Tag Archives: tsukiji

Japan in January

1 Mar

Japan is beautiful in January … and every other month!

Videos of Tokyo

3 Oct

I have a YouTube page of short videos I’ve taken around Tokyo.
But I haven’t uploaded a new video in awhile. Maybe I’ll add a new one sometime soon.
(Click here to visit my “Tokyo Five YouTube page”).

And here’s a post I wrote with a few nice videos made by the Japanese government to promote tourism to Japan.

But I have been getting emails recently from a visitor to my site, Akiharu Hioki, about excellent videos he’s made of scenes in Tokyo.

His YouTube page only has two videos so far but they’re very good.
Here are his two videos…

This one’s at the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world:

And click here to read a post I wrote about unruly visitors to the Tsukiji Fish Market.

His other video is of the Jindaiji Shrine in Tokyo:

Visitors to Tsukiji Fish Market…

11 May

築地市場 (Tsukiji Fish Market) in Tsukiji, Tokyo is the world’s busiest fish market.

Early in the morning, the workers in the market are quickly running around busy getting the fresh catch from the fishing vessels to the auction in the back of the market.

The seafood needs to get from the ocean to the restaurants and stores quickly while it’s fresh. So, the market is full of staff moving around quickly on foot and carts.

It’s a place of business, not a tourist attraction.
The people there are workers doing their job…not putting on a show.

But, the Tsukiji Fish Market has become a popular destination for foreign visitors to Tokyo.
Especially the early morning fish auction.

Even many of the famous celebrities who have visited Tokyo visited Tsukiji Market.

Paris Hilton at Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market

Foreign tourists didn’t used to pose a problem…before the internet when many people didn’t know about this market. Back then there were relatively few people checking out the market and the auction…so the workers didn’t mind them coming to look, taking a photo or two and going for “sushi breakfast” after the auction at one of the nearby 24-hour sushi restaurants that serve extremely fresh sashimi.

I have visited the market and auction a couple times as a “tour guide” to visitors to Tokyo.

But now, the internet has made this market very well-known outside of Japan and many visitors to Tokyo make plans to see it.
The problem is, though, the embarrassing behavior of a growing number of tourists at the market.
Twice so far, the market has set temporary bans to foreign visitors due to rude behavior such as arriving in a dangerous condition (ie: intoxicated, wearing high heels, bringing babies).
As I mentioned above, Tsukiji Market isn’t a tourist attraction…it’s a busy work site. No place for drunk people, high heels or babies.

Also, a number of tourists smoke cigarettes near the seafood…and some have even taking liberties such handling the fish.

The market was most recently closed to visitors just last month. Many of the workers would like it to stay that way…but the Japanese government wants more tourists from overseas to visit Japan, so they can’t keep the market off-limits to visitors indefinitely since it’s so popular.

So the ban to visitors was lifted yesterday…but with a few new regulations.
Now, anyone who wants to see the fish auction must check in with the information desk and be given a special green vest.
Only two groups of 70 people each will be permitted to enter the auction area each day. And they must stay with a roped-off area.
Also, there are many signs up in different languages that says things such as “No Flash Photography“, “No Smoking” and “No Touching The Fish Or Seafood“.

Yesterday at Tsukiji Fish Market.

Yesterday was the first day that visitors were re-allowed into the market with the new rules…but already every rule was broken at least once!
Someone went into the auction without a green vest, some people walked past the ropes, many people took photos with flash, some people touched the fish and some people were caught smoking.

I know that most people behave appropriately when they visit another country…but the ones that don’t embarrass the rest of us!

August 15

15 Aug

Today is August 15. 終戦記念日 (Anniversary of the War’s End) in Japan.
In America and other Western countries it’s called “V-J Day” (Victory over Japan Day) and celebrated on August 14 (due to the time difference).
Anyways, on August 15, 1945 (Japan Time) Japan surrendered and the World War 2 ended.

So, every year on August 15, many people go to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) in Tokyo to pay respects to those who died in the war. Among these people are numerous Japanese politicians (including, usually, the Prime Minister of Japan)…this angers Japan’s neighboring countries, because among the war dead enshrined at Yasukuni are the military officers that were found guilty of war crimes by the war trials held in Tokyo by America shortly after the war.

Because Japan colonized much of Asia before and during WW2, and committed war atrocities in those countries. They protest the annual visits to the shrine by the Prime Minister of Japan.

Today, former-Prime Minister Koizumi visited the shrine, as he did when he was the Prime Minister. But the current Prime Minister (Fukuda) didn’t want to upset Japan’s neighbors, so he didn’t go.

It’s a tricky decision for a Prime Minister to make whether to visit Yasukuni on August 15th or not. If he goes, Korea, China and other countries will see it as Japan “glorifying their war-time past” and strongly protest. But if the Prime Minister doesn’t go (as P.M. Fukuda did), then the descendants of those who died fighting for Japan will feel offended.

Speaking of the descendants, Hideki Tojo who was the Prime Minister of Japan during World War 2 was found guilty of war crimes by the war trials held in Tokyo by America shortly after the war and executed.
His grand-daughter, Yuko Tojo believes her grandfather was innocent and the trial was unfair. She also believes that Japan was only defending itself and Asia in general during WW2.
She visits Yasukuni Shrine every year on August 15 and gives a speech to like-minded listeners.

I saw her when I visited 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) on August 15th a few years ago.

I put this post up today not to try to get angry, political responses. I hope noone posts any comments that are rude or insulting toward any nationality.

I’m not saying that the grand-daughter of former Prime Minister Tojo is wrong or right.

There are some right-wing extremists who say shocking things about Japan and other countries (especially on occasions such as V-J Day), but most Japanese people admit that Japan did terrible things during the war (as did other countries) and they want the world to just be a peaceful place.
War is no good. But today’s Japan is quite different from the Japan of over sixty years ago.

Let’s all get along.


Anyways, let’s change the subject.
Are you watching the 北京オリンピック (Beijing Olympics)?

Right now, China has the most medals.

The top seven countries (as of 2008/8/15):

  1. China – 22 gold medals (35 total)
  2. USA – 13 gold medals (40 total)
  3. Germany – 8 gold medals (13 total)
  4. Korea – 6 gold medals (16 total)
  5. Italy – 6 gold medals (13 total)
  6. Australia – 5 gold medals (18 total)
  7. Japan – 5 gold medals (11 total)

You can see the most up-to-date listing (and all countries) at the Official Beijing Olympic Website. (Click here for the Olympics’ medals page.)

Have you seen the logo for the 北京オリンピック (Beijing Olympics)?

The red mark at the top of the logo is a 印鑑 (name stamp) that is used in lieu of a signature in China and Japan. The white mark inside looks like a man running…but it’s also the second 漢字 (Chinese / Japanese character) in the name of the city 北京 (Beijing (or Pekin, as it’s still called in Japan)).

The character is 「京」 (can your computer show it?) and, if manipulated, resembles a person running…as in the logo above. But I guess only people familiar with the Chinese or Japanese writing system can see the meaning in the logo.

By the way, the name of the Chinese capital, 北京 (Beijing (or Pekin, as it’s still called in Japan)), translates to “Northern Capital“. And the capital of Japan (where I live), 東京 (Tokyo), translates to “Eastern Capital“.

The written characters are often the same in China and Japan…but the pronunciation is usually quite different.

Also, the 東京マラソン (Tokyo Marathon) logo is the character for “big” (looks like: 「大」) arranged to look like a man running also.

Here’s the Tokyo Marathon 2007 logo (it’s the same one every year):


Here’s another slideshow of some photos I’ve taken at various times and places around Tokyo:

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