Tsukiji Tuna Auction

My friend Alistair Douglas got his Ph.D. in tuna and he sent me these amazing photos from the opening tuna auction at the world famous Tsukiji Market for the new decade.

The Winner!

The Winner!

The Winner Aomori Northern Bluefin

The Winner Aomori Northern Bluefin

Winner is 232.6kg and @ 70,000 yen a kg he cost US$176,978.26

Winner is 232.6kg and @ 70,000 yen a kg he cost US$176,978.26

Inside the Fresh Auction

Inside the Fresh Auction

The Media

The Media

First Auction Ceremony

First Auction Ceremony

One Fish's Reaction to the News...

One Fish's Reaction to the News...

I love the pomp and circumstance with the opening ceremony, the school of media documenting the occasion, and you have to love Alistair’s sense of humor, as he interviewed this fish on his way out – check out his reaction.

The tuna auction is officially closed for about six weeks this time of year to visitors so Alistair is one of the few non-Japanese insiders who works at the tuna auction.

 

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Travel – Gero Onsen’s Shimura 下呂温泉の志むら


One of my favorite places in all of Japan is Gero Onsen in Gifu prefecture, in the heart of the Japanese Alps. I first came to know Gero Onsen through a friend, Leif Hagen, who was an English teacher there. Leif introduced me to Hiroko Sensei who is pictured here. On our honeymoon Shinji and I spent an evening in Gero Onsen and Hiroko took us to this amazing restaurant on top of the mountain in Gero Onsen.

Shimura is a jewel in the area. The chef farms many of the ingredients, and catches local fish in the local rivers. Gifu is known for Hida wagyu, the marbled beef pictured above. But perhaps what was the most memorable dish of the evening was the rice that is grown in the garden in front of the restaurant.

We had a private dining room and Shimura is managed by the chef and his wife. I look forward to going back on our next trip to Gero Onsen.

If you click through Shimura’s website you will see the chef farming and fishing for the food served here.

http://www.geroyama.com/index.php

Shimura

Gifu-ken, Gero Onsen

Phone: 0576-25-3256

Ameyoko アメ横

Ameyoko アメ横

Ameyoko アメ横

Located under the Yamanote line train tracks at Ueno station heading south to Okachimachi station on the way to Akihabara, the electronics town, is Ameyoko, a boisterous, lively outdoor market. Not nearly as impressive as Tsukiji Fish Market, but this is open on seven days a week, which is a good alternative if Tsukiji is closed. Ameyoko got its name from “ame-ya” as there were a lot of candy (ame) shops there before, and from “America-ya” as products from America was sold there. Yoko means next to and the shopping arcade is next to the train line, part of it actually under the tracks.

The fishmongers call out in huffy voices offering discounts and bargains. “Omake” means that they are offering great discounts and may even barter with you, or they may call out “sen yen” (1000 yen) and point to a tray loaded down with seafood. And while negotiating prices is rarely done in Japan, it is done here. You will find a bit of everything from seafood, fruits, vegetables, and dried goods.

Ameyoko アメ横 – Fruits at Hyakkaen 百果園 

Hyakkaen 百果園 

Hyakkaen 百果園 

Hyakkaen 百果園 

Hyakkaen 百果園 

Hyakkaen sells whole fruits boxed for gift-giving, however they are most famous for their seasonal fresh fruits skewered on waribashi (disposable chopsticks) like strawberries, pineapple and melon. The fresh fruits are juicy and a refreshing, healthful snack.

Fruits Shop Hyakkaen 百果園

Taito-ku, Ueno 6-10-12 台東区上野6-10-12

Tel. 03-3832-2625

10:00 – 20:00, no holidays

www.guidenet.jp/shop/083c/ (Japanese)

Ameyoko アメ横 – Candy at Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

This candy shop, overflowing with chocolates and sweets is famous for its 1000 yen bags. It is a show where an enthusiastic salesman shouts out to the customers as he fills a bag up with candies, sweets, and snacks. It is usually filled with kids in school uniforms visiting Tokyo from the countryside. It is often featured on TV programs showing highlights of the Ameyoko Market.

Shimura Shouten 志村商店

Taito-ku, Ueno 6-11-3 台東区上野6-11-3

Tel. 03-3831-2454

9:00 – 19:00, no holidays

http://homepage3.nifty.com/ameyoko/ (Japanese)