Preparing for Auction
Tsukiji is a fish market in the sense that the Grand Canyon is a ditch or Caruso was a crooner. Among the wholesale fish markets of the world, Tsukiji ranks at the top in every measurable category. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood, from penny-per-piece sardines to golden brown dried sea slug caviar, a bargain at (U.S.) $473 a pound. It imports from 60 countries on six continents.
Frozen assets, bluefin tuna worth top yen are readied for Tsukiji's morning auction. The market's clamorous labyrinth of stalls showcases all manner of seafood—from live sea eel to pickled octopus—and reflects the well-ordered confusion of Japanese society. Says Tsukiji scholar Ted Bestor, "Tsukiji reveals as much about Japanese culture as it does about Japanese cuisine."
— From "Tsukiji: The Great Tokyo Fish Market," November 1995, National Geographic magazine