Sushi. One of my all time favorite foods. And here I am, in Japan, at the birthplace of this scrumptious dish.
To say I was excited at the prospect of eating sushi straight off the boats in Japan’s largest fish market, Tsukiji, is a wild understatement. I woke up at 4:30 AM, only half due to ongoing jet lag, the other half was already thinking about a breakfast of the freshest fish one can find – barring that you have access to your own tuna boat that is.
I might have even burst into song a few times. And I might have quoted a slightly creepy character who may be the only thing out there that has a higher affinity for raw fish than myself: Gollum from LOTR. *ahem* “Our only wish, to catch a fish, so juicy sweet!”
After being thoroughly entranced by the sun (the sun! Finally!) rising over Tokyo and Mt. Fuji looming over it all we head out to have a truly fresh breakfast.
There is one big tourist spot – Sushi Dai – which boasts wait times of up to 4 hours starting at 6 AM for sushi breakfast. Never being ones to settle for what Fodors claims is best, we asked around on our own and located a true locals joint: Okame.
We knew we found the right place when we walk in and the only patrons were 3 fishermen who clearly had just finished up their morning shift and were enjoying chef’s selection along with a bottle of Asahi…at 7:45 AM.
Now, put me in the middle of Tokyo and ask me to lead you to ramen and it’ll take a while to build up that courage necessary to walk into these tiny restaurants.
Ask again for the same but with sushi? Instant fearless leader.
I boldly walking in, Konichiwa’d, and prepared myself for something delicious.
And oh, was it delicious.
There was snapper, scallops, sardine, other fish I have since forgotten the names of, and, the shining star: tuna.
I tried to savor each piece. I loved the way the fish almost melted in your mouth, like pieces of buttery velvet and the rice that tasted creamy yet distinct, the barest hint of fresh wasabi and ginger – all flavors and textures that combined expertly for each piece in it’s own unique way.
I could’ve gone home right then and considered my trip to Japan a wild success.
Luckily there is still much more to see and do.
And more time for sushi.