People who recommend our tour,
reviews and photos

2. After the tighter restrictions from April, 2008


Photo by Connie Shin Cohn
It was truly my honor and pleasure to have been able to attend Mr. & Mrs. Cohn from San Francisco on our tour on May 15, 2008.
They both have professional careers in food and wine and with a real passion for their work. Not only I guided them, but they also guided me on the tour.

Connie Shin Cohn-san is a freelance wine writer and I asked her, "What wine is good to eat sashimi with?" She told me that white Burgundies would be good. I tried it about a week later and I thank her for her recommendation!

Ben Cohn-san worked for many years at the legendary Masa's restaurant in San Francisco and is currently the Chef de Cuisine at the following restaurant:
http://www.sprucesf.com/
I was quite amazed with his deep knowledge and strong curiosity towards fish and food.

Fast Shooter!


Reuben-san and Jason Ng-san took our tour on July 8th, 2008.

The record number of photographs taken on our tour was 380 before Jason Ng-san. But he broke the record and took 500! The following is the link to his comments and photos on our tour.


http://www.pbase.com/mr_jason/tsukiji

Link to Omar Jadwat's Photos!

Omar Jadwat-san took our tour on May 31st, 2008.
Some of his shots are slightly out of focus. But I still like them because they have an exciting composition of
the pictures. Some of Robert Capa's most famous shots were also slightly out of focus, weren't they?

http://picasaweb.google.com/jadwat/Tsukiji?authkey=kO_O3TVUDdY

Link to Rita's Photos!

Mr. and Mrs. Sakamoto have took our tour on November 25th, 2008.
They were very LUCKY people--this doesn't happen all the time--to have been able to watch the whole process of butchering a 200-kilogram tuna that was sold and delivered to a middleman stall right after a fresh-tuna auction.
Enjoy the great set of photos by Rita-san at the following site!
http://picasaweb.google.com/ritazayasu/Tsukiji?authkey=G8uW0I7YvRE
By Mike Lee
http://100five.com
Okay, you got to take a look at these photos. I selected some of my favorites but that is not enough.
Mike Lee-san took our tour in May 2008.
I think he is a genius in taking closeups and people's expressions.
You have to take a look at his series of photos of our tour at the following address:
http://100five.com/japan
The series of these photos all took place on our tour.
But it is only the eyes of a genius that could bring such variety and riches out of them.
The Seltzer/Yamamoto family took our tour on February 21st, 2009.
I truly want to thank them of the very kind and wonderful words they sent to us you could read below. I really appreciate them.
----------------------
Fish, fish, fish.............

My family took Naoto's tour in Feb 2009. We had to get up at 3am so we could begin the tour at 4am. Surprisingly, there were a lot of taxis already on the streets. If you're coming from the States, you might want to see the market soon after you arrive in Japan, as you will probably be waking up early anyway.

Be ready for some fast walking. Naoto guided us rapidly around the huge market so we could see as much of the action as possible -- and there is plenty of it. You will get close to everything interesting to watch and take pictures, but be careful not to get left behind. Naoto will show you things you would never see and understand on your own. The stories about the workers are true. There are forklifts running around everywhere and the drivers are more interested in getting where they're going than avoiding visitors. I was brushed aside by one forklift operator who didn't stop or beep. Be vigilant of what/who is around you. The floor is a little wet in places, so wear appropriate shoes. It is OK to take pictures at all places.

My favorite part of the tour was watching one middleman (wholesaler) win a big bluefin tuna at auction. After carting it back to his booth (still inside the market) we watched him and his apprentice son carve it up from very close, the whole process taking maybe 20 minutes. Naoto told us there is only 4% waste in the fish which is pretty remarkable.

Naoto is an exceptional guide who knows everything about the market, speaks impeccable English, and explains things thoroughly. He checks his watch constantly, adjusting the tour so you can see as much as possible. If you find Tsukiji as fascinating as we did, you can return on another day by yourself and watch those things that interest you most. There is no entrance fee and you will know the drill. Don't forget to stay out of the way since you are an outsider. All in all, the tour was well worth it and I recommend it highly for anyone who isn't otherwise busy at 3 am in Tokyo some morning.

