February 28, 2009: “Day #11: Wandering the Streets of Tsukiji and Yokohama”

Yesterday we arose at 4:30AM to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market. My hubby and I went by ourselves. We both agreed there is absolutely no picture or words that can adequately describe the experience, chaos, and smell that lines the aisles of the Fish Market. We watched the fish auction and were very respectful of their “no camera flash” rules. Some people, however, were not respectful of the Japanese rules and decided to make their own rules. It was rather embarrassing and we were sure to separate ourselves from the tourists lacking manners. Lisa and Bill said that the Fish Market was closed to tourists several months after my last visit so we were fortunate it was open to foreign visitors this time around. We also watched a Japanese man fillet a giant tuna where he alternated with several different knives, one of which was over five feet! The man moved with such graceful, swift movements that it was mesmerizing.

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We later wandered back to our hotel, ate breakfast, and watched TV. We couldn’t go back to sleep after drinking caffeine at 4:30AM. We then met up with Lisa and Bill and ate lunch (egg salad, ham, and potato sandwiches with seafood bisque).

Afterward we headed over to Yokohama to the Kirin brewery and sampled a pitcher of their stout.

We then went to the local Japanese grocery store and bought ingredients for sukiyaki which is a soy sauce based “stock” (warishita).  Lisa added several different ingredients – Japanese shirataki noodles (which are made from konnyaku which is a starch made from the devil’s tongue plant), thinly sliced beef (shimofuri-niku), a variety of different Japanese mushrooms, leeks, and onions (negi). When eating sukiyaki it is served boiling in a large pot (a nabe). Each ingredient is then dipped into a raw beaten egg and eaten. (Egg shells are free of disease in Japan.) It was absolutely delicious! The mushrooms in Japan are like no other mushrooms on earth and they have so many different varieties (among which include shiitake, enoki, and shimeji).

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