A vendor at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market butchers a Pacific bluefin tuna caught in waters off Mexico.
Clare Leschin-Hoar for NPR
The chef picks up the nubby stick of fresh wasabi. Through a translator, he explains the good ones are straight and deep green in color. It was the first time I had seen it fresh. The green dab you get at most American sushi restaurants is almost always horseradish and food coloring squeezed from a tube. While that may have been my introduction to freshly harvested wasabi, it wasn’t my first time seeing something far more precious — Pacific bluefin tuna.
We skipped the early-morning tuna auction on our recent breakfast tour of Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market, which we purchased as part of our vacation in Japan. I figured the frozen carcasses would leave me feeling gloomy. The bursting seafood mecca has plenty of other things to see and is just as chaotic as you’d expect. For just over 80 years, it’s been drawing global tourists to central Tokyo to gawk …