Fresh Fish & Old Friends
Becca: Olly, if you lived in Tokyo, would you want to eat sushi breakfast at Tsukiji all the time?
Olly: Yes. I’d order tuna.
What are three details you remember about our morning at Tsukiji?
Massive. Wet. Lots of people chopping fish.
How would you describe the sushi chefs at Tsukiji?
Careful. Quiet. Busy.
Alex: When we went to that huge store called Tokyu Hands, what were some of the things you saw there?
Like rows of folder stacked up to the ceilings. Lots of pens. Like a quadrillion pens.
What was different about the swimming pool?
You had to wear a swimming cap. And no cannonballs allowed. Oh, and it was up in the sky. It’s so crazy that a pool can be up in the sky.
Becca: We met our friends who have lived in Tokyo for the past 17 years. Did their life seem different than your life in the United States?
They get to eat sushi for breakfast. They have seaweed all the time. They learn Japanese in school.
As the sun rose at 5:30am, we made our way to Tsukiji Fish Market. Oliver was so excited to eat fish for breakfast. We headed straight to the outer market where there are alleyways with narrow six seat restaurants serving sushi. We arrived to find long lines at all the foreigner-friendly places—people waiting up to five hours! Luckily, with a bit of exploring, we found a place that kindly seated us—it was perfect. No one spoke English and we weren’t rushed through the meal. Oliver went first for the salmon roe—quickly becoming a favorite here. As we finished the memorable meal with warm miso soup, we played our favorite game, “What would Lola eat here?” and thought perhaps we would have ordered her a bowl of white rice.
We started the sushi breakfast with a bowl of octopus.
Aji—a highlight from our last visit.
Knowing that Tsukiji has started to crack down on foreigners in the inner market, we milled about looking for our way in. Tsukiji is bustling with workers driving transports of freshly boxed fish, men pulling carts, trucks driving in every direction, and bicycles and motorcyles weaving around. As we were trying to stay out of the way and take this all in, a worker befriended us and asked Oliver if he wanted to stand in his transport (below).
We made it in to the inner market and walked around for the next hour taking it all in. Inspired, Oliver shot a whole roll of film.
Back on the subway. Headed to Shibuya.
Oliver wanted his photo with Hachiko—a famous dog from a book we love to read.
Shibuya crossing in the rain.
We stopped to draw in our sketchbook and watch the umbrellas of Shibuya crossing.
Olly loved drawing our morning at Tsukiji.
The first floor of seven floors of Tokyu Hands. The “pen floor”.
Rainy taxi ride back to the hotel.
A quick swim on the 45th floor. Strict cap policy here.
Visiting the Toppinos in Azabu-jūban. The last time we were here (ten years ago), Emme was 2 years old. Matthew (8) and Oliver loved playing Legos together and eating nori.
Cooking our own meat at Hachi Hachi. Matthew taught Oliver how to count to ten in Japanese.
Nicholas, Emme, Matthew & Oliver
Here are Emme & Nick from when we visited in 2005. Same ages as Olly & Lola now.
Milk Cow for honey ice cream. A Toppino favorite.
Rainy taxi ride—Oliver was snoring by the time we made it back to the hotel.