The weather was crummy and our experience was a bit up and down. I’ll explain.
We started off at the Tsukiji fish market, which was about a 10 minute walk from our airbnb place in Ginza. We skipped this sight the last time we were in Japan. I mean, its a fish market right? The attraction of going to see auctions at the crack of dawn (3AM waits) was not appealing at all. But this time, we thought we would go see what the fuss was about.
Once you reach the area, you are surrounded by small stalls that sell street seafood, like scallops on skewers, freshly shucked oysters, and the like. Even on a weekday this place was crazy crowded with tourists trying to get a slice of the action.
Though we passed on the tuna auction, from a bit of googling, we found that there was a melon auction at 9am. After going around in circles, and asking the nice people at the tourist information centre, we concluded that this auction was no longer for public viewing (probably due to frustrations with tourists).
We managed to grab a few bites here and there, and it was pretty tasty stuff, but nothing outrageously spectacular. In search of salvation we hit up a small coffee store just to grab a seat!
The Fish Market
Rested up, we went off to look for the actual fish market. Up until this point, we had been wandering around what i guess is the touristy area with all of the food stalls and restaurants. The fish market is, well, a fish market. Alot of people making purchases of fresh fish. Small scooters and mini trucks flying through tiny cramped isles (Not really safe! Keeps you on edge the whole time). From what i could gather from experience, as well as google afterwards, the local proprietors are not a huge fan of tourists being here. Its cramped, people are trying to work and go about their business, and here we are wandering around aimlessly with no real reason to be here but to look at dead fish. Tourists aren’t going to buy fresh fish here.. We’re here for the cooked stuff.
In conclusion (to this part anyway) please do not visit the actual fish market. Stay in the outer market where they have food for you to eat, and restaurants to visit. Thats where we tourists belong. Leave the market to the customers and fishmongers.
Anyway, following this experience, we did infact to go a local restaurant named Sushi Zenmai. It is a chain restaurant famous for the owner purchasing the most expensive tuna every year. We ordered a plate of mixed sushi and a Chirashi Don, basically a bowl of mixed rice, egg, and raw fish. Food was delish!
My partner felt like i was a little down after that market experience (including being screamed at by a worker at the fish market…) so in need of cheering up, we went to Akihabara, probably my most favourite place to visit in all of Tokyo for shopping. Long story short, mecca for retro video games when you are short of time, and do not have the means/willpower/time to go hunt for cheap deals. Come here for all of your needs and pack light!
I’ll probably come up with another post with photos of the ordeal, but here are some of them below:
And of course, some well needed snacks at Pablo Mini. Flavoured custard tarts, these ones matcha and chocolate
Next up, off to a street photography tour with an organisation named eyeExplore! eyeExplore is a small company of around 4-5 at the time, that specialises in small group tours around the not so touristy areas of Tokyo to take street photos. Don’t expect to see any major sights here. The aim is to purely take cool street shots of the ordinary using objects around us. Using things like mirrors, lighting, and angles to turn an ordinary picture into a story.
Myself and my partner are inexperienced photographers. We had to buy / borrow cameras from friends. We also had no idea what we were doing, and what things like aperture meant!
Our photographer tour guide was really nice and supportive, and helped us these things as we went along. We started at Shimbashi station and began wandering around the neighbourhood.
Our tour guide suggested we eat somewhere in Yurachiko. So we dropped into a chain restaurant called Isomaru, a grill your own seafood type joint.
The food itself? Fantastic, loved it. The food is cooked at the table, with a small grill where skewers and shells are heated up. We ate a mix of things, including grilled vegetables on skewers, grilled cured meats, and a really epic shellfish that was filled with some miso paste thingy. I have no idea what it was, but it tasted pretty epic.
The downside? Feeling uncomfortable while at the restaurant. Everyone is super friendly as expected in Japan. However, after we tried to order our second round of food we started to get some uncomfortable looks. The waitresses did not speak English, and they did try to say something to us (a mix of broken English and full Japanese) that we did not understand. I can only guess that they were telling us that we could only order once and had to leave?
We then started to get strange looks from the other staff, including the chef. They kept starring at our table and in our direction. Call me paranoid but i know we aren’t wanted. Plates are taken away as soon as we had finished them, another obvious sign.
So overall? Maybe if we had just ordered a whole heap of food from the start, we would’ve called this a fantastic restaurant with epic Japanese hospitality and called it a day. However, here i am ranting about one of the most mixed days i had in Japan 🙁