May the spirit of Tsukiji survive

Tokyo

Having worked in the neighborhood of the Tsukiji fish market for almost two decades, I am surprised that the Jan. 29 article “Fish tales of Tsukiji” describes the atmosphere there and fishermen’s spirits so well. Tsukiji is talked about a lot lately on TV programs and in the mass media, but the content is only a facade of the allure. By contrast, this article reports not only “fish tales” but also the human relationships in the Tsukiji market.

Last year the Tokyo Metropolitan Government approved a budget to relocate the market. It’s a pity that this famous market may disappear. But we shouldn’t shy away from reality: The Tsukiji market has become so obsolete that a lot of fishermen and workers feel that it’s inconvenient to work there.

And who wants to eat tuna that was lying on a concrete floor where fishermen walk around, go to the restroom and whatnot, wearing the same shoes? Some people are concerned that this old market has hygiene problems that could damage their health more than contaminated soil at the new market.

In Tsukiji town, many fish wholesalers used to lay fish on the street when I came to the office. These shops are no longer there; instead, condominiums and luxurious apartments have replaced them. We have to accept the fact that time has passed. Still, I hope that the traditional spirit of Tsukiji will survive.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

shuichi john watanabe