Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 13; Freshest Sushi Tsukiji and Otaku Heaven

Day 6

Japanese food has got to be one of my favourite cuisines. Japanese cuisine, as most people know it, is sushi. There's so much more as you've seen or you will see in previous and future posts and I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to be able to eat Japanese food in Japan.
Today we left early to visit Japan's famous fish market and a very touristy site, Tsukiji. It's a working market, kind of like a seafood warehouse. Because it's so popular with the tourists, many area are closed off so people can actually work. In the early morning, around 6am, people can bid for tuna at the tuna auction. Tuna is a really big thing, literally its huge and figuratively (one sold for 1.6 million yen = ~ $16800 CND). It was comparable to my fish market experience in Korea, but I have to say my experience at the Korean market was livelier. I think we arrived when the market was about to wrapping up the day.
The Tsukiji market is one of the worlds most famous fish markets so really, I couldn't think of a better place to have fresh seafood.  We found a nice sushi bar where the waitress surprisingly started to speak to me in Mandarin. Ha, didn't think I'd be speaking that for a while.
not ours, but it looked so good
Kristie and I shared a wonderful set of fresh seafood
Before coming I was told I could not afford sushi, so I was prepared to splurge on one proper sushi meal. The fresh sushi set was for 2000 yen. Not bad at all and better than anything I could find in Toronto!
subway system
Strange beverage of the day.
Fizzy, fruity, and not bad. 
We went to Akihabara to be nerdy/explore Japanese pop culture ie. anime and gaming. Akihabara is the electronics hub and the place to be if you like anime, gaming, cosplay and Japanese maids. It was store after store of things in the otaku realm. Akihabara, definitely an otaku's heaven. Otaku: a person with great interests in anime and manga
wall art
After going to a few otaku oriented stores, we learnt to be cautious while turning corners, cause sometimes there were things we didn't want to see. Hentai:  anime and manga pornography
Inside one of the buildings: vending machines for days
Kristie finds Harry Potter stuff
Inside one of the many arcades.
We went into a few arcades, but there was one arcade that particularly stood out. There was this dude playing DDR and he totally took the game to a whole new level. He was dancing with his feet and hands, and the strange thing was it actually looked like dancing. Looked something sorta like this:
Cosplay: dressing up as a character is huge in Japanese pop culture. After looking at windows after windows of costumes, I couldn't resist from trying one on.
 I opted with the simple school girl uniform. I actually always really wanted one, but didn't see the practicality of it...
We got out of the pop culture to the more traditional area of Tokyo called Ueno. Ueno is one the beginning areas in Japan to create Japanese culture. There we stumbled upon the Ueno market and more stores full of goodies (I hate how there's not much space in my backpackers bag).
streetfood amazingness
6 pieces of takoyaki and seasoned to my liking - 280 Yen
Takoyaki is a Japanese snack made of flour batter with small pieces of octopus inside. Here, it's topped with the takoyaki sauce, bonito (type of fish) flakes, aonori (green laver/seaweed) flakes, and mayo on the side. Oishii: delicious. 

The lady sitting beside us started to talk to us. First I was talking to her in my limited Japanese and then somehow it was switched to Mandarin - twice in one day! Well, I was able to have a proper conversation with her in my mash up of Japanese and Mandarin. Only abroad can I have experiences like this. 

There were two dilemmas today:
- not having luggage space for fun stuff - but I guess that means more money in food.
- not getting tickets for Kyoto for tonight - but that means one extra day in Tokyo.

so maybe there were no real flaws. Oh Tokyo, you're wonderful.
teacup balconies!

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