran into this squid head guy on the street a few times.
He was happy to let me take his picture!
We found a shop full of beans.  Nate and I tried to identify as many as we could ... we didn't do so well.
Our receipt.
I am not sure what this dead, dried out thing is!
There were a few knife shops along the way.  I was curious who would ever need a knife that big.  I later found out inside the fish market.
Fresh veggies.
This is one part about living in a foreign country I think I would like - all the fresh produce and you don't get ripped off buying them.
We stumbled across the most amazing shop,  I don't even know what to call it.  A pottery shop?  Dishware shop?  Tableware?  I don't know but it was totally authentic.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Seriously.
Nate and Gregg were so patient and gracious as I shopped and shopped and shopped and pretty much wanted to buy the entire place.
Doesn't this look like something you would pay an outrageous amount of money for at Anthropology?!
I wanted to buy it all, bring it back with me and sell it!
All the patterns and textures and colors!
I had the hardest time deciding what to get.
When I went to check out the gentlemen who's shop it was told Nate {in Japanese} he was surprised at how much I was buying :)  Souvenirs!
Down an alleyway Nate and Gregg found this guy prepping some fish that he likely won at the 4 AM auction.  Nate had wanted to find one of the men "in action" cutting up the large fish for us to see so we were happy when we found this - we stayed a while and watched him work.

Next we were off to a little street side sushi restaurant for breakfast.
I'm not going to lie, we had no idea what the menu said!
Thank goodness for pictures.
Sushi is not really Gregg and I's thing.  We left all the ordering to Nate and told him we would try anything.  If we are ever going to have AMAZING sushi in our life this would be the time and place!!!
Our chef making the sushi.
We ordered squid and ate so we could tell Bodie we had squid.
This is for Bodie.
It was really "fishy" tasting.
That is fresh shreds of ginger so you can cleanse your pallet.
There you have it.  Fresh tuna - probable caught over night right off the shores were we were eating it.  Now that is fresh.
{before you laugh to hard at my chopstick skills remember we were up at 3:30 AM at this point it was only about 7 AM + some jet lag!!}
Gregg was a good sports to try pretty much everything.  The only thing he liked was the tuna.
I had ONE fish egg and it was disgusting.
It's a delicacy to them.
Gregg's face... laughing at me.
I thought this looked good so I asked Nate to order it.  I really liked it - it was little chives and tasted very refreshing after all that fish.

We did it!  When in Japan do as the Japanses, we had sushi for breakfast at the famous Tsukiji fish market.
Our great chef who was purely entertained by us.
Next we decided to try and sneak into the official Tsukiji fish market - a HUGE wear-house building where all the ocean creatures are for sale to local businesses and for shipping.  Tsukiji fish market is the biggest wholesale fish and sea food market in the world
Just outside the wear-houses are these small packaging and delivery trucks.  Everyone is moving a hundred miles a minute getting stuff done.
We tried going in one entrance but were stopped by security who told us the market was not open to the public until 9 AM so we snuck into another entrance.
Octopus still moving a bit.
This is for Bodie.
There were rows and rows of very fresh sea foods of every kind for sale.
Fresh tuna.

Surprisingly it didn't stink at all.
{unlike the Hong Kong meat markets, yuck!}.
We watched these men cut open and prep this fish {I think it's tuna but then again I think everything is tuna}.
Now I know what those big knifes just outside the market were for!
Check out the size of those things!  And checkout that butcher block, how many fish do you think have been cut on that thing!!!
That is likely one of the tuna's that was bid on earlier and purchased.

Little octopus.

I couldn't help but think my grandpa Arave would have been so fascinated by this place, he's an avid fisherman.
Most of what we saw was so fresh it was still moving a bit.
The actual market itself was so fascinating.  I am glad we snuck in to see it all, and I am glad we didn't get caught or in trouble!
There were tons of these little trucks with men whizing by everywhere on them.  We had to be very cautious of what we were doing especially because we were in their territory.
All that in a few early morning hours!
By the time we got back to Nate and Lauren's place the babies were just getting up {Lauren stayed home with Tagg and Pete which was very generous of her}.