Hisashiburi! The blog has lain dormant for a while, but I’ve been increasingly busy after surviving snowboarding and haven’t had time for an update. For the last few days I’ve been in the Kanto area- visiting the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the current exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, and then going on to Yokohama for a JET Conference.
Tsukiji was really great; despite waking up at 5, I was able to spring around gleefully at the sight of all kinds of weird and wonderful seafood, huge tuna being power saw-ed and samurai sword-ed, and even some less than politically correct bloody whale steaks. What really struck me about Tsukiji though was the scale; this is no normal market, but a serious shipping operation, with fresh cargo delivered daily, prepared (either through cutting or flash freezing), then shipped off to high class restaurants all over Tokyo and the surrounding area. The food here is literally as fresh as you can get- one young worker was gutting and de-heading fish that were still flapping their tails around! Understandably then, our sushi breakfast was a little pricey- 3600 yen for a platter eaten in a sombre sushi-ya, more akin to a temple than the usual “kaiten zushi” restaurants that I frequent. Sombre it may have been, but I’ve never had toro sushi quite so succulent, or such a range of fresh seasonal sushi perfectly balanced by just the right amount of wasabi. The Tsukiji experience was wonderful, but sadly I didn’t get many good photos as you’re constantly on your toes dodging tuna, angry workers and trucks!
Vending T-shirts in Harajuku
Record Shop, Harajuku
I also saw the current exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi while in Tokyo; it was very good, and afterwards we watched the sun setting over Tokyo, with Mount Fuji off in the distance, visible on the horizon! For those not in the know its very rare that you can see Fuji from Tokyo- only on the clearest of days- and its meant to be very lucky (I may have just made that up though).
If seeing Fuji was a sign of clarity to come, it certainly didn’t reveal itself at the”JET Returners Conference”, a chance to hear from ‘working professionals’ in all range of fields, in an effort to sort out the general confusion of life. I ruled more things out than in- banking, finance, corporate business and the general immorality of the private business sector. This leaves me with a range of options- academia, journalism or publishing, government work or other public or non-profit work that relates in some way to the big wide world. Any suggestions greatly appreaciated- my current plan is to become the Guardian‘s Tokyo correspondent, although I guess this requires a bit of serious effort and planning (not to mention the violent overthrow of the incumbent journalist, the very personable Justin McCurry, who I met at the conference).
Yokohama’s Chinatown- the Biggest in Japan! Beware of the gyoza…
Anyway, moving off Tokyo for a moment, today was Shonan Graduation Day. Although I know the 1st and 2nd year students far better than the third, my drummer (Natto‘s drummer) Murakami was graduating, and it was great to see him. Despite coming from a poor family, having to work in a factory part-time while attending school, and going to a school which never sends any students to Uni, he’s managed to get a place at Okayama Daigaku (a good uni) studying economics. I’m so pleased for him- he’s a really nice guy, and deserves all that hes worked to get. A long lunch with Kawahara and Toda was followed by an afternoon off work, leaving me to go for a run and write this long update. Thats all for now!