To Market, To Market

In the short period of time between our return to Tokyo and the start of school we decided to head to the World-Famous Tsukiji Fish Market {also, by the way, a terrific activity for a family with jet lag, still rising very early in the morning!}.

I contacted my friend Reiko, who is an incredible chef, caterer, and cooking instructor, here in Japan, and asked her to be our tour guide.  Thank goodness we had her with us, since Tsukiji is the biggest seafood market in the world, moving more than 700,000 metric tons of seafood per year, netting {ha ha} more than five billion dollars!

We did not attend the early morning auction as that is limited to only 140 tourists on a first come first serve basis, and we had Reiko to show us around the different stalls.

Of course, immediately upon arrival, The Cuties saw food and were hungry.  Guess they’re on a see-food diet {I’m just a yuk-fest today!}!

This was a serious onigiri stand, with great choices and even better prices.

You’ll notice there’s a LOT of eating and not so much sharing going on…

Once we arrived at the different stalls, it was cool to see the different varieties of the same seafood side by side.  Here are octopi from Malaysia and the Sea of Japan.  Notice they are slightly different colored with different sized suckers.

Octopus is a delicacy and Reiko’s teenage son is about to head back to America for boarding school so she wanted to get a treat for him.  So she bought a single long tentacle.  And even though it had been severed from the body it was still writhing and pulsating.  We’re all about sushi in the Felt So Cute household, but “still moving” isn’t quite in our comfort zone.

The next group of stalls sold Fugu.  You might better know it as Pufferfish or Blowfish.

We passed on buying any.  Mostly because I’m not licensed to prepare it as is required in Japan, and therefore they wouldn’t sell it to me, and also because I’m not interested in accidentally poisoning my entire family.

{and when it was “Fugu High Season” this year, this was all I could think of}

Next up, was the shrimp guy.  Little Cutie LOVES shrimp.  It’s her favorite kind of seafood, so she was pretty excited by all the different sizes to buy .  And we did.  Those prices were great and were for the entire tray.  Since Reiko buys from these guys all the time, she helped us negotiate only buying a half tray and we were on our  way.{I should tell you that they were all cooked and eaten by The Cuties within an hour of arriving home, so in hindsight we could have bought the whole darn tray!}.

We finally made our way to the star of Tsukiji, the Tuna.

This guy was cutting a fairly small one by market standards.

Reiko explained to us that all the best tuna in the world is auctioned at this market.  No matter where it’s caught.  So if you’re a tuna fisherman in Boston, MA in the United States, you ship your tuna to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan to be auctioned off to get the best price. It makes such a difference, it’s worth that kind of effort!

Got a few thousand dollars to spend on some really amazing fish?

Tsukiji is constantly a really busy place; even after the auction hubbub dies down.

Years ago, seafood was run all over on carts like these:

Today, the Market looks a little more like this:

Or, if you happen to be extra Cute, and know someone, it might look more like this:

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5 Responses to To Market, To Market

  1. poppajdawg says:

    Lucky girls.Sushi 24/7. Fun blog. Thx

  2. Shelli says:

    What a great experience!

  3. Ashley says:

    Love these glimpses of life in a different country! Thanks for sharing! I could have eaten an entire tray of that shrimp too!

  4. glamcookie says:

    So cool! Thank you for sharing these experiences. Most of us will never see this stuff first-hand so it’s incredible to be along on your journey.

  5. Emily says:

    Just had to share…my brother and his wife just embarked on a 9 month adventure that will span 3 continents and numerous countries. Their first stop was Tokyo and when I checked out my brother’s blog today, the entry was about their visit to this fish market, concluding with a sushi breakfast! 🙂 It made me remember this entry of yours…here is his entry:

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