--END --

Photo by Seltzer/Yamamoto
family

Link to the photo site of Alex Seltzer

Photo by Cynthia Leong
Cynthia Leong-san took our tour on April 2nd, 2009.
The tour was fully booked, and although a lot of unexpected things happened on that date, she got a very excited series of photos focused on, in my words, turret-carts, restrictions, swordfish, tuna and whale meat.

See more photos by Cynthia Leong
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cynthialeong/sets/72157616171606483/
Jody Leber-san from Atlanta took our tour on November 14, 2009 and gave us a thanks-mail with his very kind words. (Quote)...Thank you very much for the excellent tour and helping us locate a sushi bar that did not have an hour wait time. Your "inside guy" tour enabled us to see many areas and witness many things that would have been impossible to see by just doing a self tour. And since you start hours earlier than the other tours, I believe we also had the chance to learn a lot more about the fish market operation.
Diana Koh-san and Jerry Yap-san, Vera-san and Boonserh-san took our tour on November 28th, 2009. They came up to encounter a very rare scene that is mostly unidentified and seldom observed by tuna business-outsiders.
The following photos shot by Jerry Yap-san show the first half of what went on.
We were watching the carving of this 236-kilogram (520 lbs) tuna at a middleman store. It was the auction number 1 tuna (In terms of auction numbers, the smaller the numbers are, the better the fish is). The tuna was from a newcomer fishing boat from the tag that was hooked on the fish.
The tuna was carved in quarters and when the first quarter of the berry meat was cut off, a very silent bewilderment occurred among all of the workers of store. Then the young manager--the son of the owner of the store--started to regret a lot, but still smiling probably trying to cover his confusion. I felt that something wrong happened. Workers of other middleman stores started to gather to watch the scene. I asked one of them, "Did something happen?"
"Yes, yake," answered the worker.
The quartered belly meat was moved to a table for inspection. The entire surface of the large belly meat looked slightly dim and white in a sort of a cloudy manner, which was very different from the shiny red tuna meat you regularly see.
Finally, the manager, the successor to carry on this store, got into a really bad mood and started to get rid of the tourists. The tourists had been growing into a big crowd because perhaps, they also noticed that something irregular was going on. So, we had the leave the scene with the other tourists.

Yake means a 'burn' and happens when the tuna is not properly cooled down by ice after the catch.
Tuna, especially blue fin tuna, are fish that have a very high body temperature.
When tuna are fished by local fishermen mostly by fishing rods, the tuna battle fiercely, so their bodies get extremely hot. If the tuna isn't cooled down immediately, sometimes the heat cooks the meat and a yake occurs.
It is hard to detect if a tuna has a yake by prior-inspections. They are mostly found out when the tunas are carved.
Yake is not a seldom thing to happen. Yake is a big reason that makes the fresh tuna business a risky one, sometimes close to gambling. When there are several competitors for a tuna, they raise the price. If the middleman that bought the expensive tuna finds a yake, he loses a lot of money.

We felt sorry for the middleman but at the same time, it was a very extraordinary and interesting experience.

SUSHI!

SUSHI!

SUSHI!

Link to Jaime-san's photo site

Jaime-san took our tour on Dec. 6th, 2008.
http://www.kodakgallery.com/...

Photos by
Elizabeth Pittoni
Liz and Lucy-san took our tour on January 26, 2010.
I like Albert Le-san's photos because they describe well that the Tsukiji workers are working in the very dark hours of the day, better to be called midnight rather than morning.
Albert Le-san took our tour on April 10, 2010
Dr. Paula Fujiwara-san from the United States took our tour on January 25, 2011 and she sent us her very kind words about our tour. (Quote)...Dear Naoto-san, just returned from Tokyo yesterday afternoon.  I am writing to say how much I enjoyed my tour with you this week – it was really an insider’s look at Tsukiji, with me following your through all the nooks and crannies of the market, something I wanted to do for many years. I especially enjoyed watching up close the uni, oyster and fresh fish auctions and seeing the cutting of the tuna.  The variety of fish and seafood was absolutely amazing to me.  I will definitely recommend your tour to my other “foodie” friends.

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