June has been and gone, so time for a bit of an update. Although we have been quite busy organising our upcoming trip we have had a bit of time to get out and about.
Earlier in the month we moved out of our apartment. It is now just the two of us in a little studio-style furnished apartment that really isn't suitable for two adults! Although we do not have as much space, we are happy to have a place we can call our own, and not share any longer. We now feel like we have had a bit of the authentic Japanese living experience!
Our little place
Oh and yes if you are wondering, that is a single bed! We have to pull out a futon each night and alternate nights on the good bed!
We also decided to cross another item off our list of things to do in Tokyo and planned a trip to the famous Tsukiji fish markets. We wanted to have the "proper" experience, which means getting up very early in the morning and making the trip on the first train. From Oimachi that is 4:30am! We decided that it was more likely for us to stay up until that time rather than try to wake up when the clock reads such a small number. Although a miserable rainy morning, we got ourselves out and on our way to the station. We found it interesting to try and pick from those who were also awake at such an unnatural hour who had been out all night, and who was just getting up for the day! The 3 salarymen sleeping at the entrance of the station were a dead giveaway...so were the salarymen on the platform with un-tucked shirts and loosened or missing ties. However the 2 men sitting opposite us on the train drinking beer and hi-balls out of a can at a rapid rate could have gone either way. We think though, that they were having breakfast.
Anyway, we arrived at Tsukiji at approximately 5:00am after having a few beers of our own (but careful not to have too many as we did not want to be one of the cliched drunken tourists stumbling about). We already knew that the tuna auction was closed to the public, but were hoping to get a peak inside before or after the action began. Unfortunately for us, the lead up was more exciting than the event. It is safe to say we were underwhelmed. It seems the constant flow of tourists has taken the shine off what must have been a pretty exciting experience. We wandered around looking at a lot of dead fish but felt like we were in the way and unwelcome. We were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the famous tuna floor after the auction and it was impressive, however we were moved on very quickly.
The highlight for us however was sushi, beer and shochu at 6 in the morning. We were one of the first customers in a restaurant that quickly became packed. As we sat at the counter, we chatted to the friendly sushi chef who happened to also live in Oimachi! We had a great time, and would recommend skipping the display of dead fish and head straight for the food...oh and we also tried whale! (Whilst in Rome!)
The only other noteworthy event for June was another cooking class that was put on by the local friendship society. This time the cuisine was Mexican! Although the food wasn't as impressive as last time (or spicy enough for our palettes'), we still had fun.
The others in our group, we just finished.