We felt as if we were about to be run over any second by all the little flatbed carts whizzing by, and we did our best not to get fish guts on us as we navigated through the narrow lanes between vats, baskets, tanks and bins displaying the days’ catch. We watched men hack enormous fish into steaks and fillets. We passed vats of huge pink tentacled octopi, bins of slimy grey and white squid, and buckets of eels in bloody water.
Only the biggest pieces of fish were frozen (portions that looked about 50 lbs each, and were clearly part of some HUGE fish), everything else looked incredibly fresh. We were surrounded by acres of seafood and yet there was no fishy smell.
We spent the rest of our few days in Tokyo exploring some gardens (sadly, mostly brown and in hibernation for the winter), visiting the Tokyo National Museum, snapping photos of temples, and trying noodles at street food stalls (Mohit’s favorite pastime no matter which country we’re in).
In the end though, as we huddled in a smoky bar to warm up over beers (our one complaint- the bars were invariably choked with a haze of cigarette smoke, which made us realize how much we’ve come to take the smoking ban at home for granted), we contemplated the expense of our original plan to stay in Japan for three more days and travel to Kyoto. We agreed that we weren’t having as much fun in Japan as we would have liked to, partly because of the cold weather, and mostly because we couldn‘t really afford to enjoy all that Japan has to offer on our limited traveler’s budget (nor did we have the wardrobe to get into the nicer places we‘d have otherwise enjoyed).
So we decided to leave Japan a few days early and head to warmer days in Bali. Someday, maybe we’ll be back, but next time we’ll plan to bring suitcases of money and I’ll pack my high heels.