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Tsukiji market's last days: A bittersweet farewell to a bumpy stone path

A passage in Tsukiji fish market paved with granite stones is seen in this photo taken in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, on Aug. 30, 2018. (Mainichi/Naoki Watanabe)

TOKYO -- Wooden carts loaded with fish make rumbling noises as they pass along the dusky stone path of the Tsukiji fish market.

The ground is metaled with square granite paving stones, called "pinkoro ishi" in Japanese. The stones turn glossy as they are splashed with fish fat-laced water, all lit by bare light bulbs.

A wholesaler in his 70s laughed bitterly about the bumpy path. "I get tired standing all day on it," he complained. The path has had a bad reputation since Tsukiji opened 83 years ago. It was made to be slip resistant, but its effectiveness has literally worn away over the years, and now people in rubber boots slip and slide along the slick surface.

Still, the Japanese fan-patterned stone path looks beautiful if a bit melancholic. Some Tsukiji-lovers are reluctant to part with what they call the "Paris-like" pavement.

(Japanese original by Akiyo Ichikawa, City News Department)

* This series introduce scenes from the last days of the Tsukiji wholesale market in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, which is scheduled to end 83 years history when its closes for relocation to the new Toyosu site in Tokyo's Koto Ward on Oct. 6, 2018.

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