Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm off again ~ to Tokyo and Hong Kong...Images from Nikko and Tsukiji

Well, I'm off again... This time to Tokyo, Nikko and Hong Kong.
I'm making this trip for fun to visit friends, sit in natural hot
springs, eat and shop till I drop. Did I mention that I need to
buy a box of trouser socks in Hong Kong?

My trip is for 13 days with the majority of it spent in Tokyo and
two day one night trip to Nikko where I'm taking a friend. I only
get two full days in Hong Kong -- in hindsight, I should have
scheduled and additional day, oh well. My friends an family are
making fun of me that I'm stopping by Hong Kong just to buy
my blasted socks. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? But it's probably
partly true... About 3 years ago, I moved from Hong Kong back to
California with no less than 7-8 dozen pairs of socks. I now have
only one dozen left. I have no idea where they go. Paul seems to
think I eat socks but I'm convinced there is a black hole in the
dryer...Anyhow, I am bent on buying a LOT of socks in Hong
Kong. How can I help it when socks here are about $3 a pair
and I can get a dozen good trouser socks for $2. It's the Chinese
cheapskate in me - always looking for a bargain :P

These are some photos I took in Nikko Japan in 2006. We
were really lucky in that it was a festival night as they usually
do not light up the shrines at night. Nor do they have beautiful
ladies in full kimono garb out on a rainy night all gathered

Alas, I've seen the weather forecast for the next 10 days in
Tokyo and it's supposed to rain almost every day :( I was
planning to take some beautiful photos with my new camera
too. I suppose they will just need to be rainy photos.

I lived for almost 2 years in Japan. It really is a fascinating
country. If you've ever had the chance to visit, I must
insist that you put Japan on your list of places to experience.

And I say experience -- not just see.

The world's largest fish market is in Tokyo, Japan and it
is called Tsukiji. The market is busiest between 5AM and
6AM. To get there at 5Am, you have to arrange alternative
transportation as the trains in Tokyo do not start until 5AM.
We got up at 3:30AM to get ready and drive there to arrive
at 5AM.

The most fascinating event is the fish auction that occurs
during this time. I'd seen photos of Tsukiji before but
nothing really prepares you for the sight or size of the
tuna that are auctioned every morning. They have tuna
from all over the world. The yellow tags denote where
the fish are from.

Many of the buyers would cut into the tail of the fish to
look at the meat. I suppose it's like knocking a watermelon
at the supermarket to see if it's any good.

The auctioner stood on a crate and started waving
his arms and belting out fish lots and prices. A crowd
of buyers stood in front of him with little signs and flags
to signal whether they were bidding or not. I'd never
seen such incredible hand movement in my life -- the
auctioner literally looked like he was a chicken in the
way he was crouching and flapping his elbows up and
down at his sides. I really wish I had taken a video.

Now once you buy the fish (which are literally thousands
of dollars which might explain the not so cheap cost of sushi),
you are definitely on your own in getting the fish from the
market to where you need it. Look at this man wrestling
to get this giant tuna he won onto a wheel barrow.

This photo might give some perspective to the size of
these tuna. Makes me wonder how they fish and catch
these fish!

The fish can be cut up into smaller chunks. I saw one
seller in a stall take out a sword to cut the fish. Using
a power tool as you see here is not a bad idea...

Other than fish, you'll find seafood of all kinds for
sale. Octopus is another common item in Japanese

I hope I haven't put any of you off with my "fishy"
topic but I will certainly endeavor to bring fun
photos back from my trip.

I'll be back in 2 weeks. In the meantime, I pose
this question to you. Have of you been to Japan or
Hong Kong? Is it a place that you would want to go
or not? What about these places fascinate or repel

Photos from Alkemie (Karen Olivia)