Sunday, January 27, 2013

Japan #2- Tokyo

On our first morning in Tokyo, we set the alarm for 4:30am, got up, got dressed and marched out the door in hopes of being able to view the Tsukiji Fish market, the famous fish market in Japan where chefs go to buy their fish for the day.  The line begins forming around 5 and you get to go in to view the tuna auction (which is what everyone wants to see) at 5:45.  By the time we got to the line there were guards turning people away because they only let the first 125 people in to see it a day.  Well crap.  If you know me well, you know it took all the will power Joel had to get me out of bed that first morning and now if we wanted to see it he was going to have to do it again.  So the next morning we set our alarm for 3:45 and we were out the door just after 4.  This first pic is one Joel had to take to show just how happy I was to get out of my cozy bed to go see some dead fish.  

After waiting in line for what seemed like hours we had to put on safety vests and were ushered into the viewing area.  It was freezing (for obvious reasons) and we watched while men inspected the large tunas and then the auctions began.  We saw about 4 tuna auctioned off while we were in the viewing area.  I wouldn't say it was the most exciting thing but the reason Joel really wanted to go was for what you do after the auction... you eat the freshest tuna and other sushi you will find anywhere in the world.  Yes at 6:30 in the morning.  

Joel in his vest
Tuna, yum!
There are several restaurants within the fish market that sell the tuna and other fish that are auctioned off that morning to eat.  We picked a restaurant that was bustling to make sure we had the best.  There were a few tourists in the restaurant but also some Japanese, fresh from the bars and a night of partying.  Apparently sushi is their drunk food of choice.  I guess it beats Taco Bell!

Waiting for a table.

We ordered the small set menu, it was very expensive and I wasn't really sure how much sushi I wanted to eat at 6:30 in the morning.  It was so good though.  And definitely a once in a lifetime experience.  I tried to eat most but Joel was more than happy to finish mine for me while I enjoyed the fresh green tea.
After adamantly not wanting to get up and out of bed, I am glad that we went.

Some of our sushi.

With the watch to prove what time it was.

After our sushi breakfast and a long nap at the hotel we went back out to explore some of the neighborhoods in Tokyo.  We went to Harajuku, yes like Gwen Stephani's girl's, where the fashion is outrageous and there were millions of people.  We pushed our way through the crowd to see it and then walked over to the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Harajuku district was crowded!!

The Meiji Jingu Shrine was in a beautiful tree lined park that was clean and a little crowded but not too bad.  There were huge walk ways up to it and we really enjoyed just wandering around the park.

At the entrance to the park

Joel at the temple.

We were able to see several brides at the temple and got to witness a traditional Japanese wedding procession through the park and temple.  The bride and groom were led under a red umbrella with the family follwing.  We really enjoyed watching it.

The bride and groom.

After the temple was also went to the Tokyo City View and walked around the district where it was located.  It wasn't very crowded which was nice but the day was a bit overcast so we could see the view but it wasn't very pretty.

Going into the building.

The view.

We ended our day with exploring more of Tokyo and getting out to see all the lights and the people.  There really is a big culture of going out and dressing up here which was great to see.

Tokyo lights.

Joel enjoying the warm evening.

One of the popular past times at night are the arcades.  There was one on every block it seemed, full of people.  Most of the arcades just had the grabber claw where you try to get the prizes out.  Joel spent about 15 minutes trying to get me a Hello Kitty doll but it didn't work out.  Thanks for trying though!

No prize for Joel. ; )

Enjoying more of Tokyo at night.

Well, I still have a ton to share with you all from our trip but that is it for now!

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