This Week in Tokyo – 11 February 2020
Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond. This week’s edition is hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide. This week: Ban Anime; View from the Top; Ramen Adventures with Brian MacDuckston; Kiyoshi Kimura, The Tuna King and “Don’t sleep through life”!
Featured image – Ban Anime: Meta messages from the backstreets of Shibuya courtesy of @lushsux
View from the Top: In last week’s ‘This Week in Tokyo’ we featured a photo of a plane seen through the Cherry Blossom trees along the Meguro Canal. These planes are testing out conditions for the new routes into Haneda Airport that are set to be used from 29 March 2020. On Friday 7 February I went to ‘Shibuya Sky’ observation deck to see if I could spot more planes. I did. See above!
Ramen Adventures with Brian MacDuckston: Always great to meet up with ramen expert and Maction Planet Food Tour guide Brian MacDuckston to discuss Tokyo life and future plans. Be sure to check out Maction Planet x Ramen Adventures collaboration apparel!
Kiyoshi Kimura, The Tuna King: Kiyoshi Kimura is the CEO of Sushi Chain Sushizanmai. For eight of the last nine years, Japan’s self-proclaimed “King of Tuna” has purchased the first tuna of the new year at auction in Tokyo. (In 2018 Hiroshi Onodera, owner of the Sushi Ginza Onodera chain, paid ¥6.45mn ($323,195) for a 405kg Pacific bluefin tuna). The king would not accept defeat again and in 2019 Kimura smashed his own record for most money paid for a single tuna. At the 2013 auction, he paid 155mn. In 2019 he forked out ¥333.6mn. In 2020, he purchased a bluefin tuna for ¥193.2mn ($1.8 million) in the first auction of the new year at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market, the second highest price on record. The tuna was caught off northern Aomori Prefecture and weighed 276 kg, which works out around ¥700,000 per kilogram. Kimura is pictured in the bottom right with his arms outstretched. Above his you can see the price he paid for the 2020 tuna. It is a pretty cost effective publicity stunt and generates much more press than purchasing TV advertising with the same out of money. If you can’t afford a whole tuna, you can try some his catch at his wholesaler at the Tsukiji Market.
And finally… “Don’t sleep through life”: Chiko-chan is a half-CG, half-costume 5-year-old girl who scolds adults for not knowing the answers to simple but perplexing questions about life. She blew up in 2018 with her show, the NHK variety quiz program “Chiko-chan ni shikarareru!” (Chiko-chan will scold you), titled “Don’t Sleep through Life!” in English. You can get inside Chico-chan’s head (literally) at Shibuya Scramble Square, as I’m demonstrating here. You can tell it’s me because I’m in my Brave Blossoms Japan National Rugby Team shirt!