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Tsukiji market's last days: Naked light bulbs and nostalgia

Naked light bulbs hang from the ceiling at Tsukiji market's intermediate wholesaler floor, in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, on Sept. 6, 2018. (Mainichi/Naoki Watanabe)

TOKYO -- There are some 500 shops on Tsukiji market's intermediate wholesaler floor, the fish for sale illuminate by naked light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The mood is nostalgic, perhaps because of that orange-yellow light.

Hiromi Makino, 60, the owner of a seafood restaurant in Tokyo's Gotanda district, bought about 10 kinds of fish in several shops and put them in a bamboo basket. "The atmosphere here makes it feel like the kitchen of Japan," she said.

When the market moves to Toyosu this month, fluorescent lights will predominate, as naked incandescent bulbs will be forbidden for fire safety reasons. It's said that shops specializing in tuna, which does not look its best under white light, will use orange LED fixtures.

Makino surveyed the scene, and said, "Everything will change."

(Japanese original by Akiyo Ichikawa, City News Department)

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

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