Forth time to Japan in less than a year. Jet lag hits me hard this time. Usually I deny it's incapacitating grip but instead I just give in and rest my back and indulge in being horizontal. I could care less what the time is when I sleep or rise. Exhaustion from my marathon run at home during the tour break sets in. Nap after nap, computing at all hours and the 24 hour local quick market has fishy rice balls and water that sustain my hunger. A full night and day and night and day before a midnight load-in forces some reality into my mix. At some point while living this bleary timeless state the phone rings and it could be 6am or pm and it makes no difference.
"Lobby call in 3 minutes, the van is already here, we are headed to the fish market, hurry up" Lampi Scott's voice, I am pretty sure, is coming from the phone. Well, it's all news to me and I was out the door before I even bothered to ponder where or why I was going. The fish market we did, shopping with Wayno the Chef, in the seafood equivalent of New York's Wall Street. Passing through the gates, we are informed that we have entered a no-man's land where city laws no longer apply. The police don't enter except to haul out the occasional body from a miss step off off a high place or other questionable demise. The fish mongers rule this land and whatever you do, don't get run over by a cart.
Turns out there are two types of carts, old and new and one type gives you a bigger owie than the other when failing to move from it's path, though it is tough to figure out which is which. The old one was born in centuries past while the new one is nothing like anything I have ever seen. A rotating turret with a motor inside and a steering wheel and thinner round wheel brake on top. The powered front wheel can turn so sharp that it can nearly go backwards and turns inside less than its own length.
Isle after isle of any and every species of ocean life, now food, endlessly fills this massive warehouse and most surprising is what is not seen, the smell of fish and that fact that it is practically non existent. Amazingly, barely hint of scent of the fish as far as the eye can see, all perfectly iced or dry iced
and messes scrubbed clean into the constant flow of fresh water steams disappearing into rough gutters and away.
The king of fish here is the tuna. Massive multi hundred pound swimmers flash frozen on the boats to what I am told is the optimum 60 degrees below zero storing temperature. Earlier than the 6:30 am it is now, the booth buyer was earlier out bidding up to 10's of thousands of dollars for prime specimens. Check out the modern giant band saw slicing whole tuna
Followed by the old school method of hacking out the bones with a hand sharpened axe like knife
to be thawed, sliced, packaged and delivered to fill the daily orders from the endless multitude of restaurant's demand.
**** Ponderings ****
As we wander the endless labyrinth created by one species to consume a myriad of others, the potential to be aghast highlights the human hypocrisy of needing and enjoying to eat. Yet so many turn a blind eye to the foundations by which our polished food is acquired. Whether it be plants or animals, each person decides to draw their personal line of edible acceptability but it makes little difference as everything is interconnected. It is just a matter of which illusion we choose to present ourselves as reality. Is it better to eat the critter or hack down it's habitat to create a field to grow vagatarian crops leaving the critter with an extinguishing fate, and what do they feed those plants we eat anyway? Not unlike the self and society censored parallels where humans publicly gloss over their underlying desires and act in patterns of sexual interaction while pretending to ignore the necessity and natural humanly allure, not unlike an amazing meal on a hungry stomach. Then I ponder the true and unavoidable cause of global warming to be caused by both sex and food. As clearly as we humans are creators of the unraveling predicament, we as a species have the power to halt man made global warming merely by convincing all humans to simultaneously refrain from sex or food and the problem would soon be enough as we extiguish ourselve. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that we as individuals and a race are incapable of treading upon this planet so softly as not to impact it. A quandary indeed unsolvable, given the acceptable choices. Then it becomes clear that trying our best as a species to attempt to slow down the eventual and unavoidable reality is really the only sensible option. How hard, how much and at what rate becomes a personal choice with global ramifications for each to decide and rally for or attempt to dictate. In the mean time, I am quite hungry and there is a fresh Sushi meal in my near future I predict.
Hey Dave, it really is amazing how you can turn an arcticle beginning with exaustion into a postulate for the survival of our world while passing through a fish market...have you ever thought about going into politcial/cultural journalism when you're tired of touring? ;-) Anyway, your article really strikes a nerve with us here in Germany. As you may know, the G8-Meeting is takin' place from today on in Heiligendamm on the baltic sea in Germany. What is frustrating, is that there are not only signals that the big guys cannot agree on climate protection, but also that the Organisations, which are there to demonstrate against the meeting, are about to split up because of the violence of few. In Heiligendamm itself, the "protection scheme" includes fences, police from all over the country...and to make it worst...some of our politicians (you remember, not belonging to the "coalition of the willing") now already speak about "demonstrations against G8" and "world-wide terrorism" in one sentence. It seems to be, that the sensible option, is not an option for some...hm...frustrating as I said