Wednesday, March 31

Korea-Japan, Day Nine: Fish Markets and Hakone

Although it probably won't make the top of the list of many people coming to Tokyo, the fish market at Tsukiji was one of the best things we visited during our stay here, even if it meant having to leave the hotel at an incredible 5am.

Visiting the market itself was cool, but what were really awesome were the tuna auctions. They end at 6:30am (hence the early start), but were totally worth watching. Just picture how you think frantic Japanese sellers and buyers would act and you'll probably have a good idea - the whole thing was a brilliant caricature of Japanese culture, which is amazing considering the vast sums involved in the auction itself. After wondering around the market itself (there's nothing like dodging the splashing of a flying fish while checking out the live eel and crabs) we had some sushimi in the market itself, as fresh as fish can get.

After a brief stop at the hotel I headed off alone to Hakone in search of Mount Fuji. The weather wasn't on my side and I didn't see anything but the trip was a decent one consisting of a circuit of Hakone via many different means including a brilliant cablecar, various trains and a boat across the lake. I also spent a good couple of hours in the Hakone Open Air Museum, a wonderfully interesting yet massively out of place exhibition of modern art. For some strange reason that was the only place where I felt kind of lonely.

Hakone is two hours away from Tokyo. I slept the way there but latched on to a couple of Americans on the way back which passed the time pretty well. I headed straight back to Shibuya to meet my friends for food (I had grown weary of local food; MacDonald's had never tasted so good). We wondered around a bit, checking out the talent at Shibuya 109. I've concluded that hime girls are awesome and that Shibuya is at the top of my list when it comes to people watching. I regret not spending the time to explore the area more actually, but for now time happens to be up.

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