Kanno - Tuna bowl
This narrow alley leads to Kanno.
The menu of Kanno hanging on the wall - The cheapst bowl costs only 550yen.
Monzeki street is the boundry of the market.
Recently, I frequent "Tsukiji Jougai Market"(1)
. It exists in the convenient distance from my office, so that I can enjoy lunch there within one-hour lunch time break. Tough the market is located only a few minutes walk from Ginza - traditional but also most up to date shopping area - we can find there reminiscence of the good old days. Numerous shops and eateries are accommodated in two or three-story wooden buildings and are crowded by visitors. Kanno exists in an extremely narrow side alley. This Jougai Market will experience a drastic change in a decade or so as a result of the move of Tsukiji Fish Market to Toyosu(2). Therefore, I want to breathe in the meantime the air of Jougai Market as much as possible.
(1) "Jougai" means "outside the arena". In this case, "Tsukiji Jougai Market" is a sort of annex to the Tokyo Central Wholesale Market (colloquially "Tsukiji Fish Market"). In the Jougai Market there are shops for fish and fish related products which not only fishmongers but also visitors can buy. There are also various restaurants for the workers in the Tsukiji Fish Market and visitors from outside.
(2) Several years ago it was officially decided to move the Tsukiji Fish Market to Toyosu, which is located some 2.5 Km eastwards from Tsukiji. However, heavy metal pollution was found recently from the place where the Market shall have a new site and the discussions are still going on about the appropriateness of the move.
Electric sign of Kanno
There are many eateries for Western food or rahmen(3)
in the Jougai Market. However, I want to choose fish dishes, as I go all the way there. I have checked therefore every corner of the Jougai Market and encountered this "Tuna bowl Kanno". There are a lot of eateries in the Jougai Market where tuna bowl is offered. The reason for my choice for Kanno is among others its location. Kanno is in a narrow roofed alley twigged from a main street and has a special atmosphere. Its kitchen is surrounded by counters on its three sides and some thirty guests can sit. Such a hawker-style restaurant can be found anywhere in Japan as well as in Asia and makes me relaxed.
(3) Chinese style soup noodle.
In particular for the middle-aged men like me it is full of nostalgic elements that remind me of the daily life in the 1950s and 1960s when Roppongi-Hills and other futuristic facilities have not deprived from the metropolis its human elements yet.
Relatively short queue of today
I made haste to stand at the end of a long queue, with a strong wish to sit at the counter and to shovel down from the bowl. Though I described it as a "long" queue, the today's queue was formed by at most twelve or thirteen people. As everybody needs only two or three minutes to eat a whole bowl, it came to my turn rather smoothly. While I was waiting in the queue, a waitress with a slightly strange Japanese accent came to me and asked about my order with a friendly manner. A lot of foreigners are working in the shops of the Jougai Market. I heard, that the job in the Jougai Market starts very early in the morning and is not popular among young Japanese. Young foreigners on the other hand spare no pains to earn their school expenses. Not only that waitress but other staffs of the eatery are without exception very kind and this is one of the positive points of Kanno.
I ordered today a slightly gorgeous meal - a "large tuna bowl" (1000 yen) and a "miso soup" (100 yen). By the way a young man who was queuing up in front of me ordered in the same ones. When the bowl was served, I counted the number of tuna slices. Thirteen thick slices were on top of the rice; a half of them were half-toro(4)
and others were akami(5)
. Even the ordinary portion (700 yen) has enough volume for a lunch. Therefore, the large bowl, which has just more tuna slices, is really solid. Stir the horseradish into the soy-sauce, pour the hot sauce onto the tuna bowl and start to eat. The taste of tuna, soy-sauce and horseradish is combined with the best quality Koshihikari rice from Chiba Prefecture. It makes me truly happy.
(4) "Toro" means the belly meat of tuna. It is fatty and yummy. Oo-toro (literary means great toro) is more fatty and chu-toro (half toro) is less fatty.
(5) "Akami" is on the contrary lean part of tuna meat.
I occasionally sip miso soup with shijimi-clam, and there arises a synergy effect from different essences and I can experience the moment of bliss. When I sit in a space that is friendly to the human senses and tastes a yummy bowl, I strongly feel the pleasure of being alive.
As there are many popular eateries in the Jougai Market and the Tsukiji Fish Market, I would like to try them. One thing we have to bare in mind in doing so is that we might be disappointed, if we would too much depend on the eatery review by media. An eatery that is taken up by a magazine might have a long queue of waiting guests who might have gathered the same information from the same magazine. But, the real quality of the food could be disappointing. If we would like to eat something delicious, we have to take a risk by ourselves. And, taking a risk in gourmet matters is simply a pleasure. I think I should train my senses, so that I can make an appropriate judgement just by seeing eateries from outside and without actuary trying their foods!
As for eateries in the Tsukiji Jougai Market, there is an Internet site that is fully loaded by various contents made by volunteers of the Market. I was very much impressed by a historical study in that site done by the students of Hosei University (Tsukiji - change of the town seen from Komiyama shop). It is worth reading, if you want to enjoy Tsukiji.