Monday, 11 May 2015

The photographer, the fish market

I took Riley to the local fish market in my town on a buzzy Saturday afternoon. Nakaminato fish market is one of the best tourist spots in Ibaraki prefecture, trust me!

You really don't get many foreigners there, in fact, I've never seen another gaijin at the place. This factor, combined with the rowdy market atmosphere of the place, means that you will constantly get asked which country you come from. Sometimes in quite a rude and abrupt manner "国どこ" (what country?)  people yell as you walk past. Naturally, being a somewhat impolite and generally impatient person, I get sick of answering this question straight. My new response is "韓国" - South Korea. Some people know I'm joking and its fine, others think I've misunderstood and attempt to ask again.  If people push me on it, I just play dumb, I start explaining that its a country near to Japan, famous for bibimbap and kimchee, as though they obviously haven't heard of it. That's right, I'm a smart-arse dickhead.

At one point we were walking down a slightly more quiet road after leaving a kaiten zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant. A man with a big fancy camera stopped us and asked to take a picture. We could only assume he was working on behalf of...something? We agreed as he seemed legitimate enough and there wasn't exactly anything raunchy about the situation. What made me question his skills as a photographer was that he insisted we stand next to some bins to pose. We did point out to him the ゴミ箱 he was making us stand beside, but it was clear our small female minds couldn't quite grasp the genius behind his post-modern artist eye.

When he asked us afterwards where we came from, I couldn't help but give him the same 韓国 line I had been feeding everyone else that day. In all seriousness, he wrote down our answer with an ever so slightly raised eyebrow and, after thanking us for our time, he disappeared back into the crowds of the fish market.

I like to think that in some small, local publication somewhere in Japan, there's a picture of me and Riley, two very Caucasian looking girls, and the caption "Korean tourists".

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