We started out our first full day back in Tokyo with a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was a short trip on the subway Oedo line away and we arrived about 9am. We’d decided not to go to the pre-dawn tuna auction as we were sure we’d see enough tuna and yelling, middle-aged men during the rest of the market to get our fill.
It was raining…again…but the markets (there’s an outer and an inner) are mostly undercover so it was fine. I’d never been to the Tsukiji markets before even though I’d worked quite close by at the headquarters of Nissan, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than lots of fish. Basically there are endless rows of narrow stalls selling fish:
And there were lots of fish. Three-quarters of them I could name (at least in Japanese, my English naming skills leave a bit to be desired) but the remaining quarter looked positively alien:
There was also lots of big-mother tuna:
And lots of frozen big-mother tuna that were being skillfully cut up with a bandsaw:
And lots of big-mother tuna means lots of big-mother tuna heads:
It’s all a bit over-whelming when you’re wandering around dodging speeding three-wheeled carts and puddles of ankle-deep water:
We did see some yummy folks from home though and funnily enough they were being sold for cheaper than we could have bought them for in Western Australia:
The outer market contains lots of stalls selling all manner of kitchen gadgets & foodstuffs and there are of course, many tiny restaurants serving up sushi (if you can cope waiting in line for at least an hour). We couldn’t so we hopped back on the subway to our second port of call, Okachimachi.
The first thing we needed was some coffee and sustenance and not seeing a Starbucks, we headed in Doutor for cappuccino and sandwiches:
After fuelling up we walked along Ameyoko, a very long shopping strip hugging the railway tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno stations looking for a money clip for M:
Ameyoko is a good place to buy shoes, bags, clothes, dried foodstuffs (like squid!!!) and any sort of cheap knock-offs you feel you can get through customs with.
Finding a nice black, leather one I haggled the price down a bit due to some minor scratches on it and we hopped onto the train and rode one station to Akihabara a.k.a geek city.
First stop was a sit down and a drink. Becker’s was just outside the station and so we headed in:
After the sit down, we walked past one of the many, many cos-play stores:
After hitting up 4 or 5 different electrical stores, I found the rice cooker I wanted and haggled the price down to an acceptable level:
Akihabara is not the cheapest place to buy electrical stuff & tacky souvenirs, but it is one of the few places you can go to buy overseas models that run on different voltages and cameras/computers etc. with English software. If you just want cheap stuff, you local big electrical store in front of any of the larger train stations will always be cheaper (they may not always be able to sell you tax-free stuff, but it only saves you 5% and generally their prices are at least 10%-30% cheaper).
Then it was time to head back to the hotel to have a rest and get changed for our dinner at my friend’s brother’s drinking establishment near Oomori station.
We left a little bit early and stopped off at the supermarket one station away from Oomori and I purchased most of the food I wanted to take back with me. Poor M carried my bags of goodies for me as we hopped on the train at the beginning of peak time, but we didn’t have far to go and soon we’d met up with my friend again. Then it was a short walk from the station to her brother’s pub that specialised in food and drink from the Shikoku region of Japan.
We had oodles of little tapas dishes like fried oysters and kimuchi squid:
Blanched kinmedai (snapper) with mizuna salad:
Pepper wagyuu steak with citrus pepper:
Next door to the restaurant is my friend’s cousins cutlet restaurant and hearing that M had a pork cutlet addiction my friend went next-door and brought back one of their finest (and most expensive) cutlets:
Hearing that I liked plum wine, my friend’s brother recommended a very lovely tipple:
I enjoyed it so much I ended up buying a bottle and bringing it back with me (albeit a smaller one!)
And M indulged in 3 types of Shikoku sake:
For dessert, they’d gone out and bought a special berry tart for us:
After the meal, they gave me a goodie bag filled with curry roux, assorted chocolates and some bottles of seasonings. It was a lovely evening with great food and I was reminded once again that food is often much better when you’ve got friends to share it with 🙂 I thanked her for everything she done for us and given me and was sorry that we wouldn’t be meeting up again until our next visit to Tokyo.
For some reason, after we’d returned to the hotel, I had an attack of the munchies and headed down to the convenience store (just near the Starbucks in the basement…lol) and purchased some melon bread and some cherry blossom rice cakes (the rice cakes are wrapped with salted cherry blossom leaves and filled with red bean paste and they were on my list of must-eats…)
Then it was time for bed as the next day was my big visit to the head office of the company I work for. The only thing I was really worried about though was the karaoke that was in store for me…
Part 11 to come…