Back in Tokyo - Sumo, plastic food & fish markets
Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
21Trip End Jan 29, 2010
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First, we went to Ryogoku see some sumo wrestling. While we were in Hakuba, Eric and Kayoko from Wadano lodge explained some of the rules and rituals of sumo. We watched quite a few bouts together in the afternoon after skiing and got to know some of the great wrestlers including Asashōryū (a very entertaining guy but he's since been forced to retire for misbehaving outside the ring!), Hakuho (probably the best of the sumo wrestlers at the time) and Baruto (a cool Estonian guy initially got our attention by beating Hakuho!). Needless to say, it was amazing to seem them all in person!
We also got some shopping done. Perhaps most importantly, we bought fake food! I now have a fake beer and a plate of fake dumplings at work (which continually perplex people, who occasionally try to eat them)
Next, we checked out the Tsukiji fish markets to see the impressive spectacle of the tuna auctions. The tuna were absolutely enormous and were constantly being poked at by buyers wielding what looked to us like ice-picks! We were also interested to see that the tuna arrived frozen. We had never really thought about it much but had assumed that the Japanese would insist on them arriving fresh. Needless to say, the markets also featured a huge array of other seafood, mostly live. I really wish you could get live prawns in Australia; they taste so much better.
Other highlights of our last days in Tokyo included the beautiful imperial gardens, a shrine (the Yasukuni shrine) that was dangerously supportive of some of the most dubious actions of Japan during World War 2 and (oddly) a rabbit being walked on a leash.