Cute kids in yellow hats:
Giant temple that we stumbled upon:
Entrance to Kappabashi:
Store selling tons of different plastic foods:
Scary-looking knives for cutting soba noodles:
Kappabashi means "kappa bridge". This is a golden kappa:
Michelle's sashimi (sushi fish) knife:
After shopping, we went to a restaurant for dinner. This was a special reservation that Ai-chan's parents made for us so we could try fugu (blowfish). Blowfish is lethally poisonous if you just cut it up and eat it, but there's a certain way to carve it up safely. In Japan, you have to be licensed in order to legally serve it and this place had a license.
This was the most exotic meal we've had by far. Along with the puffer fish, we were also served squid and halibut so fresh that the uncooked parts of the fish were still moving (but not really alive) when the dishes were brought to the table. This was pretty freaky, but the point is to show that the fish just came out of a live tank. (They don't do anything special to keep the heads moving; if they didn't put them on the plate, they'd still be moving like this in the garbage.) Every part of the animal was used in the meal. After eating the raw squid and halibut meat, they took away the heads to use them for the next dishes. The halibut head was cut up and put into miso soup for flavoring and the squid head and tentacles were deep fried (calamari, basically).
They also served turtle in the meal. First, turtle blood served mixed with apple juice and served in shot glasses. Then the raw organs - heart, liver, gall bladder, and shoulder. Finally, the meat was used for turtle soup.
This meal was definitely challenging at times, but it was good and a really unique experience.
Video of live squid outside the restaurant:
Video of live blowfish outside the restaurant:
WARNING: This is where it gets real. Video of the squid tentacles still moving on the plate. If you're squeamish or think that animals can live a long time without their vital organs (they can't), you might not want to watch:
WARNING: This is where it gets real. Video of the halibut reflexes still working on the plate. If you're squeamish or think that animals can live a long time without their vital organs (they can't), you might not want to watch: