The famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is closing its inner sanctum to tourists after deciding that too many ill-behaved visitors were preventing them from actually conducting the business that the market is there to run. Right now it is just a one month trial, but my guess is that it will be extended permanently. The Japanese version of the headline is “Bad mannered foreigners force ban” focusing on the fact that tourists were poking the fish and taking flash photos, which is distracting to the buyers.
On the plus side, the rest of the retail market around the auction house – including all the restaurants where the sushi is only ~6 hours dead – is still open to the public. But the auction part isn’t any more. This was a key component of our planned trip to Japan earlier this year. The trip was scrapped so it looks like I missed this one. Bummer.
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Tsukiji was one of the highlights of my trip to Japan, so I’m sorry to see it go. We followed a tuna back from the auction, watched him cut it with a three foot long sword, then motion to us to come over as he scooped some tuna with a spoon from the backbone, put it in our hands then poured some soy sauce over the tuna before we ate it. Needless to say, sushi anywhere else in the world hasn’t lived up to that experience.
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