Monday, June 2, 2008

Tsukiji & Ginza

Yesterday four housemates and I went out for "lunch" in Tsukiji. I say "lunch" because we waited so long for everyone to wake up and get ready we left at 5pm. I hadn't eaten anything so I was really ready for some food.

I'd never been to Tsujiki (築地) Fish Market so I was very interested to see it. The actual market was closed because it operates mainly in the morning but the restaurants were all open and ready.

On the way from the subway station we passed Hongan-ji Temple (本願寺). It's obviously a Buddhist temple, and looked very Indian in its style. Because we were all so hungry we didn't go in but it was interesting to see it from the outside.

As we crossed the road, a man approached us with leaflets for a sushi place called Sushizanmai, which I'd never heard of, but apparently it's quite famous.

We went up to the third floor, admist loud, energetic cries of 'Irasshaimaseee!' The atmosphere was very fun and lively. We had to put our shoes in lockers, taking a wooden board out of the door, which then locked it. It was interesting that a piece of wood acted perfectly as a key.

We looked at the menu, and ticked off what we wanted on a piece of paper, which was then collected by a waiter.

It took about 10 minutes to arrive, but it felt like much longer because our stomachs were growling away.

All the sushi we ordered came on a lacquered wooden board, but there was no time to appreciate the aesthetics. It was food time!

We ordered several helpings of different types of sushi, and it came to Y1,800 for me including a drink. I was full at the end of it, so that was great.

After we'd eaten our fill, we decided to walk to Ginza, which was only about 1km away. We passed loads of nice-looking restaurants, including this one.

We checked the menu outside and there was a スペシャルディナーコース (Special Dinner Course) that cost Y24,000 (£120)! One of my housemates said that when she becomes rich and famous, she'll treat us to a meal there. I'll hold her to that.
Once we were in Ginza (銀座), we went into a couple of shops and browsed. I could have been back in Birmingham in the Bull Ring because everything was the same!

I saw a street performer, perhaps the first I've seen in Japan. He was Western, doing a 'Living Statue' act. If someone gave him money, he would bow and kiss their hand. That put us off giving him any money, but Japanese women were crowding round.

Two of my housemates had never seen Ginza Yon-choume (銀座四丁目), which is a famous intersection in the centre of Ginza. It's the second busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. So we went there next.

Just past Yon-choume, a housemate grabbed my arm and pointed to a man who had just walked by. She told me that he's a famous Japanese actor. Of course, I had no idea who he was. I could have walked past dozens of celebrities and not had a clue.
Then we were hungry again! We walked for a long time, and realised we all fancied cake. We went to Fujiya, a restaurant two floors above a cafe where my family and I nearly ate a couple of months ago.
The cake looked really delicious, so we all ordered something. It took a long time to arrive, but that gave us time to chat and have a good time. We had a great view from our window too.
If you want to go to Fujiya, which I recommend, then it's on Sukiyabashi (数寄屋橋) crossing, Ginza.
Mmm, lovely...

This is the one I had, and it was sooo good.

This is the before shot.

And five minutes later...

Afterwards, we went home at about 10pm and everyone said what a good time they had. The housemate who has been here for the longest time said that this group of people was her favourite, and she never went out with previous housemates. That made us feel good.

One of my housemates is studying extremely hard for a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam in early August, and I'm helping him, so that evening was spent working on pronunciation. Some of the words are so difficult! If I know them, I never use them!

It's nice to go out, because lots of my time is spent indoors, either teaching or studying, so it's lots of fun to be with people having a good time. And I should cherish the times I can be outside and comfortable! Now that rainy season and summer are nearly upon us, I need to make the most of it!


Titichu said...

Hello Miles!
Nice pictures you've got here! I'm still drooling from the "parfait" and the cake ones...
I've never had the chance (or maybe the courage to wake up at 5am) to go to the fish market yet, but I'll be sure to go next time.
I hope you're having a great time.
Take care.

monica_wu said...

It was really happy Sunday.
I also write this day in the diary.

See you!

Skuzby said...

i love the bull ring

i want to eat sushi

Jennifer said...

Can you believe rainy season started even earlier than NHK said it would- apparently the Japan Meteorological people don't post "official tsuyu-iri" dates any more, but the TV stations and newspapers etc are all giving their opinions, and the consensus seems to be that it started on Monday.

So cold as well, ridiculous for this time of year. My parents are arriving for a visit this Friday, so I hope it warms up a bit for them- I was telling them they would be sweating! It was good to read the info about the sushi place near Tsukiji and see the picture of Honganji- I have actually never been to Tsukiji because I hate the smell/ taste of fish, but I will go for the sake of my parents (my Dad is a keen fisherman so is very interested). Will definitely have a look at the sushi restaurant you mentioned as the price seems reasonable- do you think they have anything I can eat? (^-^;)

The cake also looks oishii, might have to take my parents to Fujiya too- I used to work in Ginza in my Gaba days (yep, I'm a veteran, but it was several years ago) but didn't really go to any restaurants there, we usually hit the 300 yen bar after work- wonder if it's still there?

Miles said...

Hi Jennifer,

There were some non-fish items on the menu. Not a lot, but some.

It is so cold isn't it! I'm not complaining though, better cold than hot. People are still complaining about the humidity though, and I think "What humidity?" It's just damp, and humidity is only uncomfortable if it's hot.

While we were wandering round Ginza we passed the 300-yen bar, so yes, it is still there!

I hope you have a great time with your parents!!


Titichu said...

Hhahaha Miles, the humidity you're talking about reminds me of my time in Edinburgh ^_^.
By the way, Paris also has a freaky weird weather at the was really hot and sunny three weeks ago and since then we nearly have to get our coat back on cause it's getting really freezing outside...AAahhh bring on global warming ! ;) Just kidding.

Jennifer said...

My parents have just left- I wanted to take them to revolving sushi so we went to the kaitenzushi Tsukiji branch of Sushi Zanmai and it was great! I like anago as it's cooked (interesting to see the chef "cook" it with a kind of blowtorch), and you were right, there were non-fishy things like okra norimaki, salada maki, kappa maki etc- probably a similar menu to the branch you went to. Thanks for the recommendation!
Getting warmer here now, but still we haven't felt the full force of the usual mugginess. Come July though I have no doubt we will!

Miles said...

Hi Jennifer!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the sushi in Tsukiji, glad my recommendation pulled through.

I'm really surprised by how dry rainy season is at the moment, and it's not so uncomfortable now. But yes, I'm sure that it will hit us pretty soon!

Take care, and thanks for all your comments.