Tsukiji market

Tsukiji market is bloody, messy, and despite being a tourist attraction it all feels rather organic.

I didn’t wake up early enough for the market’s famed tuna auction, but wandering around this fishy labyrinth I saw many of the hulking beasts being carved up for sale. It’s funny to think of fish being so large, hauled and handled just like (very expensive) livestock, and so tasty later on a plate.

Fishmongers go about their business as though there aren’t gaggles of tourists gawking and snapping away. A man shaves scales off a fish so furiously that even at a distance I take a step back and hope that no stray scales wind up on my clothes. Another man hacks up fish with gloveless hands stained crimson, the metallic tang of blood melding with the metal of his wedding ring.

Immediately after I snapped this photo, he slips the tip off his knife into three live squids, slicing across the space where their heads meet their tentacles. Then he tosses a gauzy cloth over their still-wriggling bodies and places the whole styrofoam box over ice for sale. Eventually they would stop moving.


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