Eleanor Roosevelt – My Day: August 22-31

August 23, 1955

“TOKYO, Aug. 23—The other morning we went to the big fish market, which is really quite a sight. There were enormous pieces of tuna fish, fascinating green crabs and more fish of every size, shape and description than I have ever seen. They hold an auction early in the morning for the big retailers of fish. After this the public can walk through the aisles or booths and buy what they want or go to the little shops in the neighboring streets where the price might be a little more but still would be moderate. I saw a man sweeping up small pieces of fish from the floor in the big market that had dropped from the stands, and Mrs. Matsumoto said that he probably took those scraps and sold them in a cheap market for poor people. This seemed to me rather appalling and certainly not very sanitary.

When we left the market we visited a cultured-pearl merchant where we saw an infinite variety of pearls and tried to tell the difference between them. I finally decided that the value of a pearl depends on what an individual personally likes. I was told that pearls with a pink luster had been the most popular pearls until recently, now gray ones were more in vogue. However, my preference is still for ones with the pinkish color.

We lunched at International House and I was glad to see some of my friends who helped to plan my activities when I was here two years ago. Later we went to the museum and saw some interesting archeological finds dating back to the sixth century B.C., most of which were found in burial mounds. We also had a glimpse of lovely textiles and then saw some screens and drawings of a later period. We dined in the evening with our ambassador, Mr. John M. Allison, and his wife, and I asked the ambassador some of the questions I had put to my Japanese friends at luncheon. I was glad to find that he felt much the way they did on the subject of Japanese reactions to America.”

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