Journey Through Japan

Day 21, 21JAN2017

Our final full day in Japan.

Josh and I sorted a few necessities out for our next leg of the trip, passed our details on to our first AirBnB host in Buenos Aires, double checked our flight information, and completed a load of laundry. Is it just me, or is the United States the only country where everyone owns and uses both a washer and a dryer for their laundry? While living in Australia I learned that owning a dryer is one thing, but actually using it is not quite that common. Most people I knew actually preferred to hang dry clothing. In Japan I’ve yet to see a dryer, all the homes we’ve stayed in have had washing machines, but all clothing is line dried. Interesting.

Moving on. Chores accomplished, Josh and I made our way to a bakery for breakfast then boarded the train to the Tsukiji Fish Markets. We did not rise nearly early enough to take in the actual sale of the day’s fresh catch. Instead, we showed up right around lunch time and were caught in the rush of hungry pedestrians. Lines for ramen, sautéed meat, and fresh sushi wrapped around stalls so tightly you could barely move through the market. It was completely crazy and yet thrilling at the same time.

Josh and I walked past hawkers with tuna steaks, fresh salmon, octopus, grilling oysters, scallops under torch flame, bales full of tiny fish, fish eggs in several different colors on display, omelets packed with chopped fish cooking stovetop, storefronts selling sushi plates, soy sauce, pickled vegetables, squid in bags, eels on ice, you name it: it was there.

We carefully selected the most famous sushi restaurant in the entire fish market: Sushizanmai.

Actually, we had no idea where we were. Moving like a school of fish we wandered through low hanging awnings, down thin alleyways, and finally happened upon a place with a man taking names to wait to be seated.

We figured the placed with a sushi train and single-item menu was as good as any and put our name down. About forty-five minutes later after listening to several passersby claim the place we were waiting for was the best in the market, we grinned and finally took our seats. The seating was arranged around a center island where two sushi chefs pumped out fresh bites of absolute heaven in a constant and very even flow.

I ordered the King’s Choice so that I could try all three grades of tuna on offer at the restaurant: blue fin, medium-fatty blue fin, and high-fat blue fin. The first two sushi bites were incredible and the freshness was unparalleled to any sushi I’ve ever had before. The third sushi, the high-fat tuna, was beyond describable. I told Josh after enjoying every second of consuming the piece of sushi that it tasted like butter, but that doesn’t begin to do the beautifully marbled piece of meat justice.

Between the two of us we ate 1200 Yen worth of the freshest raw fish we’ve ever enjoyed: tuna, salmon, squid, and a white fish sushi with scallions and roe. The experience and the taste was exactly what we’d hoped to achieved at the fish markets.

Satisfied we made our way home in the afternoon sun. This was the moment we realized our Japan Journey was at its end. With 1140 Yen left to our name we intend to take it easy this rest of the night and eat a small dinner.

This truly has been an incredible experience, one we both want to continue, alas we must move on to the next chapter. South America here we come!

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