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Stories

The Countdown of Tsujiki Market

The Tsujiki Market in Tokyo is indisputably the largest fish market in the world, handling on a daily basis appr.  2,400 tons of 450 different varieties of marine products and 270 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Within its premises, two entities, quite different in operations, co-exist.

The first and most well known is the fish market, famous for its very early morning tuna auctions aimed at professional buyers. It is also called Inner Market and is operated and regulated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Next to it, the Outer Market, totally private. A mix of wholesale and retail shops, with numerous stalls selling cutlery, pottery or tea and many restaurants serving excellent sushi dishes.

It has developed over the years around the Inner Market, aiming not only at professionals, but also at individual buyers.

Initially, both markets targeted professionals. It is only recently that the Outer Market has opened its doors to visitors.

The Tsujiki District has hosted the facility since 1935, after the Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed some 20 private markets in Tokyo. Now, after 80 years of operations and in order to accommodate the 2020 Olympics, the Fish/Inner Market is ment to move, by a one-year delay, in November 2018, to the nearby District of Toyosu.

Following the relocation of the Inner Market, all professionals will also be relocated to Toyosu. What then happened to the Tsujiki Outer Market, which will remain in its current location but depends heavily on professional buyers?

The New "Tsukiji Uogashi" Market. To be opened in Nov 2016, next to the Outer Market.

The New “Tsukiji Uogashi” Market has partially opened its doors in Nov 2016.

In an attempt to preserve the Tsujiki brand and assure the prosperity of small businesses, a new commercial facility has being constructed within the compound of the Outer Market, meaning to host vendors marketing themselves to Chefs. It will be called “Tsujiki Uogashi”, Uogashi meaning fish river.

The idea is to give an incentive to professional buyers to keep visiting the Tsujiki Outer Market, as when the Fish Market relocates, many shops will not be able to survive. The two-storey glazing “Tsujiki Uogashi” building is mostly constructed of metal with glimmering restaurants on the rooftop, looking more like a museum than a fish market.

In Toyosu, the modern facility includes three separate multi-floor buildings, completely closed off from the outside and equipped with state-of-the-art refrigeration. “Tsukiji Uogashi” partially opened its doors in November 2016 and for the time being co-habites with the 81-old fish Inner market which remains where it is, till November 2018.

But, Tsukiji Fish Market is much more than a market. It has become a cultural institution, carrying 80 years of tradition and history.

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Change and improvement are often synonymous with modernization and it seems that architecture has no intentions in preserving almost a century of tradition.

The feeling of sailing on a fisherman’s boat will vanish, order will replace chaos and although the new facilities will be offering plenty of advantages for both visitors and vendors, the great charm of the 80 year-old Tsujiki Fish market will definitely be missed.

However, Tsukiji Fish Market is much more than a market. It has become a cultural institution, carrying 80 years of tradition and history.
Stories

Room with a view

Greece 2015. Thousands of migrants try desperately to reach the greek shores from Turkey. On the other side of Greece, opposite to the recently-built port of Patras, abandoned factories provide shelter to refugees for years. Some of them have just arrived, some others are there, since ever. All have one and only goal in mind: crossing the sea to Italy.

The Ladopoulos Papermill is one of many factories of Greece that shut down in 1991, after 63 years of operations. In Sept 2015, this abandoned construction hosts mostly Afghans boys, aged between 16 and 22 years old, running from the Talibans.
They sleep, wash, eat and play inside and around the factory. They have reconstitute a temporary home by accommodating the space to their needs.

The boys favoured place is the roof of the building. From up there, they can have an eye on the port, make plans, visualise a future.

Each and every evening, they try to sneak into a truck to Italy. Few of them ever succeed.

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Big in Japan

Stories

Unwanted

Athens. March 2009. Overlooking the Acropolis, on a parcel of land just five minutes from the center,  Albanian Roma families living, since 2006 in filthy conditions, have made their houses out of planks and pieces of wood. There is no water, no electricity, no sewage network. The smell of plastic from burning wires covers the air.

This is the Votanikos settlement at Orfeos street. Forgotten for years, but yet remembered, as this piece of land the Albanian Roma families are sitting on, is private. Promoters and residents put pressure on the government to urge their removal from the area, as importants constructions plans are on the way. The law though is pretty clear: a removal without any suitable relocation is illegal.

A suitable relocation was never to be found and three years later, on the evening of the 14th of August 2012, day of the year when 99.9% of the athenian population is out of town, an intense smell of burning garbage together with toxic pollutants spread throughout the city of Athens.

According to the police, the fire broke out around 8pm within the Roma settlement and spread very quickly, completely destroying 80% of the hand-made houses. The fire department said that the fire was caused by the Roma themselves while trying to burn caoutchouc tires and cables. No-one bothered to investigate any further.

The images below are a glimpse of the settlement before it burnt to the ground.