BAUM kuchen & Mount BAUM chocolate
The 1st location was to Asakusa Kannon Temple !!
Although a Buddhist temple, the Sensoji is the site for Tokyo's largest and most popular Shinto festival, the Sanja Matsuri. It takes place in late spring, spread over 3-4 days, during which the streets around the temple is closed to traffic.
At the entrance to the Sensoji is the Kaminari Mon, or "Thunder Gate". It holds a huge paper lantern painted in dramatic red and black to suggest thunderclouds and lightning. Passing it is the Nakamise, a shopping arcade of about 200m, lined with shops selling traditional (and not so traditional) souvenirs. This leads to the Hozo Mon, or second gate. Beyond it stands the main temple building while to the left is a five storey 48m high pagoda.
Next to the Sensoji is the Asakusa Jinja, a Shinto shrine built by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1649 in honour of the three men who established the Sensoji Temple, namely the two fishermen Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari, and the village headman who built the temple, Haji no Nakatomo.
Sach led us to a nearby shopping street as it was meant to be a shopping day too.....where lots of souvenirs, interesting local stuffs, foods & snacks were seen!! This was the place where i purchased most of my snacks esp. those rice crackers, any flavours, any shapes, any packaging.....just about any sizes.....!! I even bought a soft luggage bag here as i knew i needed extra storage for my goodies. As Jen was in search of hand bags, we spend nearly 2 hours around here sourcing for bags & etc. It was difficult to choose as most of the bags were well designed with extremely good quality yet at affordable prices. So guess what, Jen ended up buying nearly 4-5 handbags of various shapes, colours & sizes!! Apparently, those were meant to be given as souvenir to her siblings & relatives......gosh, thk god that's not my practice !!!
By the time we realised the clock was clicking away fast, we quickly moved on to the next stop which was supposedly a street full of shops selling kitchen gadgets!! Our dearie "yap pun mui" thought it would be a place for us since we had bento, baking & cooking as interest....that she purposely customised this place into our itinerary....hahaha
But unfortunately, most of the kitchen gadgets looked too FRAGILE to be carried on the plane back...so i had given them a pass most of the time !!! Furthermore, with such an expensive currency, most of the stuffs were selling at killer price !!!
btw, japan had their trains allocated certain time of the day for women passenger only.......COOL, rite??
"Most of the shops in the outer market close by the early afternoon, and in the inner market even earlier"
The market opens most mornings except Sundays and holidays and some infrequent closing days within the week at 3:00 a.m. with the arrival of the products by ship, truck and plane from all over the world. Particularly impressive is the unloading of tons of frozen tuna. The auction houses (wholesalers known in Japanese as oroshi gyōsha) then estimate the value and prepare the incoming products for the auctions. The buyers (licensed to participate in the auctions) also inspect the fish to estimate which fish they would like to bid for and at which price.
The auctions start around 5:20 a.m. Bidding can only be done by licensed participants. These bidders include intermediate wholesalers [nakaoroshi gyousha] who operate stalls within the marketplace, and other licensed buyers who are agents for restaurants, food processing companies, and large retailers.
The auctions usually end around 7:00 a.m. Afterwards, the purchased fish is either loaded onto trucks to be shipped to the next destination, or on small carts and moved to the many shops located inside of the market. There the shop owners cut and prepare the products for retail. In case of large fish, for example tuna and swordfish, cutting and preparation is elaborate. Frozen tuna and swordfish are often cut with large band saws, and fresh tuna is carved with extremely long knives (some well over a meter in length) called Oroshi hocho, maguro-bocho, or Hancho hocho.
The market is most busy between 5:30 and 8:00 a.m., and the activity declines significantly afterwards. Many shops start to close around 11:00 a.m., and the market closes for cleaning around 1:00 p.m. Tourists may visit the market daily between 5 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. and watch the proceedings from a designated area. However, due to the increase in numbers of sightseers and the associated problems they cause, the market decided to ban all tourists from the tuna auctions during the period between 15 December 2008 and 17 January 2009. The market reopened to tourists after this period with the provision of security guards and new rules prohibiting flash photography.
Inspectors from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government supervise activities in the market to enforce the Food Hygiene Law"
Well, if u read those sentences above in 'red', you could have guess it right that we were greeted by a "CLOSED" market once we arrived the place around 1p.m.......it was a big disappointment for me as i've learn (by reading) about this place way before the trip & was well-prepared to throw myself out despite the fishy stench to capture those extravaganza moments (if what i read was true) !!! Anyway, i can't be complaining.....if u know what i mean..... Besides that, i suppose Sach was just not the type that appreciates the wet market (being the typical city girl that she is) !! I'm pretty sure she hasn't stepped into this market before as she needed to refer to the location map all the way to this place, hahaha
Anyway, along our way to the market, i came across many eateries along the street which i reckon should be interesting to explore .... if only my huby was around.....sob!! Unfortunately, it wasn't really a custom for the japanese (city) woman to eat by the road side. Sach even said, in Tokyo most of the FAST-FOOD outlets are only visited by MALE patron and it was very RARE to see women eating in those places, dang.... **i can instantly smell it** LOL LOL !!! means we will only be eating at no-cheap places, ngek ngek ngek !!!
So when the market had actually closed, what were we doing there??? Apparently, the only purpose Sach brought us there was to sumptuous the MOST fresh, original, juicy, moist, tasty, delicious, appetizing, delightful, mouth-watering SASHIMI & SUSHI ........arghhh can't described more of it !!!
There are 2 rows of little sushi shops beside the market, with only 4-5 shops still operating & many has closed!! Sach went to check around the shops and she finally decided for the ONE & ONLY that has many customers queuing in front of it. Ahead of us were at least 4 more groups waiting before it was our turn. In between the conversations, we overhead some Koreans in front of us. It seemed that the guide book that recommended them to this place, so guess there must be reason why it was pack crowded !!
Only god knows how torture it was having to stand in front of the glass door with full view of people opening their mouth wide for those much awaited sushi, moreover with the stomachs growling like a thunder storms!!! the 45 mins standing was like a 'life-time' punishment that i don't seemed to see an end to it.....
Anyway, once it was finally our turn to gulp down those sashimi, i really forgot all the pain, all the torments & the dissapointment of not having to encounter the operation of the exciting fish markets !!!
See the 'hansem' sushi boy.....he was extra ordinary 'chatty' despite the language barrier!!
**** really really missed the sashimi now ****
And we proceeded with our shopping spree (window type inclusive)!
Despite the language barrier & the exhausted mind, i was pretty surprise that the 3 women could kept talking & laughing hysterically (office gossips, MEN, colleagues, works are all part of d topics)!!
to be continued with final episode ....