I think we mentioned Tsukiji market a few times maybe already, but if we haven’t, let me fill you in. It’s basically where all the fish comes in and is sold wholesale to vendors, restaurants and the like (“and the like”…a fancier way of typing ‘etc’…a better way of saying I can’t complete this triple comma thing). You can get up early (4-5am early) and watch the fish get auctioned up but the real business is the sushi and sashimi shops that are a fishes-throw away and sell the stuff directly into your face hole.
3- Imperial Grounds
4- Tokyo Station
5- Ginza (Andy’s)
7- Ginza (shopping?)
8- Azubujuban (Eat More Greens)
9- Shinjuku station
It’s a holiday this weekend. Health and Sports Day. It commemorates the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Also, it’s Sunday.
So, we got up at 5am…which actually wasn’t so hard for us…maybe for Bobby, and rode the first metro train of the day (with the all-night party crowd…this is a common thing if you miss the last metro) and popped up in Tsukiji ready for some hot lively fish breakfast face hole action.
Except that it was Sunday and Sports day so this place will be closed until Tuesday k thanks.
Instead of bustling sashimi restaurants we got closed metal roll up doors covered in mocking graffiti. They all seemed to say “mmmm you idiot this fish is so good and you are so stupid and I am a cute caricature of a unicorn.” Instead of a delicious sashimi breakfast, I went into the 7-11 and got an Orange Juice.
Word to the wise: don’t go on Sunday, and also maybe read the fine print in that travel book you bought that clearly has operating hours listed. Bummer that we missed it, but we’ll make it up when we come back this way in a few weeks.
Feeling utterly defeated, we rode back to Roppongi to shower, game plan and drink coffee.
We decided to head back out to Ginza because we wanted to do some shopping and Ginza is basically a giant mall of 7 story department stores (well one part is anyway). We went into a 5 story toy store WHICH WAS THE BEST, and also a couple of joints where they sell clothes. Stuff is pretty expensive though so this got old pretty quick.
I was getting famished so we headed back and strolled around a neighborhood called Azabujuban ( depending on which sign you see there are hyphens and spaces in this name), directly south east of Roppongi. Cool little area. We settled on a vegetarian place called Eat More Greens and had a pretty good curry and better tea. Bobby had a beer and a piece of apple pie…like a boss.
After lunch we headed back to the place to pack up and get on our way to Matasumoto for a few nights. We said our see-you-soons to Bobby and left for the Shinjuku train station where we had to get our JR rail passes (like Euro-rail but for Japan) initiated, and catch a 4pm train out. Full disclosure: I made 4pm up, it could have been a different time…if you don’t like 4, pick a new one!…choose your own adventure!
Getting to Shinjuku was easy enough on the metro, and after a brief waft of holy-crap-look-at-all-these-people-I-don’t-understand-any-sign-and-I-have-no-idea-where-to-go-or-how-to-communicate-once-I-get-there we found the correct counter and someone who spoke great English to get us stamped up and on our way. We caught the train and watched Tokyo fade away in the window as we headed into the mountains….
….except 50 minutes later, Tokyo is still outside the window. We’ve been moving (at least) 60 miles an hour for the better part of an hour and there are still high rises and stacked housing as far the eye can see on all sides. I don’t know of any place in the US (maybe LA) where you can do this. Massive scale, massive scope.
When the city finally does subside, the sun has all but gone down and Erin is asleep on my right. The train picked up speed as we passed through mountain tunnels and navigated valley towns by clinging to the sides of the Japanese alps. Mt. Fuji’s undeniable summit, visible above all else to our left, spied us almost the entire way to Matsumoto.
The train pulled in and we hopped a ride in a shuttle operated by our ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn (basically a B&B). We checked into the place and walked down to the grocery store to stock up on some essentials. Grocery stores are a big lol if you, like us, don’t how to read the characters. We guessed on some yogurt and bananas; so far we are still alive.
We had a small dinner at a recommend place around the corner called Ramen Oniyan. We split a delicious and cheap bowl of pork and ramen and apparently nailed the etiquette (I studied…noodle slurping is all good) because the entire staff, cooks and all, went out of their way to say thank you when we left. I know they probably do this for everyone, but it’s still pretty cool.
On that note, I think this bowing business may have legs. It’s actually pretty fun.
We topped the night off with a cup of green tea in the room and went to bed. Tomorrow we are going to see a proper castle and I’m pretty geeked about it.
shrimp on shrimp?
I am the camera guy so I take no responsibility here…
that place we ate…Eat More Greens
pork noodle bowl at Ramen Oniyan
the more I slurp, the crazier I look
wifi is an addiction in the ryokan also…