Enough about me for a bit…it’s time for a long overdue Japan post that has been sitting in my draft box for almost a month. So here goes…
Delicious, exciting, exclusive, free…the Tsujiki Fish Market’s tuna auction has all the important qualities I look for in an activity. So I set out at 3:45am one dark Tokyo morning to get involved. Yup 3:45 ay. em. Because only 120 tourists are allowed in each day, it’s crucial to set your alarm that early…or pull an all nighter, whatever floats your boat, but seriously, I watched people get turned away at 4:30.
Once you become part of the exclusive 120 you get issued an “authorized personnel” vest and are made to watch what can only be described as a fish market 411 video, which instructs you to turn off your flash, stay in the confined area and under NO circumstances to distract the bidders. This auction is HARDcore and I’m into it.
You’re then single file led through the maze of the market…dodging tractors, stepping on fish guts and just generally being in the way, which none of the merchants seemed to appreciate but whatever it was awesome.
And then, you get, to the tuna room:
Good thing I had my sexy VIP vest on.
Shuffling in, the first thing you notice is how big tunas actually are. They’re HUGE, like 400 pounds huge. Did you know that!? They have to use tractors to transport them!! And there’s about 500 of them all frozen and lined up in a big warehouse like this:
The bidders sniff them and stroke them and stick flashlights into their mouths and do all sorts of weird, pornographic things in order to ascertain the quality. Then the bidding starts and it’s SO fun and cool and cute because everything Japanese people do is cute.
When someone wins an auction their name gets painted on the tuna.
I want my name on a tuna.
Then it’s hauled off. The whole things last for about an hour and all you want to do is eat sushi afterwards so it’s a good thing the market’s perimeter is lined with several restaurants.
I left the auction, ate three pounds of sushi at 6:30am and then went back to bed. Best morning ever.