Memories came back when I boarded the Toyoko line train at Shibuya. It seemed that the 5 years past was just yesterday as I got off at Toritsu Daigaku station. The last time I came to this station in 2004, it was in a different life, not the life of a kitchen cockroach like the present. I was living at a friend’s place about 5 mins walk from the station, and it sure brings back memories.
About 10 mins from Toritsu Daigaku is Tadashi Yanagi’s shop (Exit station, turn left and walk to the main road, turn left and continue walking, the shop is on the opposite side of the road). Walking past his shop, you can take a small peek into the kitchen through a small window and a strong yearning in my heart began. One day, I will work in this city.
What happens when you fish out a statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin, or Kannon) in a river? This happened at the Sumida river in 628AD, according to the most trustworthy source of information in the world, Wikipedia. The rest of the story, you can read for yourself, but if true, you gotta admit that that is a pretty cool story.
The last time I was at Asakusa, it was May 2006, on a day coinciding with the Sanja Matsuri. This being one of the top 3 important Shinto festivals in Tokyo was unbeknownst to me then, as I found to amazement at the hordes of people cramming the exit out of Asakusa station.
Tokyo, like most modern Asian cities is constantly changing and since the last I was there, Tokyo Midtown popped out in Roppongi.
This new ‘high class’ shopping centre also happens to be home to Dean and Deluca, Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki and the world’s most expensive chocolate, which shall not be named here. Basically, this American con-job outfit melts down a French chocolate (Not Valrhona or Michel Cluizel) and makes chocolates that retail for more than the price of gold.
But, we were not at Midtown for either of these guys, though it should be noted that L’Artisan du Chocolat and Guido Gobino can be purchased at Dean and Deluca.
Weird blobs of half animal, half vegetables, deadly denizens of the deep, humungous silver flashing torpedos, creatures flapping, slithering, crawling and spouting. No, you are not at Ocean World, they do not have what this place has. You are in Tsukiji fish market, the seafood central of the world.
Can you justify waking up in the wee hours to visit Tsukiji market (Again) and risk getting run over by oversized R2D2 fork trucks or risking the wrath of the market inhabitants who probably loathe the sight of camera toting tourists of whom our presence they merely tolerate because their government said so? Tourists probably go once and say ‘been that, done that’. Whackjobs go there over and over just to experience wonderland again and hopefully taste some things never found anywhere else.
Thank heavens I was living with a friend who lives just 1 station away from Tsukiji market, so taking an early morning trek there was not THAT BAD. Just a hint to anyone wishing to visit Tsukiji market…….think twice if you are visiting on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. I have not read this in guidebooks before, but the market is closed on these days. Do not ask me how I know………..
We went off to a shakey start at the Salon du Chocolat, with the goods elevators jammed up from every exhibitor scrambling to get their stuff from Isetan’s storage area in time for the 1630hrs press only ‘meet and greet’.
The downside of not being a French company meant that we had to join the rest of the ‘not so godly’ chocolate makers at the back of the line whilst the Henri Le Roux’, Fabrice Gillottes of this world get to to go first.
Its been 3 long years since I’ve come to Tokyo and for those 3 years. 3 long years of enduring the lingering desire in the deepest, darkest abyss of my stomach, home to sinister rumblings that no ordinary sushi restaurant outside of Tokyo can satisfy. This street will probably be your only clue to where this place is. For interests of MYSELF and out of sheer selfishness, the location of this place shall not be disclosed, and should you recognize it, please keep it yourself. The only clue you will get is that this is somewhere near the fish market