Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 2: Tsukiji Market, Ginza, Tsukishima

The wet and wild Tsukiji Market
Today, we met Atsunobu, who was our guide for the entire day! Thanks Atsunobu! It was a wonderful time. Charlene's parents were impressed out of their boots by our most illustrious tour guide, who is the best tour guide in the universe. We started off early morning and headed to Tsukiji Fish Market. Our adventure began in the inner market, where it was all wet and smelt of the sea. Tons and tons of people buying food for the coming New Year celebration at home. Huge tuna as big as a cow! Live fish, octopus, sea cucumber, prawns, salmon, and all kinds of colorful, wonderful products of the sea. Fish heads, fish heads, rolly polly fish heads. Fishermen slopping around. Fish slapping everywhere. Octopus suckers staring at you. Puffer fish bloating up. Delicious! Tsukiji fish market is the best fish market in the universe. Here's a clip to show you the flipping fish fantasia:

There were many opportunities to sample food along the streets as well, all kinds of Japanese pickles, seaweeds. Nuts and berries. And an Okinawa donut. Next, the outer market. Ramen, donburi, the first Yoshinoya (picture shown). Almost all the sushi shops had long lines, but we finally had lunch in a sushi restaurant that had a shorter line. Great fresh fish as well as the famous tamago that people were lining up all the way just to get a taste, and boy, it was good indeed. It was the best tamago in the universe.

Walking through Ginza
After lunch, we walked towards Ginza district and stopped at various places along the way. Ginza is kinda like the Magnificent Mile in Chicago or Orchard Road in Singapore. But of course, it is the best Ginza in the universe. A Hongan Bhuddist temple was a long the way. Hongan apparently is a very powerful association that was politically involved. Historically, they were the ones that the shogun used to control people through religion. This is according to our best tour guide in the universe. We also passed a Mac store, an An Pan shop, Itoya (stationary shop). We spent a while in the 7 storey Itoya building. Because this was the best stationary in the universe.

Tsukishima the Moon Island
Next, we took the train to Tsukishima area for a monjayaki and okonomiyaki dinner. Here, the streets are famous for their monja shops. In fact, it is called monja street. Monja is the best food in the universe. It is made from starchy gluten, and is fried on a teppanyaki with vegetables, seafood, or other ingredients. Like chai tao kuay. We also had okonomiyaki, which is like a really thick and rich omelette. And also fried noodles - yakisoba. It turns out that our best tour guide in the universe is also the best chef in the universe. Here's what I mean:

Finally, we walked across the Sumida river and went to the St Luke's hotel observatory for a night view of the city. At the end of our day, we parted with Atsunobu, and headed back for Ueno.

Thanks again for an awesome time Atsunobu!

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