Day 4 in Japan: Tsukiji Fish Market, Hama-rikyu Gardens, and Science Museum

Today we had a day packed full of some of Tokyo’s best fish, gardens, and science! Quite the fun combination.

  • * We started out early going to the the Tsukiji fish market (in the Ginza district). There’s a seafood auction before 5AM, but we didn’t go that early. Getting there around 8AM, we saw plenty of the hustle and bustle of vendors selling the fish they just bought and prepared for breakfast. It was really amazing. However, we made the mistake of not knowing exactly where the fish market was and ended up going to the loading docks and nearly getting run down by endless zooming little carts (this is about the first 9 pictures — the very first one was the first gas station we’ve seen here, with the gas pumps hanging up). Once we figured out where all the vendor stands were, we had a great time trying different tasty seafood snacks from different stands, often not knowing exactly what we were eating. A lot of stands also sold non-edible imported wares, most likely fresh from China. We highly recommend the fish markets — it was great, adventurous fun!
  • * After we had our fill of the fish market, we headed towards the peaceful Hama-rikyu gardens, just a 15 minute walk from the market (still mostly in the Ginza district). (Along the way we saw a store owned by Veeco, a micro-manufacturing company — Andrew thought Teisha’s dad would get a kick out of seeing it.) The gardens are actually built on reclaimed land — it was built as a park for the Shogun family in the 1600s, filling in the harbor to create it. Amazingly it has a large pond that is filled with water from the ocean and actually has tides and contains many large schools of little fish and other marine life. In the middle of the pond was a tea house we went to and had a wonderful experience going through a tea ceremony in the traditional Japanese fashion — they gave us a cheat sheet in English so we knew the proper way to do it.
  • * As a side note, we took a picture of a common Japanese toilet in both women’s and men’s restrooms — it’s basically a trough in the ground. Luckily they have normal European/American-style toilets most places as well.
  • * We then took a train to Odaiba, which is another district of Tokyo. It was a lot of fun taking the train as we got to see a lot of Tokyo from above, whereas usually we’re traveling below in the subways and do not get to see much. Like the gardens, it was also created on reclaimed land that was once under water. In Odaiba we went to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and were blown away. The Museum was bustling with several school trips, both middle school and high school, and I can tell you this: the Japanese are going to be the innovators of the next century. The museum was absolutely better than any science museum I’ve ever been to in the states. The exhibits spanned a huge range of topics, were hands-on and fun, but most importantly– didn’t skimp on the details.
    I mean, there are exhibits on scanning electron microscopy where you use a real microscope to look at micro-machined devices, and they explain the exact process involved. Or the life-sciences section on Genes and Development, where you can mutate a Drosophilia, learning real gene names and concepts (homeobox genes, signal gradients, etc). Nothing is dumbed-down for the kids, and you can see them absorbing it all. I’d be ten-times more intelligent if I grew up with exhibits like this, rather than stupid debate about whether *sigh* evolution is real. America is in trouble.
    One other nice thing at the museum: you can see cultural biases in full swing. For example, the exhibit on the light bulb emphasized the teamwork at Menlo Park, and how Thomas Edison needed a full staff working together– in contrast to in America, where kids learn that Edison invented the light bulb, and maybe later in high school learn otherwise.
  • * We then went back to Akihabara, since we’ve been loving it. It was quite an adventure– we were looking for a specific electronic part for Teisha’s Dad, so we spent a hour or two ranging through the maze of electronics stores, testing my ability to ask them if they had the part and taking directions. We also did more claw machines and tasty food!
  • * Lastly, we had a chance to have dinner with our friend Katherine, who remarkably happened to be in Tokyo for a collaboration at the same time as our honeymoon. It was fun, if strange, to have a conversation in English, and we got to eat at a quaint little restaurant that we had found earlier. And what a trip, seeing friends halfway around the world!


One Response to “Day 4 in Japan: Tsukiji Fish Market, Hama-rikyu Gardens, and Science Museum”

[…] next 17 pictures are of the Tsukiji fish market. (We went here once before on day 4.) Andrew had the best ramen he’d ever had at a shop in the market (though no fish in his […]

Paradoxdruid’s Rants » Blog Archive » Day 14 of Japan: Tsukiji and Harajuku - June 4th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

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