Day twenty-three – Tokyo – Daiba to Shinjuku

We had planned to get up and get breakfast at the fish market, but we were both so much in need of rest that we didn’t get to the fish market until mid morning.

The last time I hit the fish market it was the old style one, and we kind of just wandered in and were politely asked to leave. Since then, Tokyo’s upped its game and made the fish market both a workable area for the fishers and buyers, and a tourist destination.

Basically it’s a huuuuuuge building now. Like, imagine a building as long as a few blocks, and as deep. The ground floor is all the fish market, the serious fish sellers, the crates of fish, etc etc.

Upstairs from that is the visitors observation gallery, where you can peek through windows at the people walking below with no danger of getting in their way. You can learn stuff, like what fish are in season, or see one of the little zoomy vehicles the people in the market zip around on. Upstairs from that is the adjacent or intermediate market. It had cooking related items, mostly. Lots of people selling knives, or dry ingredients or vegetables. By this time we were both getting very hungry, so we went to find the restaurants zone.

It’s like a food court but everyone’s selling the best sushi in the world.

But how do you pick a place? There were some stores obviously beloved by locals because there were long lines outside them. There were some with no lines at all. Some of them we could discount right off as they were selling curry and rice, or various hot donburis or dishes. We were there for fresh, raw fish.

In the end we rolled the dice on this place, because it said since 1800s and it had no line. Unfortunately we became the line. The place was small and only a certain number of people fit around the bar, so we had to wait. It was twenty minutes or maybe half an hour? it felt longer because we were both so hungry and also smelling food, but finally they let us in.

It was worth the wait. I got the sashimi platter and Anna got the sushi and sashimi set. They were both exquisite. The tuna especially was so good and fresh it melted in the mouth. And the flavours… urgh, there’s nothing like it.

So you don’t have to get up a sparrow fart to get the best fresh sushi, but I would suggest aiming for mid morning – past breakfast rush and before lunch rush. We were just at the start of the lunch rush and it was full on by the time we left. And save the fish market sight seeing for after you’ve eaten.

Once that was done, we took the monorail to Daiba proper and tracked down an art exhibition my friend Jay had found out about and sent us the link to. Teamlab Borderless which is an interactive, immersive, digital and three dimensional exhibition where each art work interacts with each other, and may move between rooms, and is affected by the presence of viewers. If that description doesn’t make sense, or is hard to imagine, then you’re right. Even inside it there was so much we didn’t understand.

There’s minimal guidance inside the exhibition space, there are wall signs encouraging you to interact, explore, investigate and in a couple of rooms staff advise on safety – don’t touch the LEDs, for example. But overall it’s an experience you have to immerse yourself into.

The first room we went to was the butterfly house, where if you stand still long enough, butterflies (colourful projections) manifest in your body and fly away. Also as you stay still flowers bloom from under your feet. The longer you stay in one place, the more flowers.

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In other rooms the flowers would happen under our feet and if we touched the walls long enough.

In the forest room with falling water we discovered that if you stayed against the wall where there was running water, it’d ‘bounce’ off you. It thought I was a little taller than I am, but you can see the effect here in a before and after which also shows me generating flowers. The water on the ground would also divert around your feet, and all of this was projected somehow. It was breathtaking stuff.

I won’t do a blow by blow of all the rooms, especially as it turns out we missed at least one, but here’s some examples of what we experienced.

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t overwhelming. At once point I jumped at the roar sound effect of a tiger made of flowers walking past me, and my heart wouldn’t stop racing. My mind and my eyes were so overloaded with sensation, so many new incredible things that I started to get… not a headache exactly, but a spacey sensation. There were a couple of rest rooms and a quick break in a plain, normally lit room did help. It was an amazing place, but I sort of wanted to leave in a hurry as well. In places the floor was uneven or there were mirrored walls which you didn’t realise were mirrors until you were almost up against them. The LED lights was a maze, and although beautiful it was also disconcerting.

I loved this exhibition, and I’d have been keen to see some of their other stuff, but I came out of there quite exhausted. My brain had been well wrinkled.

To recover we went to local fancy mall VenusFort for drinks and cake directly out of anime. it was a nice afternoon tea.

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I was feeling pretty out of it, but we managed to take the subway to Shinjuku and get to the Sunroute, where we stayed previously right after Disney. It felt like coming home, a bit.

Slept very, very well in the more familiar place.

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