Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My 40th Birthday in the World's Largest City

Happy Birthday to me! We decided to head to Japan for this year's holiday trip and I wanted to have my big birthday in its big city. The world's largest city with over 35 million people in the greater Tokyo area. Isn't that amazing? I can't even wrap my head around that number!

Dayne and I met Forest in the Narita airport and took the airport express into Tokyo, which took about an hour. We had rented an apartment right by the Nishi-Ogikubo train stop. It was very small but perfectly outfitted for the 3 of us and 30 seconds from the train station. After a very long lesson in all the different types of recylcing we were expected to adhear to from our property manager (glass, combustable, non combustable, food, etc) we walked over to the grocery store for martini makings and snacks. It was late and we were all exhausted after a full day of traveling so we decided to "do it at home" so we could get up early and head to the Tsukiji Fish Market.

6am the next morning I woke up Dayne and Forest eager to take advantage of us being out of wack with the time change to head to the fish market. I was greeted with choruses of "are you kidding me? what the hell time is it?!" but it was my birthday so they had to let me have my way!

The market was crazy even at 7:00am. And dangerous with small fork lifts buzzing everywhere, not caring if you were in their way or not. Huge tuna frozen solid were being broken down and sold off. So many different varieties of shellfish- most we'd never seen before- were on display as were live fish, dead fish, dried fish, eels, squids, monk fish liver and all other matters of things that come from the sea. The market is huge and every square feet is bustling.



After dogging forklifts for a while we decided it was time for breakfast. With the help of a local we found the line for the best sushi in Tokyo- Sushi Dei. It was 8:30 and the line was 2+ hours long. We took turns exploring the outer market shops, bringing back food for each other to try and holding the place in line.



After 2 hours we were finally in the short line near the front door and windows. Everyone was peeking into the very small restaurant, with just 11 seats, trying to figure out when their seat would be available. Finally the woman host asked us to choose either the 7 piece or 11 piece sushi menu and the next thing you knew we were sitting on impossibly small stools and all the staff was yelling "irasshaimass!!!" It was 10:30am.



We ordered beers and the sushi started coming. 1st up the most impossibly marbled fatty tuna I've ever seen. Then came sea bream, octopus salad of sorts, mackerel, sea urchin, egg, miso soup, maguro, LIVE surf clam, flounder, weird mushy small shrimp, maki, horse mackerel (YUM), sea eel (couldn't do it after Dayne and Forest's reactions) and finally a call your own piece. I was so stuffed that the only thing I knew I could make room for was that amazing fatty tuna. Forest asked the chef to give her his favorite, now how can that be safe? Forest got COD SPERM SAC! She said it was pretty good and announced to all that it was very creamy! LOL!

We tried to walk off our breakfast by walking around the beautiful Ginza area until we found a liquor store that Jim from Vessel told us about. Finally home to take a nap and rest up for the big birthday dinner- Tokyo style!