Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuna auction

One of the most mentioned attractions of Tokyo it's Tsukiji Market, the fish Market, specially the tuna auctions that happen really early in the morning. Like, really early... like, 5am early!
But sleep had been a secondary thing on this trip so the choice was clear. Me, and two other guests from my hostel met at 4am in the lobby and got a taxi to the market. When we got there we didn't know exactly where to go so we just followed a few other people (tourists) that had waken up as early as we did for the exactly same thing. After running around for 15 minutes we finally got there. To a line where we had to wait, where we could see people arriving a little later than us (around 5am) and going back because all the seats for the auction for that day (160) had already been taken. I was so happy I was not one of them!
In the entrance we saw a video explaining how the auctions were done and only after that we were able to enter the place.

Waiting inside the video room. There was a lot of waiting involved in this.

The environment inside was vibrant. Most of the times there are more than one auction happening simultaneously and they're so fast that I really believe that I wouldn't understand anything that they were saying even if I knew Japanese :P. There is tuna fish everywhere. Whole tunas, frozen tunas, being tossed from one place to the other, being analyzed, just standing there waiting for their destiny... And all of this was seen from a narrow corridor packed with tourists that were trying to take the same pictures you were, trying to see the same things, witness the same auctions. It was not a unique experience, but it was still worth the (very) early morning! :)
Here are the pictures that I was able to take.

Analysing a piece of each of the tunas. These analysis are very thorough!
Looking at the meet directly on the fish
Their color under the light tells them if its too watery or not
They may be very valuable, but they're not always dealt with like that
The bell tells that a new auction is beginning
And here are the bidders
Another auction taking place just a bit further down
Some people looked like retired samurais that now spend their time cutting tuna!
If you are wondering... these are frozen tunas, not fresh (before I thought they only had fresh tuna!)
Inside the market, cars are substituted by these things. My question is, where's the accelerator and the brake?
With frozen tune you use tools like this
A big market also implies tons of garbage. Specially if everything comes in a styrofoam package
Taking a rest. It would be a perfectly normal sight if wasn't 6am!

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