Friday, November 16, 2018

The End of Tsukiji

"Elegy of a Tsukiji Tour Guide" by Jacob Dean was just published in the online magazine Taste. The world-famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo closed last month. I've read about it often, but my trips to Tokyo have never been sufficiently leisurely for me to visit there: as this article explains, the market wasn't particularly tourist friendly despite being a very big tourist attraction. Dean writes:
"Now, it’s over. Tsukiji Market, as it was, no longer exists. It was closed on October 6 and demolition officially began soon after, to make way for the most pedestrian of eminent domain insults: a parking lot for visitors of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Yes, the outer market is still there, and you can still eat sushi and buy trinkets from the remaining tourist-friendly vendors. Certainly the neighborhood of Tsukiji (which the market was named after) remains, although it’s unclear how it will fare now that its main attraction is gone. And yes, a new market called Toyosu, in a different neighborhood, has replaced it. But Tsukiji is gone, and in a sad way, so is the magic."
A screen-shot of a photo from the article maybe gives a hint why the market didn't want random strangers wandering around in the sales and auctioning areas of the market:

As the photo indicates, the legendary market was best-known for the huge tuna, which sometimes sold at auction there in the millions of dollars. A lot of controversy exists about overfishing of huge tuna, which I discussed a bit in my very recent review of Kurlansky's book Salt (blog post from earlier this week here: Tuna and Salt). The article about the market caught my eye especially because I had just been thinking about it when reading and writing about tuna. Books and articles about this famous market have fascinated me for a long time; in particular, I've also read the book Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World by Theodore Bestor -- a classic study of the Tokyo fish market, which was published in 2004.

Taste -- the interesting online magazine where the Tsukiji article appeared -- is written "for people who love to cook at home and enjoy reading about approachable recipes, popular and emerging ingredients, and stories reported from the frontlines of today’s quickly moving food culture." I've been reading Taste often recently and find it very appealing. I was wondering how it was funded, as it doesn't seem to run any advertising, and found this line at the bottom of the pages:


Mae Travels said...

From Carol via Facebook: "I took a few visitors there when we lived in Tokyo. We had to get up very early in the morning, and it was a dangerous place. The floor was slippery, as vendors were constantly hosing it off, and we had to avoid forklifts racing around carrying 900-lb fish. It was a huge spectacle - a market that supplied fish to a city of 11 million every day."

Tina said...

You have very educational & interesting posts, I learn about parts of the globe where I’ve yet to travel. I saw in your comment at Beth Fish Reads that you’ll be in Paris soon. Have fun! Looking forward to your Parisian posts.

Jeanie said...

I know Rick has been there but I never made it. Pity -- I would have loved to see this!

Beth F said...

I bet it would have been something to see.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I got to go there a couple of times while on business trips to Tokyo, but it's been close to 20 years now. So interesting though and I was sad when I heard of it closing. (I like Taste too.)

Carole said...

I would love to visit Japan. cheers