Tokyobling's Blog

The Last Tsukiji Shishimatsuri

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 28, 2015

Last month I hurried down to the famous Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market, probably found on almost every foreign tourist visiting Tokyo, to see the last Tsukiji Shishimatsuri taking place inside the old Fish Market ground. The fish market is scheduled to close in a few months, ending a decades long history as the main fresh fish market of the Japanese capital. Usually a quite minor festival, this one was a little bit special and it was wonderful to have had the chance to see the gates of the Fish Market open one last time for huge black toothed lion’s head, the priests, and the omikoshi (portable shrine) belonging to the local Jinja. More photos and stories from this festival to come!

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More Boats of Nakaminato – Hitachinaka City

Posted in Places by tokyobling on March 20, 2015

Being a huge fan of boats (I know that Japan is more into trains, traditionally) I could not resist walking around the tiny commercial harbor of old Nakaminato City (in present day Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture). All the boats were in very good condition – I wonder if this is due to them having been recently replaced after the tsunami in 2011? My favorite from this harbor though was the Nakakaze CL82, Craft Large class patrol ship of the coast guard. Clocking in at 20m in length and weighing 26 tons it is one of the smallest regular patrol ships of the Japanese navy and coast guard. This boat was commissioned in 1996 so it definitively survived the tsunami. It belongs to the 3rd Regional Coast Guard (there are eleven), covering the Kanto are coastal prefectures of Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Tokyo, Chiba and Ibaraki. The 3rd Coast Guard even has a section on their homepage where you can download and build your own paper models of their bigger ships. Since many of the southernmost islands in Japan formally belong to Tokyo the 3rd Cost Guard has to cover a huge territory, far south of even the Ogasawara Islands. Their work must be tremendously interesting!

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Nakaminato Harbor – Hitachinaka City

Posted in Places by tokyobling on March 19, 2015

The harbor in Hitachinaka City (ひたちなか市) is famous in Ibaraki prefecture north east of Tokyo, for its fine produce and fresh seafood. The city itself was formed when the two neighboring cities of Nakaminato (那珂湊市) and Katsuta (勝田市) merged in 1994. For most young people it is better known for its rock festival taking place every year since 2000. Since I love harbors and boats of all kinds it is a given that I visit the harbor rather than the city itself when I travel in Japan. At the time of the big earthquake in 2011 all of the things you can see in these photos were wrecked by the tsunami but four years later the is absolutely no damage to be seen in the harbor itself. The fish market is especially interesting, but I arrived too late in the afternoon to do anything more than have a quick sushi lunch before the fisherman packed up their shops for the night. However if you have a big family and want to score a deal I can recommend being the last customer at the market, I saw a few big boxes of fish going pretty cheap!

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