A Fishie Beach Read

The Incredible Journey of a fat pink slice of tuna, from boat to board.

I'm not one for chick lit. When I travel I like easily digestible nonficiton. I just downed The Sushi Economy in one weekend. It's like a Japanese history lesson meets Salt, with a soupcon of Fast Food Nation if you read between the lines. Well, kinda. Author Sasha Issenberg traces the nuggets of protein and rice from their roots as simple snacks through to their status as ubiquitous post-yuppie staple.

The main character of this book is tuna, that fatty maguro that fetches record prices at Tokyo's famous Tsukiji market. The setting? The global economy. Know from where your $3 slice of tuna comes, and at what cost. Maybe it will blow your mind as much as it did mine, to think that this entire chunk of the global economy isn't much older than me. Plus, there's pirates!

The above picture was taken during my last trip to Tsukiji market, seconds before a man used that rusty knife to carve me some of that fresh, bloody fish that he served to me with mashed radish and green tea. I've never looked at tuna the same way after seeing the auction at Tsukiji. We're close to fish sources on the West Coast, but eating fresh, with a capital "F" yeah, sushi at 7 o'clock in the morning after the tuna auction in Tokyo? My sushi drive has never been the same.

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