Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 7: More than Fish

our breakfast

Breakfast was a quickie, store-bought bagels albeit "high class" ones from one of the department store food halls. I was off to see the world famous, the one and only, Tsukiji Fish Market. HM who was not keen to throw herself in the path of the fish market's notorious whizzing carts or splosh through puddles of fishy water opted to stay out of the foray.

on the train

I took a train to Tsukiji train station. Someone had obviously gone to great lengths to make the train station look aesthetically pleasing...

... but there was no stopping the reek of fish.

To get from the train station to the inner market where the fish is sold, I first had to navigate through the outer market which sold fresh produce and products supporting the fishing industry.

edamame (soy beans)

Having arrived at 8 a.m., I was way too late for the famed tuna auctions but there was still plenty of action, tuna or otherwise, for our viewing pleasure.

a danger to life and limb

packing ice

"Do you feel a little disembodied?"

here's how to divvy up a fish

tuna for sale

tuna of a lesser god


Of course it wasn't all tuna.

variety is the spice of life

nearly headless fish

eyes big big

similar but not quite

like sardines in a... box


more eels

these look like they grill well

not exactly pretty

a newfangled bouquet for fish fans

Then there were the crustaceans, all of which looked infinitely edible. They certainly came in all shapes and sizes...

red and stripey

this time on ice

small and dark

tiger striped

red and translucent - are those amaebi?

premium prawn, I'm guessing

hairy crab!

crab legs - best!

hey hey lobster dinner

more lobster dinner

Let's not forget the molluscs:

whelks, yes, but what kind?!

clams - regular ones or fancy ones?

mussels - good enough to eat on the spot

scallops, f'sure

these sure look like fruit

aren't these pretty, whatever they are

up close and personal

geoducks - so rude they look

my favourite - abalone

one octopus, many octopi

sea cucumber?

And most controversially...

no prizes for figuring out what this stall sells

clearly red meat

different cuts

Tsukiji Fish Market wasn't just a feast for the eyes. There were many opportunities for a real feast too. The outer market was home to a number of sushi places.

the one I picked

I chose one with waiting customers and joined the queue. While we waited, my fellow sushi-eaters and I were served little paper cups of tea and asked to decide what we would have.

no mucking about with menus here

a peek inside (no cameras allowed)

When it was our turn, we were ushered unceremoniously inside and quickly seated at the counter in a specific order, depending on what we had chosen to have. The food came fast and furious. I had the sashimi set for 3150Y (S$47.25). Maguro (tuna), hamachi (yellowtail), aji (mackeral), sake (salmon) and hotate (scallop) - while not exotic, the fish was as fresh as fresh can be. Then, just as quickly, we were ushered out en masse via the back door, stopping only to pay on the way out. And thus my pilgrimage to Tsukiji Fish Market, mecca for seafood lovers, was over.

I returned to our apartment to switch to clean shoes (some amount of splashing in a wet market is inevitable) and then, together with HM, was off again. HM was hungry, so we hit yet another ramen shop.

our choice for the day

let's see - what will we have?

I had cold ramen...

... that came with this special dipping sauce

HM's cha shu ramen

What we liked best about these ramen shops was that each one was run with a great amount of pride. Each had a slightly different take on ramen, as it attempted to distinguish itself from the other, and did admirably well to deliver quality food, fast, in a clean if somewhat functional setting, at reasonable prices. There may be cheaper ramen in Singapore but, dollar for dollar, Tokyo ramen wins hands down. I hope Tokyoites appreciate what they have!

The weather after lunch was clement - finally blue skies in Shinjuku. We decided to take advantage of the fair weather to explore the Shinjuku skyscraper district.

the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building towers

We did the de rigeur thing - went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck for a birds' eye view of Tokyo.

Mount Fuji is right.... there. Well it would be if it weren't so hazy...

Downstairs, there was this:

look for the Tokyo 2016 Olympic Bid Committee

After that, we went shopping at Takashimaya Times Square, to check out possible prezzies for friends and family back home.

Tokyu Hands, again! - there must be some presents here...

In the course of the afternoon, we had ourselves a melon juice (525Y/S$7.90) and ...

...a raspberry and blackcurrant gelato (390Y/S$5.85)

And then we stopped for tea at the department store's patisserie:

at the counter

strawberry cake

a copy ispahan!

Then we set off to conquer Shibuya. We took the train and emerged at busy Shibuya Station...

...right at the iconic Shibuya junction and famous for...

...Hachiko, symbol of faithfulness and loyalty, and such a cute dog to boot!

good place to wait

We could see straightaway that Shibuya was more our cup of tea, as far as shopping went, than Ginza. There were all our favourite brands...

And of course it was an interesting area just for "sightseeing". While HM popped into places like these:

not up my alley, no

I did my thing.

the crowds pouring in from the Shibuya junction

always a spiritual touch

But the highlight of fashionable Shibuya was none other than...

... Shibuya 109!

With reputedly 109 boutiques, no wonder the shopping centre was crowded with designer bag-toting, mascara-wearing, fishnet-stockinged gyarus, tottering on their 3-inch high platform wedges. fake eyelashes batting all over the place.

ooh loud and proud of it

is this brand for those who wanna look like the Waltons on the outside...

...and Christina Aguilera on the inside?!

As HM put it, you may not actually find something to buy but who cares when there's so much to be entertained by. It was educational. And if nothing else, it was a fun design experience.

Dinner was at the Shibuya branch of Freshness Burger. Again?! Yes...


fresh orange juice and iced orange tea

chilli bean dog

Classic WW Burger

onion rings this time, rather than fries

And then we had to say goodbye to happening Shibuya.


pmp said...

It's my dream to go to Tsukiji!

blobbes said...

they are now allowing tourists to view the tuna auctions. didn't see that the last time round, so hope to catch it this June.

k said...

I have a comic book on Tsukiji and how to eat the the fish :) how nice to actually visit there and taste the freshness first hand!