[Theodore C. Bestor] ï Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World (California Studies in Food and Culture, 11) [nsfw PDF] Read Online Å Incredibly well researched and well written book on a fascinating fish market A lot of my interest stems from having visited Tsukiji, though I had little appreciation for its significance or function at that time This is a must read for Japan studies folks or anybody mildy interested in the business behind their food hobby.
Before this excellent Ethnography, I knew little about Japanese cuisine and their cultural practices that revolve around this giant fish market and the meanings it has in Japanese people s lives.
Bestor examines the concept of knowing where our food comes from, in this case being the global trades in fish and marine life to the market in Tokyo, Japan He starts with intermediaries traders, wholesalers, retailers, auctioneers, consumers and places them within the abstract idea of the market to the actual place and location of the market Tsukiji is a living thing shaped by cultural codes and the cultural embeddings of the market itself.
Bestor talks about what is being exchanged and the meanings that people integrate into Tsukiji, fish, and food The popular culture around food in Japan aids the understanding that its commodities are historically unchanged and already central to Japanese identity.
Located Only Blocks From Tokyo S Glittering Ginza, Tsukiji The World S Largest Marketplace For Seafood Is A Prominent Landmark, Well Known But Little Understood By Most Tokyoites A Supplier For Countless Fishmongers And Sushi Chefs, And A Popular And Fascinating Destination For Foreign Tourists Early Every Morning, The Worlds Of Hi Tech And Pre Tech Trade Noisily Converge As Tens Of Thousands Of Tons Of Seafood From Every Ocean Of The World Quickly Change Hands In Tsukiji S Auctions And In The Marketplace S Hundreds Of Tiny Stalls In This Absorbing Firsthand Study, Theodore C Bestor Who Has Spent A Dozen Years Doing Fieldwork At Fish Markets And Fishing Ports In Japan, North America, Korea, And Europe Explains The Complex Social Institutions That Organize Tsukiji S Auctions And The Supply Lines Leading To And From Them And Illuminates Trends Of Japan S Economic Growth, Changes In Distribution And Consumption, And The Increasing Globalization Of The Seafood Trade As He Brings To Life The Sights And Sounds Of The Marketplace, He Reveals Tsukiji S Rich Internal Culture, Its Place In Japanese Cuisine, And The Mercantile Traditions That Have Shaped The Marketplace Since The Early Seventeenth Century An interesting treatise and insight on the old site of the Tsukiji fish market in Japan.
Absorbing ethnographic study of Tsukiji in Tokyo, the world s largest seafood market A jewel of a book that explains the complex social institutions behind Tsukiji s hundreds of morning auctions Bester portrays Tsukiji s rich internal culture, its central place in Japanese cuisine and the mercantile traditions that have shaped it since the 17th c Bester shows how the fish market is a combination of free marketplace and binding customs that inhibit total competition much like Japan s economy at large In this way, Bester in fact provides a powerful analysis of the everyday workings of Japanese culture Tsukiji, the Fish Market at the Center of the World is an academic book, but with a twist, for in an appendix the author provides a tourist guide to Tsukiji as well You have perhaps heard that the fish market will move to a new location in November this year, but don t worry, it will remain Tsukiji.
This was a very interesting book Bestor clearly spent a huge amount of time at the market and his observations of the market are very astute.
The book does fall a little bit into an awkward middle ground between academic work and generally interest non fiction Bestor encourages readers to skip chapters if they re not interested I did not do that but I did skip over some passages that were not that interesting to me One side effect of the book being written with skipping in mind is there is a little repetition than I d like with the same concept or word explained the same way in several chapters.
Overall I m glad I read the book and I m certainly looking forward to visiting the market when I go to Tokyo Reading this in 2016 was interesting as much of the book covers the struggles to modernize and or move Tsukiji Until this week that was scheduled to finally happen in November However it was just delayed again.
I have to be honest and say I only got halfway through this book It is a very detailed and accurate account of the relationships of the social and cultural and economic aspects of the Tsukiji fish market in Japan I have been there and it is an amazing place, in many ways The book is of an anthropological or sociological treatise and it is very long and dry but has a lot of of very good information if you care about such stuff I wish he had written a layman s shorter and summary version of the book as this one is really by an academic for academics, but for that crowd it is probably a five For me, even with a strong interest in things Japanese, it was too much rowing.
For a nonacademic audience, some parts are interesting than others Some chapters are mind numbingly abstract boring as academic research can sometimes be That said, at least a skim of this book is essential for anyone planning to or who has recently visited Tokyo s Tsukiji market It provides such a wealth of insight on how this fascinating market works.

I m always thinking about getting this for Matt We went there during our honeymoon and ate still bloody tuna from a sushi bar, bought Matt his knives, and basically tried our best to stay the hell out of the way of commerce When you see a 300lb tuna being cut by katana and or bandsaw, you ve seen something amazing.
This was a great book to read and learn about the cultural significance of a major fish market in Japan placed at the centre of the world.
The importance of Tsukiji is is well depicted throughout the text mainly focusing on the ethnography of the market and the functions within a continually busy environment.
It was a great read providing knowledge and understanding on how history shapes the future of a significant fish market Fish is eaten everyday in Japanese culture its great to learn how a marketplace shapes the Japanese culture If this interest you I definitely recommend reading this book