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EVER SINCE I watched “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“, the amazing documentary about the illustrious sushi master Chef Ono Jirō, I was determined to go to Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market.

I had the laughable idea of getting up at 2:00 effing-AM to watch the 5:25 AM seri or live tuna auction at the Tsukiji Market. It is, after all, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! I even booked our B&B just a couple of blocks from the market so that we didn’t have to walk far or take the train to get there! And I did wake up at two. I opened my window and was promptly blasted by autumn’s face-numbing, bone-chilling cold. I thought about lining up from 3:30 AM onwards just to be one of the lucky first batch of 60 people who will be allowed to watch the action. I looked at my cozy and warm blanket… and went back to bed.

I did make it for breakfast, though, at the Jou-gai — the off-market area in the periphery of the main fish market that is open to the public. The place was jumping! The activity, the crowd, the immense variety of fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, packaged and dried food items, chef’s knives and kitchen utensils, a myriad of sushi restaurants and “barbecue-hans”, tuna, tuna, and more tuna!. Imagine enjoying the freshest, most premium toro (that’s the fatty part of the tuna, found in the belly portion of the fish). This cut can cost at least P400 a slice in Manila! A whole bowl here of prime tuna slices would cost under P1,000! And the servings of tastes-like-butter uni (sea urchin) and salmon sashimi are simply too generous for words! I felt I was transported like Alice into an amazing seafood wonderland. The place, the people, the food, the whole experience… it was all so exhilarating … and even a little overwhelming, in a good way. I loved every fascinating second, every delicious nook and cranny of Tsukiji Market.

Let the photos speak for just how much I thoroughly enjoyed the place.

And here is the scene in the docufilm that showed the inner workings of Tsukiji Market — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKmHQJFIw6s

I am incredibly thankful that I got to experience and savor Tokyo’s most extraordinary seafood market, before its scheduled relocation to Toyosu, almost two and 1/2 kilometers away, supposedly by November 2016. Go now!