Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fukuoka, Japan - Part 1

Time to visit another country.  Japan.  We decide to go to Fukuoka because it's cool harbor city, it's close, we have friends there, and flights are cheap. We take a subway to the airport in Incheon (satellite city of Seoul).  I must say, that Incheon has the most beautiful airport in the world.  It is state-of-the-art, efficient, and it looks like I'm in some sort of futuristic city.

Clearly better than the Regina airport.
There is also a skating rink in the airport.  As a Canadian, I definitely approve:

Probably cost them millions of dollars to put this in, and I have one two blocks away from me in Regina.
This was all in the Subway terminal at the airport.  They even had a simulation where you could drive the actual subway routes in Seoul.  It is unsurprisingly very easy to drive a subway, but it would get boring very fast.

How do you shoot?
All right, I'm getting off track here (pun intended).  So we hop on a plane to Fukuoka.  The airport code is hilarious, and all our baggage had the label on it.  I'm trying to keep this blog family friendly so I won't post the word.  Google it.  Anyways... 1 hour flight and we made another successful trip with our little monster. 

Our little world traveller.
Just a quick side note.  I'm very impressed with my wife's Japanese.  She spoke to an older Japanese women who took a liking to Hannah, and the woman actually thought she was Japanese, not Korean.  Thank you honey for studying so hard... this mini trip was much more enjoyable because you spoke the local language!

We check into our Hotel and we are quite surprised, in a good way.  Firstly, it is in a prime location.  A block away from a small subway station, and just a short 15 minute walk to Hakata station.  Secondly, it is very old, but, very gorgeous:

Bonzai style trees all over this place.
The Ryokan (hostel with private rooms) is over 90 years old, but in unbelievable condition.  It was only $50 a night and for Japan, that is insanely cheap.  The only catch was that we had to share a bathroom with the floor, and the bath is a public bath house (men and women separated of course).  I shared a bath with an Italian dude that was travelling the world.  He spoke perfect English and was a delight to talk to.  Had many stories and said he'd like to visit Canada someday. Yes, sitting naked in a big bath talking with other men seems weird at first, but for this European, he probably does this often.    

The rooms are amazing too.  They are traditionally decorated rooms with some modern upgrades.  The floor is this padded bamboo weave that is amazing to sleep on.  Yes, there are no beds as per Japanese culture (most of Asia, actually).  The modern upgrades were a mini fridge, A/C, and a flat screen tv.

I feel very Japanese in this room.
After dropping off our loot, we go to the Subway station to meet our friends Masafumi and Kana.  They are a cute couple who took ESL in Regina, and came all the way out from one of the satellite cities to show us around Fukuoka.  They spoke very good English so Sohee didn't need to speak much Japanese to them (for my benefit, as I only know two words).  The first place they take us is to Canal City, which is a huge circular like mall with many floors.

Don't jump.
It also has Ramen Stadium which is famous in Fukuoka.  8 specially selected Ramen restaurants are chosen and this has become one of the most famous spots for eating Ramen.

So many choices, I wish I had more stomachs.
If you are thinking: "Ewww, ramen is gross. I ate too much of that stuff in College".  Well this is totally different.  Not even in the same universe.  Firstly, the noodles are not fried.  They are hand made and boiled.  You can also order them soft, medium, or hard... much like ordering a steak.  Sohee and I bought the Tonkotsu style (boiled in pork bone broth and very famous in Fukouka).  Just look at that deliciousness.  The ramen noodles are at the bottom.  The pork slices on the side are devine, and the egg has a perfect soft yolk.

I could eat this everyday.
Hannah immensely enjoyed this meal.  She made quite a mess, but the staff was really cool and understanding of this little animal.

Canal City also has an arcade, so naturally, I have to go.  Japan has a huge arcade culture here, and it was amazing to see all the games and such.  Masafumi and I played this 2 player boat shooting game which was all in 3D (no glasses either), the chairs moved, and you got a shot of compressed air if you got hit.  It was very awesome.  They also have a ton (literally half of the arcade) of these crane games where you pick up prizes.

 They also had an entire floor of these photo booths where you can take silly pictures with your friends.  They even have an enhancement (like built-in Photoshop) where they make your eyes big.  Haha.

Sohee being silly.
There is a big emphasis on being cute here, hence all the pink and cute drawings around.  We get the natural photo with a few enhancements.  I took this photo from Masafumi and Kana's facebook, so hopefully they don't mind that I post it here.

This is so silly, but so much fun!
 Before heading out, we stop and catch the tail end of the fountain show.  It was really cool as it was timed with music and the water would shoot up super high.

 The KFC nearby might just be the most beautiful KFC in the world, with front row seats to the fountain show:

No Toonie Tuesday???  
We then all head back to the hotel to have a couple of drinks.  Masafumi and Kana buy me this Japanese soju (Soju is a famous Korean sweet potato alcoholic beverage).  It is very strong, but very delicious and smooth.  The beer was recommended by Masafumi and was also refreshing.  It's nice to have a cold beer with friends after a long, hot day of walking.

The powers combined to make me superhuman.
Unbelievable... To think... this was just all one day.  Fukuoka is amazing.  I might need 3 parts for Japan. Stay tuned for Part 2.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great update. Great blog of the trip thus far. Thanks for taking the time every so often to update us on the great trip that it looks like you are having.