NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
18 Apr 1995
- Tsukiji Fish Market
- 35.66139 139.76972
- SONY TCD-D7
Stereo=1; Twin-Omni Stereo recoded with B&K 4006 Omni mics through Neumann 48v power supply into Sony TCD7
Subject: tokyo log part 2
Tokyo Fish Market, April 18 1995. Main stereo Tape 2 of 2. Recorded with Neumann RSM190, decoded to XY stereo. Mike placed in 5" Rycote zeppelin windscreen with no Windjammer cover applied. Into Sonosax SXM2 preamp, then into D7 DAT line input.
Two-digit numbers are PNOs; five-digit numbers are ATime in HMMSS format. Tape also has Time of Day encoded, not logged here but, available if needed.
01 00000 start at 5:18am, I slate tape, talk about price of largest tuna. Biggest fish are 260 kg, we don't know yet how much they'll go for
02 00050 Kunio describes what bidders are doing to tuna...then stretch of general distant ambiance, a little hacking going on but mostly bidders are silent as they examine fish
03 00243 some sounds of gulls alongside truck motor ...motorized cart pulls up....sweeping sound...gets quieter at 00400, gulls more audible for awhile.
00440 closer, more active gull voices as truck pulls up to disturb them.
00507 good flurry of gull voices, followed by truck's backup signal.
00550 another backup signal, gets closer, gulls are gone by now. 00630 backup signal gets very close, passes left to right, then fainter
04 00650 still outdoors ...voices, some hacking. Engine dies at 00720.
Motorcart passes 00740.
05 00800 Kunio says green tags are bidding numbers. Before bidders appraise, auction companies appraise too. Let's go back inside
06 00856 general ambiance, fairly quiet, a little right channel heavy. Mike
handling noise at 01000 as I adjust angle and monopod length.
07 01048 light hacking, sneezing and voices ambiance, no motors for a while.
08 01230 bells in distance signal that we're close to start of auctioning. Bidders continue looking at fish, good ambiance stretch here. 01425 good hacking L ch mid distant with ambiance overall. 01510 motorcart passes in distance, another pulls up and parks
09 01540 Kunio sez all companies will start at the same time...this area has five different companies working in it. One company manager react to my mike. 01620 mike handling, 01630 ambiance, 01710 a few good hacks, ambiance continues. These light hacks are auction company guys cutting a wedge into the tail end of each tuna so quality of fat can be examined by bidders.
10 02010 over by the bench where bidders are starting to sit down. We ask a seated bidder some questions about what he'll be looking for .. 5 to 6 fish, he says
11 02130 more ambiance
12 02220 opening bell left center image, rings for more than a minute, then 02328 extra accent ringing. 02420 bells finally stop, first auctioneer voice starts in, mid-distant, hear others start up in distance. This first guy's voice is incredibly constricted and hoarse like those stereotype Japanese from WWII movies screaming at GI prisoners. Gradually get closer to guy #1, keeping him left center image
14 02655 momentary clipping, on particularly loud grunt...then he pauses for a few seconds, then resumes. Good Place to start in on him.
15 02824 leave guy #1 for the time being, but he'll be back. Distant ambiance as I work my way over to guy #2
16 02850 guy #2 approaching from left. This guy has a two-pitch delivery, like a European ambulance, goes up a fourth (musical interval) when he completes each number
18 03030 guy #2 moves off, then I get closer again. 03115 he's way over in left channel, nice placement to combine this with one of the other auctioneers. 03155 he moves over to right channel. gets more distant.
19 03200 distant views of guy #2 in right center...
20 03245 motorcart pulls up. start to hear guy #1 in distance again for a few seconds, then he goes away, general hubbub
21 03340 guy #3, a rough grunter, close perspective left center, sounds like he's calling football plays with occasional constipation. More pauses between fish. .
22 03503 bell rings again, mid distant right center, another bell joins at 03550, closer at hand. They set the stool down for the auctioneer to stand on. Bells continue to 03637 one drops out, other keeps going. We're back with guy #3. Bell finally stops at 03720,
23 03730 guy #3 gets closer, right center image this time, at 03810 gets more distant and moves to left channel.
03830 here comes guy #1 again, mid distant right, moving in image
24 03910 closer to guy #l ...does he ,really say thank you at the end of each cycle of bidding? or is this a homonym for something in Japanese?
25 04000 stool set down, guy #1 gets going again. Best yet.
26 04130 #1 gets more distant, to general ambiance with #1 in distant right channel, moving around 04235 bells ring to signal another round, 04325 guy #4 starts up. Motors obscure him for a while. This guy sounds closest to American style auctioneering. This was true in general of the younger guys. 04425 peak distortion, then motors get real loud and obscure him.
27 04450 guy #4 gets better, closer and less obscured by ambiance
28 04530 leave guy #4, go to guy #5, another constricted yodeler, he really does sound like he says thank you thank you
29 04620 closer to guy #5, bells in background, then leave at 04700
30 04730 general ambiance with bell ringing in distance, various auctioneer voices in distance
31 04850 bell gets close, stops, guy #1 starts up again fairly close center, a bit of motor noise in the sides, this would be good with center image boosted and sides eased back
32 04958 out on the wharf the only boat that was tied up shoves off and motors away. Almost none of the catch arrives by boat
33 05040 guy #6, we'll call him "Seven Grunts", six on one pitch and a final one for emphasis
34 05130 get closer to guy #6, right center, best so far in terms of lack of other hubbub around him.
