Tsukiji fish market has been recently on the news because it has been temporarily closed to the public. I visited Tsukiji fish market for the first time when I just arrived to Japan in 2004. These were my impressions when I visited Tsukiji at the time, which I wrote in my Spanish blog:
Tsukiji, in Tokyo, is the largest fish market in the world. Beside being huge, it is worldwide known for its really exotic variety of species like huge tuna fishes, whales, blowfishes or mussels the size of your head. We went to Tsukiji early morning (at 7:30 am) when it’s the most crowded; there we found many people driving around with some kind of carts that move really fast. If you don’t pay attention, one of those carts will run you over, they just don’t care if there’s people around.
Tsukiji fish market
We were really looking forward to see how they cut 300 kg tuna fishes (maguro in Japanese language, very important word in Japanese restaurants). In no more than some minutes they cut a whole fish and prepare it to be frozen; they have really developed a perfect technique to do it as fast as possible. If you want to practice cutting fish, there are arcade machines in Game Centers to practice your fish cutting skills with a plastic knife. There are also arcade games where you have to go fishing in a small boat in the sea and other similar games. As you can see, there is a great passion for fish-related stuff in Japan.
Cutting maguro in Tsukiji
After seeing the maguro cutting, we were given some chopsticks and we ate some fresh raw maguro with a little bit of soy sauce. Amazing breakfast!!
To conclude the post, a small Japanese language lesson. The kanji that we are going to learn is very useful when you are trying to look for a restaurant that serves fish. Fish is “Sakana” in Japanese, it is written using the following kanji:
Kanji of fish = Sakana