Fish Market, Electronics and Lantern Festival
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
17Trip End Oct 20, 2009
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Where I stayed
After a few big days in a row, we started today nice and easy. A bit of a sleep in, a long slow breakfast and then we started to plan our last day in Tokyo.
Michelle, Rob, Megan and Archie went to the Tsukiji fish markets – a huge fresh fish market surrounded by a range of food markets, sushi and sashimi stalls and cafes, and market stalls selling most things you could imagine. We arrived mid-morning and saw queues of people we thought were waiting for buses, but on further investigation we realised that they were lining up to go into the many sashimi cafes. They boast the freshest raw salmon in the world – check out the photos of the bloke carving up the biggest fish we have ever seen.
We sampled a range of raw fish, dried and smoked seafood, and some things that we still don't know what they were. Most were very tasty – some were just a bit bewildering. Again, Archie like the rest of us had a go at everything. Megan bought a warm fresh maple pecan Danish and Archie grabbed a French croissant (called something else we couldn’t read or understand) hot out of the oven.
As we walked along the narrow streets we were amazed to see people and families gathered around tables (and in one case a foam box) having their freshly cooked lunch at one of the dozens of stalls and cafes. We soon headed home for a rest and some quiet reflection. Archie made friends with a couple of kids in the hostel (a family from Newcastle of all places) and they soon began playing play station games – all in Japanese of course.
Meanwhile, Michael spent most of the day wandering around Tokyo by himself – revisiting the electronics hub of Akihabara, doing some boy retail therapy and generally enjoying the freedom of being 18 and alone in one of the world’s great cities. He joined us mid afternoon for some rest time.
Later on we headed back into Asakusa (our local neighbourhood) and joined in with thousands of locals as they celebrated the lantern festival around the Senso Ji temples and shrines. There were many market stalls where we did a spot of souvenir shopping (well more than a spot...). We were also delighted to spy a Geisha – so beautifully painted and dressed – who was posing for photos with all and sundry. The fun park next to our hostel was in full cry for the festival and many local families played and enjoyed the lantern festival.
Our evening meal was in one of the local restaurants – it resembled a chain store in design and set-up but specialised in the local cuisine (noodles, rice, curry, ramen, chicken balls etc). Archie had the equivalent of a happy meal – check out the photo – it was so cute.
As we write this diary log, we are watching the live broadcast of the Japanese national football (soccer) team play a friendly against Scotland live from Tokyo, while wash a couple of loads of laundry. Soon we will head back up to our room and pack for moving on from Tokyo tomorrow. We are heading for a place called Hakone – a tourist town with hot springs and a unique tourist loop with many different types of transport. Stay tuned for our next update with all the thrills in store for us tomorrow. We will board our first bullet train, so that should be fun too.
That all for now folks. Cheerio from Tokyo and for us it is cheerio to Tokyo. We have marvelled at this truly magnificent city. We all hope to come back one day...