Just another PTraveler day in Fukuoka
Settling into Japan wasn’t much of a challenge. We live in Fukuoka – the largest city on Kyushu Island. Our apartment is right in the centre of Tenjin. A modern distrcit with boutiques, eateries, clubs and bars. We don’t need to use the metro to get to… well anywhere really and Fukuoka is a very walk-able city, too.
Not as big as Tokyo – Fukuoka has only 1,5 million inhabitants – but with all the comforts.
Like vending machines.
If you look at the variety – non of it is Coke! Japanese vending machines are the best in the world. I am wondering why they never caught on in Europe. Well, maybe because in European cities… vandalism would finish these off in no time.
This looks like a shop window.
Our first drink at the airport, after we had just landed in Fukuoka. Calpis (カルピス – Karupisu) is an uncarbonated soft drink made of fermented milk. The old school classic!
This is a good choice, if you like Yakult.
Another Japanese institution that is influencing our life is the Japanese convenience store, called conbini. There is Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Lawson and many more. Outside our building, within a radius of 100 meters, we have four different conbinis (this is normal in Japan)! On days we don’t go out, it provides pretty good breakfasts and dinners.
Breakfast. Never without soft tofu and mango or blueberries.
Dinner. The corn, the pasta, the side salad, the (already hot!) tea and the fish bento. All from the conbini!
Anyway, today we have had the opportunity to join a barbecue organised by the couchsurfing community at Odo Park. Location: Odo 2-chome, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka.
The place was perfect for a barbecue but the weather… wasn’t.
Orange trees in the rain.
We met a few new people, many like-minded travelers and it was fun despite the drops. Punk rocker Takkun’s BBQs are becoming an establishment in Fukuoka! The next one is in October but we will be in Tokyo already.
On our way back, we stopped at Kotokuji Shrine. The temple was established in 1260, holding a silk-robed statue of the head priest of the time, called Kokushi. According to a legend, a storm hit Kokushi‘s ship when he was returning from China but a white rabbit – which the priest had saved in China previously – transformed into a dragon and helped him to return safely.
I can understand why totally spaced out anime stories come from Japan!
Location: 5 Chome, Meinohama, Nishi-ku.
The shrine was really beautiful and relaxing. It had a pond with an ancient stone bridge.
The temple grounds are always neatly swept and cleared of leaves. We left a lot of footprints!
We walked up a small hill, passing Buddha statues.
There was a cemetery.
Family and friends leave open cans of favourite beverages of the deceased, so they can readily be consumed by the person who died. A very different concept of death than in my home countries, Germany and Poland.
It felt like autumn was to arrive soon. Yet there were so many mosquitoes getting the best of our bodies. I counted 20 bites!
Another fascinating thing about Japan is that inbetween a prevalent architectural picture of square block buildings, shopping malls and temples, you will find European inspired structures. When I saw this, together with the poor weather conditions one question came to mind: “Are we in England, luv?”
We like to treat ourselves at conbinis on the way. Japan’s desserts have French/Italian sounding names. If you see something called Cherie Dolce – it will be delicious! Macha tiramsu. I love green tea (but more as a sweet bite than tea actually).
Then we shared a green tea bean mochi.
I also like the Uchi Café dessert series from the conbini. It is so amazing to be in a convenience store but to be able to buy boutique café confectioneries.
After two too many cakes, we took a stroll through the city, passing Naka and Hakata river to get to another bright area of Fukuoka – Hakata.
We passed the red light district and were given dubious offers to use establishments.
Fukuoka is known fro its moveable yatai stalls – ramen stands and yakitori food vendors – which set up every day to feed Japanese salary men at dusk . You can find many by the Naka river.
A huge Japanese kawaii creature was sitting on a building and texting on his pink phone. Japan at its best.
We visited Canal City at night. A multimillion investment to build a shopping-entertainment-food oasis. Featuring many Hakata ramen restaurants at its Ramen Stadium.
In Japan Fukuoka is famous for its beautiful women (Hakata bijin) and for its bowls of Hakata noodles (ramen). The best stand is run by this man.
I was wondering if this sign is actually telling passers-by to protect themselves from the fountain drizzle? It sure would be the precautions Japanese way to do it.
Fukuoka is currently preparing for Halloween. The city has been decorated with pumpkins and you can buy Halloween themed Hello Kitty doughnuts. A pumpkin was being installed at the fountain as we watched Canal City’s fountain show.
The fountain symphony! Every hour from 10.00-22.00.
One of the strangest attractions is purikura – a photo-booth parlour, transforming gorgeous Japanese girls into cutsey dolls with big eyes.
I did my fair share of Purikura posing in Tokyo’s Harajuku and let me tell you, it is not easy to do kawaii! Strange but definitely a fun girly-Japanese thing to try.
Eh, this is not how I ‘made cute‘.
The intended result shall look something like this. Big eyes, long lashes, long nose, big lips. It is funny but I have actually been complimented on my ‘long’ nose in Japan. Hilarious! I also get asked if my blue eyes are real (Japan is already living in the future world of exchangeable body parts – coloured lenses are part of kawaii make up…)
And another fascinating feature made in Japan, I revisited that day. The futuristic toilet. This is just the panel. Adjust water pressure, choose between bidet or spray functions, engage the powerful deodorizer. All just one click away. The volume buttons regulate the loudness of the flushing sound, masking out business. Japanese ladies are very discreet.
That is a good way to end a post in Japan, right? Tomorrow, I will be reporting back from a Japanese sushi chain where we are going to have dinner tonight (one more time because it is sooo good)…