1st tuna auction at new Japan site

2018-10-12 02:25:30 GMT2018-10-12 10:25:30(Beijing Time) Sina English
An intermediate wholesaler checks tuna for auction at the Toyosu fish market in Tokyo on its opening day on Thursday. The new market replaces the Tsukiji market that closed the previous week after 83 years. Photo: VCG An intermediate wholesaler checks tuna for auction at the Toyosu fish market in Tokyo on its opening day on Thursday. The new market replaces the Tsukiji market that closed the previous week after 83 years. Photo: VCG

The cries of the raucous pre-dawn tuna auction rang out for the first time at Tokyo's new fish market Thursday, just days after the world-famous Tsukiji site closed the door on its 83-year history.

The location may have changed but the ritual remained the same: huge whole tuna laid out on the ground, bells tolling to sound the start of the auction and a loud and bewildering system of bidding understood only by those taking part. 

"There we go. We're off," said Kiyoshi Kimura, one of the celebrities of the sushi world, who owns the Sushi Zanmai chain and has previously paid record prices for tuna at New Year auctions.

"We won't get the same prices today," he told AFP with a smile before bidding began in an auction that didn't set any new records.

On Sunday, after an emotional final tuna auction the previous day, the Tsukiji market's famed "turret trucks" - one-man flatbeds with a barrel-shaped steering column at the front - began the exodus to the new site.

However, the move was a lengthy and controversial process. Few would contest the fact that Tsukiji was past its prime, and there were concerns about outdated fire regulations and hygiene controls.

In contrast, the new market, located around two kilometers to the east at Toyosu, boasts state-of-the-art refrigeration facilities and is nearly twice as big again as Tsukiji, already the world's largest. But Toyosu is located on the site of a former gas plant and the soil was found to be contaminated, forcing local authorities to spend millions of dollars to clean it up and delaying the move.

The early morning tuna auction at Tsukiji became an institution and was high on the wish-list for tourists to the Japanese capital, who lined up from the night before to be one of the 120 allowed to witness the organized chaos.

Especially at the first auction of the new year, wholesalers and sushi tycoons have been known to pay eye-watering prices for the biggest and best fish.

The record still stands from 2013 when 155.4 million yen ($1.8 million) was paid for a 222-kilogram bluefin.

The move affected not only the famed fishmongers, but also fruit and vegetable vendors, restaurants and other shops in the inner market.

(Agencies)

| PRINT | RSS
Add Comment