35 05240 leave guy #6, general ambiance for a while with #6 audible in distance
36 05330 quieter part of pier, another new auctioneer approaching
37 05420 guy #7, mid distant, his cadence sounds like hoofbeats, triplets 05450 bell ringing in background with guy #7 05555 guy #7 distant, another one audible in distance, distant bell
38 05620 bells stop, then 05630 a new bell starts up close, hacking or hammering sound adds at 05650. good general ambiance to 05740 05750 closer to another, guy #8? sounds like a donkey braying 05840 bell starts up again, voices talking to each other, another distant auctioneer, ambiance
39 10010 moving perspective, various auctioneers and trucks, bell again at 10100, then ambiance continues
40 10200 close to a new auctioneer, this one #9~ sounds a lot like a us style. Buzzer audible, obscuring guy #9, he drifts away. Bell starts up again. Distant ambiance, various voices
41 10330 approach a new auctioneer, guy #10, then he drifts off and we get back to #9. Moving perspective continues.
42 10500 dock area getting quieter, most of the selling out here is done.
Approach another auction, I think it's #7 again, get pretty close to him, this is good close perspective with not much else going on
43 10630 farther away from #7, then very close again at 10650 44 10700 close to guy #7, good sense of how fast this stuff goes on. This voice would be good to combine with some of the earlier guys in busier settings
10815 #7 pauses, answers some questions. New bell for new section of fish.
When #7 resumes he's distant.
45 10900 leaving #7, new bell 10920, big noises in background, bell ends 11008
46 11020 short moment of auctioneer, then he steps down, stretch of good ambiance
47 11120 motorcart starts up and drives away.
48 11135 We're back at the BIG FISH mentioned earlier in notes, on the dock just outside the entrance to the inner building area. Mid distant auctioneer in center of image. Good for voice over.
49 11300 moving to get closer to auctioneer #10
50 11340 close to guy #10, right channel, gradually move him to center. Not the most distinctive voice, but it's clear he's an auctioneer. Momentary power saw buzzes start about 11440.
51 11500 More power saw buzzes with no auctioneer
52 11530 More distant power saws, then close one starts up again left ch They're cutting the heads off the tunas to make them more compact. (But NOTHING is getting thrown away at this point in the process... )11630 good perspective with two saws in different channels. A few gulls at 11650 amid the saws.
53 11740 saws stop, out on dock, truck beep and drive by. These are front loaders firing up, ready to haul the tuna from the dock to the inside for further cutting and selling. Good ambiance of motorized front loaders. 12000 another bell ringing, sounds tired compared to earlier ringings. 12042 backup signal from a truck
55 12050 distant saw, various trucks and motorcart noises. closer to saws, left and right channels. 12150 momentary peak clips from dropping frozen tuna
56 12210 lower gain, more saws cutting. we're inside now, at the main cutup center.
57 12300 Two bandsaws, each cutting the head off a tuna and then halving the fish down the spine. Clunks are frozen fish being put up on the cutting table, pieces being loaded off onto carts again.
59 12410 focus on single saw in center of image, operator voices
60 12600 operator pushes me back from saw station
61 12610 more distant perspective of saw stations
62 12740 leave saws, go outside, truck ambiance, I talk to Kunio, he says it's almost over in this area. Trucks drive by.
63 12820 good general ambiance, distant motorcarts, voices, clanks
12920 truck horn does XxxXX-XX beep pattern
13012 large clank followed by motorcart sounds
64 13100 quieter ambiance out by water, trucks backing up
65 13150 quieter, some voices, clanks and distant bangs, hammers
66 13226 breaking up styrofoam cartons, loading more tuna
13318 the first of the gulls arrive to help with cleanup
67 13340 more handheld circular saws cutting up frozen fish
13510 truck in right channel, more saws
68 13626 quiet down, some saw and front loader action
69 13755 lapping harbor water sounds at dockside, distant gulls
13852 truck passes, distant bird, water
70 13915 quiet water dockside; 13950 saw in right ch
71 14025 clatter of equipment, trucks, moving things, voices
72 14030 gentle frontloader sounds, occasional gulls airborne
73 14230 more quiet dockside ambiance; 14315 truck backup signal
74 14430 back toward building, idling frontloader getting tuna dumped in
14535 front loader drives away gently (everything seems calm now)
14630 louder clatter of machinery and metal something-or-other
75 14730 some good gulls squabbling with each other (also machine)
76 14900 better gulls for 15 secs, then they return 14930, 15020
15135 isolated clatter of a front loader bouncing over a grate
77 15215 quiet dockside, needs rebalance to boost left ch
78 15435 more quiet dockside with idling engine quiet in R ch
79 15510 water lapping at dockside
81 15650 motorcarts running around inside shed
82 15802 distant ambiance of riverfront from across the river from the fish market. Miking changed to twin B&K 4006s separated about 8 feet. Barge goes by, helicopter overhead, water lapping (better at 15950) could keep low rumble of barge motor or filter it out to accentuate water sounds. Nothing characteristic of fish market audible from this side of river... too late in