Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tsukiji Fish Market

The first morning we were here, we woke up at 4:30am to go see the tuna auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market. The sounds, sights, and even smells of this market are mind-boggling. We had to keep dodging men driving carts! The tuna can go for as much as $200,000!

Of course, while we are here, we have to eat the famous sushi as well!

This is the line at Daiwa Sushi at 6am!! Can you imagine how long it gets at lunch time?

Tuna auction : men are inspecting the fish with those hooks

Random seafood in the fish market

That's right, we waited over 45 minutes to eat here. This was our first piece, fatty tuna. It's so fresh and delicious. :)

This is really good tamago (my personal favorite) . They have tamago stands everywhere! To the right of that is uni (sea urchin egg), it was so fresh and had a mildly sweet flavor. The maki roll included tuna and salmon roe.

We also had fresh shrimp (ebi), freshwater eel (anago) -- not my favorite, kampuchi, scallop, and miso soup with clams. All in all, a fantastic meal! Have you ever had a full sushi meal at 6:30 am? :)
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Random observations

I know I have posted a surplus of posts today, but I wanted to jot down some random observations before I forget! (Still to come, your favorite part, the fine cuisine we've been eating!)

1. No one eats on the street or subways! We Americans must seem incredibly gauche to the Japanese. I mean, -everyone- is eating on the A train. And when you buy some bread from a bakery, how often do you just rip off a piece and nibble on it as you walk home? No way, the Japanese wrap everything up (Dan thinks it is for precisely that reason -- they want to discourage such uncouth behavior) and no one eats in public!

2. The Japanese drive on the left! No one ever told me this -- I thought it was just the Brits and Australians!

3. Do the Japanese eat fruit? I am having the hardest time finding fruit, except the really expensive single-wrapped ones that appear to be for gifting purposes.

4. No one talks on their cell phones in the trains! Everyone is texting, but no one is on their phone. I chuckle because I am certain if cell phones worked in NYC subways, everyone would be jabbering away.

5. The women here dress really well. They are all in heels and skirts, and I wish I had brought more dressy shoes. :)

6. The Japanese love to package things. Everything is packaged beautifully, even the smallest trinket that you buy. I love it!

7. You order ramen from these vending machines! How cool is this. No one takes your order -- you just put some change in, and choose what you want, then bring your ticket up to the counter. You can even do 'add-ons' for some extra yen, like an egg or extra meat.

Our Apartment, Part 2

This is our mini stove. Note that though it only has two burners, it has a small grill for grilling fish!

Underneath our sink: a treasure trove! Including a rice cooker and a whole drying rack with utensils.

This is located outside our shower. Good question, we have no idea how to use it either, but I'm sure once we figure it out, we'll have extra magical shower air.

And that's all the fun for now. Our apartment is one surprise after another. Wait until you see the toilet!
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Our Apartment

Our apartment is by no means large. Quite small, actually. But the Japanese have a talent for space conservation. There are gadgets and gizmos packed into every square inch of this apartment. I thought I'd walk you through some of the more interesting aspects.

This is just to show you how unbelievably obsessed with details the Japanese are. These are knobs on our closet doors. They push in when you are not using them! To use the knobs, you push them in again, and they pop back out. I guess having protruding knobs is unsightly. :)

We have a shoe closet! And you can't see it well, but the hooks in the closet also fold in when they are not in use.

One of the closets held a surprise for us: a washing/drying machine! Now we'll just have to figure out how to use it. We realized that one of our big problems is that we can't read the text on any of these fancy gizmos.

This is interesting. We could not figure out for the lives of us what this did. It's located in our 'kitchen.' I thought it was the heat, but alas, couldn't get the room to heat up. (Anyway, can you imagine having the heat set at 43 degrees Celsius?!) Finally after fiddling with enough buttons, we heard the water filling up in the bathtub! That's right! You can cook dinner and push a button to fill up your bathtub, so your water will be ready when you want to bathe. How fun. :)

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An Introduction

A lot of people have been starting blogs recently. I debated it for a while; I prefer personalized e-mails, but this is probably the most efficient way to do things. Not only that, but this can also serve as my personal diary during my month here.

Daniel and I are spending a solid month here in Tokyo. Neither of us speak Japanese. He speaks a little bit more than I do, but that's not saying much. As soon as I got here, I realized that this would be a difficult month. No one speaks English! So this blog will not only follow our adventures in Tokyo, but it will also serve to highlight cultural differences and difficulties as a foreigner. It is not easy to live in a country where you don't speak their language, and they yours. But that's what is going to make this so fun...:)

So buckle up! You are about to explore Tokyo with us!