Bullet Trains, Shopping, and Fish – Oh My!
Guest blog post by Valerie Ziegler
NOTE: This blog entry is cross-posted from a travel blog written by the 2010 California Teachers of the Year in their recently concluded Journals From Japan. The five-teacher contingent included InterACT blogger Kelly Kovacic and ACT member Valerie Ziegler. Please go to their blog to see some wonderful pictures, read additional entries, and leave them some comments. (DC)
Our last day and half have been spent in quintessential Japanese fashion; riding trains, shopping and visiting a fish market. Our day began boarding the ever so prompt bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo. We watched as the mountains and country side whizzed by us on our high speed journey leaving the traditional behind to head back to the urban. The afternoon was spent in the ultra swanky Ginza neighborhood where we saw a famous Japanese model taking part in a photo shoot and supported the Japanese economy at a 10 story stationary store. On our way home we did a quick stop to see the reportedly busiest pedestrian intersection in the world. We all gasped as we reached our vantage point from above at the sheer number of people moving in an almost rhythmic pattern. It was a sea of black and white suits and umbrellas under neon signs. Our last dinner in Tokyo was spent eating fondue Japanese style at a restaurant on the 55th floor of a building; offering a spectacular dining experience.
Our final and unanimously favorite experience of the trip was a 5 A.M. visit to the iconic Tsukiji Fish Market where we were treated to a V.I.P. tour by a Tokyo government official. The largest fish market in the world; it has become a must see for tourists. It was bustling with activity and we had to be constantly on guard as to not be hit by one of the carts or workers rushing from place to place. The market includes frozen, fresh, processed, and live fish with about 1700 stalls crammed together and we were lucky enough to witness their famous tuna auction where some of the fish go for tens of thousands of dollars. It is hard to believe there is a fish left in the ocean!