Tsukiji Fish Market MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   A rare stillness blankets the city of Tokyo, Japan. A clock tower, its faceilluminated, reads four o'clock. It is an hour of the morning that most wouldconsider odd to be roaming the streets, but it is at this time that tourists,like my mom and me, have the opportunity to experience the Tsukiji Fish Market.Not only does the market allow for an encounter with remarkably sized fish, italso unveils the often overlooked portion of Japanese business that takes placeonly before sunrise.

Our trip to the fish market begins with a short rideon the Tokyo subway. The subway station, its white tile floor free from the dirtand dust that accumulates throughout a day, is occupied only by those heading towork at this early hour. The sound of footsteps, drowned out during the day,slices through the silence with startling sharpness.

A slight rumblevibrates throughout the floors and walls as a train approaches. Its headlightsblind us as it whizzes by. With a screech, it slows and stops, gracefullywelcoming its first passengers with a slight whoosh of its many doors.

Theride is brief, and almost immediately after we board, a recorded voice in bothEnglish and Japanese announces our arrival into the city.

A short trek upa steep stairway leads to the awakening streets. The sound of cars and busesfills the air, accompanied by the rapid chatter of store owners. There's a faintaroma of noodles as the surrounding restaurants ready for yet another day ofbusiness. Clouds of steam stream from ovens and warm the air and those passingby.

Approaching the fish market, the atmosphere becomes more chaotic andsomewhat dangerous. The distinct odor of fish overwhelms the air, inducingqueasiness. Men wearing rubber boots and blue jumpsuits fill the streets and pushtheir way toward the sickening odor.

Within a grouping of crudely builtstalls, the fish and seafood are visible. Tuna up to five feet long are arrangedin long rows. On wooden tables sit mounds of octopus, fish and dead eels, theirskin discarded on the floor as their meat awaits sale. They are intimidating yetentrancing.

It is around these tables that buyers mill with yen grippedin their chapped hands. Their eyes squint as they ponder their purchases. It isthis hurried movement of the public that causes the atmosphere to become chaotic,yet inexplicably orderly.

As the sun brightens, the selling dies down. Theearly-morning crowds begin to empty, replaced by businessmen and women.

This excursion revealed insight into a world that many never experience.I was a part of a unique and indescribable transformation. It is a transformationthat is only truly understood by those willing to wake up early enough toexperience it for themselves.

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By Matthew A.,
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Copyright 2006 by Teen Ink, The 21st Century and The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thispublication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system ortransmitted in any form or by any means,
without the writtenpermission of the publisher: The Young Authors Foundation, Inc.

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