Prepare yourself, this was a seriously long day with a ridiculous amount of food. We began the day at the fish market. A must in Tokyo. December is the only time you are not allowed into the tuna auction so instead of getting up to get there at 430am you can get there around 630am. We took two cabs over to the fish market. One dropped some of us in the right location, the other did not. This appears to be standard fare in Tokyo. I am not sure if the taxi drivers do not know exactly where they are supposed to go or they just don't care. Emily and Fred ended up at the main entrance and the rest of us ended up in the back behind the wholesale fish market. You are not supposed to go into that area until after 9am but nobody stopped us as we made our way to the other side.
Controlled chaos is one way to describe the scene. People are flying around on these yellow vehicles that move fast like golf carts but are like miniature crane lifters. You could easily be taken out if one of these hit you. The first thing we saw when we walked into the wholesale building were these huge fish just hanging out on the floor.
We continued walking through the wholesale market until we got to the area we needed to be in. I took a few pics en route. Clams.
The boxes that hold all the fish being broken down for the day. They must come up with a better fabric for those fish. This stuff sticks around for hundreds of years.
We finally made our way to the other side and found Daiwa Sushi. Fred and Emily were still missing. It is not easy to find each other because all the signs are in Japanese. Eventually we found each other and at this point the line at Daiwa was beyond long. But we did not come all the way to Tokyo not to eat here. We found the place looking at a Google map photo of the Japanese letters and figured it out.
It was freezing outside and yes we waited in line for over two hours. Suckers perhaps but a worthy experience. We watched people come and go on their bikes getting their fish from the wholesale marketing, packing up their boxes and taking off.
By the time we got in I am pretty sure you have never seen such happy people getting inside to get warm and just sit down. Our chefs were charming. There is a woman who basically runs the place and the line. She has it down. You have to tell her before you go inside which omikase you want, 8 pieces or 10.
First dish was a warm block of ginger scallion egg. It was the perfect beginning for our breakfast.
Green tea to warm us up.
The chef started us off with a piece of ridiculously buttery toro. Melted in our mouths.
Miso soup with a piece of fish that had been cooking for quite awhile to create the intensity of the broth. Honestly might have been the best miso soup I have ever had, hands down.
Red snapper. Amazing.
Uni that just melted in your mouth.
Mackarel with a scallion mixture on top.
Gooey clam that is still alive. The chef gave each clam a whack before putting it on the rice. Strange but delicious.
Tuna that is simply divine.
Pieces of tiny shrimp.
Tuna roll and cucumber crab roll.
Hamachi. This piece of yellow tail was so damn good that I honestly did not want to swallow but just let the richness of the fish and taste linger in my mouth. The experience is well worth it. The pieces of fish are amazing, the chefs are characters and the whole place is unique.
We walked around the market afterward before moving on to our next adventure. Coffee was seriously in order. Fred found this coffee shop in Shibuya. The neighborhood is filled with narrow rambling streets with coffee shops and other stores.
Omotesando Koffee is located inside a small wooden home and inside is a barista and a big machine. Really good coffee.
Besides coffee they also sold these custard squares. Think French canelles Japanese style.
Our next stop was the Watari Museum. The museum is composed of four floors devoted to an exhibition. This is one of the pieces in the show.
Before our next meal we strolled around the area. This food truck was parked down an alleyway.
We dropped in this pen store. What is interesting is in a country that is so futurist is also about tradition. They still sell plenty of CD's as Tower Records is huge here and there is still an audience for a pen store. It is interesting.
Our next stop was Tofuya Ukai Take located next to the Tokyo Tower (picture above).
This restaurant is seriously old school. The waitstaff is women dressed as geishas. An old rambling restaurant that is set among greenery. Truly beautiful. Each table is set in a tatami room. Truth is there was something about our sushi breakfast that just made me so full that I had a hard time eating anything the rest of the day but regardless I was not a fan of the food here at all. Just strange.
I figure I will share the photos and menu for fun. Boiled quail meat-balls with a pumpkin paste formed into a ball on the side.
Deep fried tofu with sweet miso sauce.
A few pieces of tuna
Simmered crab inside a fried tofu ball.
Salmon roe and pickled turnip, shrimp covered with crushed rice crackers and mushrooms with green vegetables.
Tofu in a seasoned soy milk.
Steamed rice with pieces of sweet potato.
Sweet abzuki-beans soup.
After lunch we drove over to Opening Ceremony which is in the neighborhood. The store is eight stories and each floor is meant to represent a different style of American architecture. This picture gives you an idea what the streets look like. The lights work so that you can walk through the middle of an intersection including corner to corner. Kind of clever.
Here is a picture from inside the store. When we were done we went back to the hotel but Jessica and I soldiered on. Her camera was on the fritz so we decided to go to a store in Ginza and see about buying another one. Finding the store, like the restaurants, was not easy. We finally located it with a little help (asking) as we were there but did not realize it was on the 8th floor of a building. The store was filled with new and used cameras. She got an incredible bargain on a camera but the transaction with the people there who spoke zero English was truly an out of body experience.