I can still remember how my mother always leave me in front of the wet market entrance every time she buys our food supplies. I don’t really know exactly the reason why she did it, maybe because she didn’t want me to go inside while carrying all the school stuff. I was in kindergarten then. She used to pick me up from school after her work.
That was ages ago. As I grew up, I enjoyed going to the market. I and my brother would often volunteer to wake up early, head to the market instead of our parents. Such memories flashed back after I, together with my friends here in Tokyo, went to Tsukiji Market last Saturday. Our mini-photo walk started from 2230H at Yurakucho at ended around 1130H at Tsukiji Market. That’s how crazy we were. We arrived in Tsukiji around 4 am and was greeted by an announcement that tuna auction is not yet opened to the public since the March 11 earthquake. Tuna auction usually attracts hundreds of foreigners and locals. And with that we have to wait for five more hours before we can go inside the market. But it was getting busy already.
I was very sleepy but I still managed to shoot. I was sleep shooting and sleep walking most of the time. The place was getting busier and busier by each second. Lots of people are coming in and to our surprise, there was already long queue in one of the sushi bars. Mind you, it was still 5 am. We were hungry but we didn’t fall in line. Instead, we went to a nearby café for our breakfast. And then it was 9 o’clock, time to wander around the market. Geared-up with our cameras and lenses, we aimed on every subject worth capturing. I was trigger happy. But later on, I become more interested on what’s happening around. From the Harry-potterish improvised vehicles to the way customers negotiate to seller to how everything was arranged that I forgot to click my shutter.
whirlwind of people
throws uncomfortable stare
What impresses me the most was how they slice the tuna. Just by looking at it, an oriental feeling can envelope you right away. The movement of the butcher, the knives are in perfect harmony. I was in awe. On the store walls you can also see news articles, photos and accomplishments of the shop. How I wish the tuna auction was open to public that time. It would have been more awesome. A few days later, a news article came out that says Tsukiji Market is open to public again. However, its quality control is too strict that some parts of the fish are easily considered as waste right away. Here's my friend Rad's entry.
It was a long yet a very enriching day for me. Aside from another glimpse of market life, my friends taught me on how to be confident in asking strangers for their photos. Some people are not comfortable to be photographed so it’s better to get their nods before shooting to avoid trouble. Would that mean I will taking less from behind shots from here on? I don’t know. The photo below sums up this experience. A hard day ends with a reward.
Would I do this kind of photowalk again? Definitely whether I could get any sleep or none at all.