I feel asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I pretty much had a very deep sleep. We had provisionally planned to visit Tsukiji Fish Market this morning - provisional as we didn't know what state we would be in after the flight. As it turned out we felt fine and were up early up to make the visit worthwhile.
The sun isn't even up yet
as we walk the short distance to the market. Paalo has been here before and he has warned me about the conditions so I'll be doing my best to stay out of the way and stick right behind him.
Tsukiji Market is the name given to the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market and is home to the biggest fish and seafood market in the world.
Before we get to the seafood section of the market we go through part of the fruit and vegetable section
Finally we come upon the start of the seafood section
There's one thing I'm not going to be able to show and that is the size of this market. These narrow paths seem to go on forever and they are intersected by larger paths that see those notorious motorised trolleys zipping past. They are the real danger as the drivers are focused on delivering their products.
You're in a dilemma here, you want to stop to take photos but you really can't as you'll be holding up people and you certainly don't stop on those larger paths.
there seemed to be heaps of these boxes full of the largest oysters I've ever seen
tools of the trade
Our reason in coming here is to visit the frozen tuna auction but to our surprise the fresh tuna auction had their doors open so we could observe these amazing fish
What you can see here is probably just a quarter of the fresh tuna that is up for auction today.
A short distance away is the frozen tuna auction room - this one allows for tourists to observe the auction itself. You need to stay within a small marked walkway in the middle of the room.
frozen tuna to the left of me
frozen tuna to the right of me.
It is interesting to observe the different way the tuna has been prepared compared to the fresh
the buyers are also surprisingly rough with the tuna - here one has dug in his hook into the tail section to get a better look at the meat
he then shines his torch onto the flesh
and then it's on to the next one
this particular man would rub his palm onto the exposed piece of flesh, the heat melting a little of the ice
he then would press the flesh
these sections certainly do get mangled in the process of inspection
Bells ring out to mark the start of the auction and you notice the buyers put on their identifying baseball caps - only these people are allowed to bid.
the auctioneer in full flight - the tuna are sold almost immediately, it's pointless trying to work out the signals used
as soon as they are sold, they are marked with the buyers information
another auctioneer at work
with this lot sold, the door is opened and they ready to be taken away
We take it as our cue to leave as well. As we pass by the fresh tuna auction the fresh here are being taken away as well.
We decide to follow one and see where it is headed
this is the tuna we decide to follow, it's taken all these men to pull it onto the cart
He delivers the fish to one of the stalls within the market but they already have another 3 tuna's to process before this one.
so even if this isn't our tuna we decide to watch anyway
the next part involves the use of this extremely long knife called Oroshi hocho - it is used to fillet the tuna in one stroke
now to remove the second fillet
you might be able to make out that a second person has their hand around the tip of the Oroshi hocho (the blade is covered in cloth) to help guide the blade through the tuna
that's half the tuna done
someone is already working on the first fillet
by way of contrast
the frozen tuna are cut using band-saws
Time to move on and see a little more of the market
these people have a lot of tuna to get through
By now we were sort of "fished out" so decided to make our way to the outer market via the fruit and vegetable sections
isn't this lovely looking wasabi?
These melons are for sale in the shops for around $60 each!
It was still fairly early and the outer market shops were in the process of opening.
this stall is making fresh bonito shavings - the smell here is just fantastic
While wandering through the many outside stalls we finally came upon Sugimoto Knives.
When Paalo visited he didn't buy a chef's knife as he believes that I should really be the one that chooses it since I'll be using it, which is fair enough. After much searching and trying out of the knives I finally settled on two which you can read all about here.
Happy with our purchases we return to the hotel. As it's just after 8am some brain food is in order so we head out to Tully's for coffee and a little something
I wouldn't step foot in these types of coffee chain-stores back home but here there isn't that many options. The pastries are very nice and while the coffee is a little on the hot side, it's not too bad.
The rest of the morning is spent visiting various stores - Apple, Sony and Bic Camera as we make our way to Daimaru. Daimaru used to have a store here in Melbourne but it closed a while back which was a real pity. One of the more notable aspects of Daimaru was its association with Paul Bocuse. Then the light-bulbs went off in our heads - we wondered if Paul Bocuse had a restaurant here. Indeed he did!
Up to the 12th floor we went and on checking the menu we managed to get a seat for lunch.
We start with glasses of Champagne
Paalo's Terrine in Aspic
Duck, Foie Gras, Pistachio Pâté served with Gherkins
For the mains:
Paalo's Prawn Risotto
I have the Pork with dauphinoise potatoes
For dessert we both have Crème brûlée
I can't believe how high that walkway is
After a great lunch we decided to take it easy and took a taxi back to the hotel. It takes a bit to get used to those automatically opening and closing doors.
Before dinner we stroll the streets admiring the Christmas lighting
We can't help but return for a sushi hit
crab and shredded vegetables with Japanese mayo
crab and avocado