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Published: April 26th 2015
Fast train to Fukuoka
Sounds like a Lonnie Donnegon song.
Day 11. The return home. First leg.
A lazy start to the day. A buffet breakfast where everyone chose scrambled egg and hash browns. Fish in abeyance for a while, as was sleeping on the floor - we hope. The SurfJet was away promptly on a smooth sea in brilliant sunshine where we had to endure an American baseball game on the screen where there was more posing than action. Along the way we saw about a dozen fins sticking out of the water and swimming around, maybe Dolphins, we could not see. The ferry stands up in the water and whizzes along at a rare speed being propelled by a jet engine and leans over nicely as it spins into harbour - quite impressive. The Japanese have some quite technological kit around. They drive very small economical cars, have good roads with NO potholes anywhere and drive some very clean, well looked after lorries. Just about all the drivers are very courteous and cycling is a safe way to travel. We are in a minority, of course, on light bikes and most people look on our movement at speed in a perplexed manner. The local buses have a system of
payment whereby you get an automatic ticket as you enter the bus which has your bus stop number, starting at 1 where the bus starts. As you pass each stop a getting off price appears, on a large board at the front, under the stop number where you got on. This keeps increasing as you continue your journey and you then pay as you get off. You drop the correct amount into a chute. If you need a note changing you put the note into a slot and it gives out the value in change.
Once in Kagoshima a quick taxi ride to the railway station and we grabbed lunch before boarding the Fast Train to Fukuoka. It rushed through the countryside at a terrific pace of around 250k per hour dashing from one tunnel to the next. Japan is such a hilly country that if they see a hill they drill through it, as the Norwegians do. I suppose it is the only way for a train since if it had to follow the valleys at high speed it would derail. Two hours later and we had travelled almost the length of the island to Fukuoka and the Richmond
Hotel. Outside the hotel was a four storey electrical shop that was absolutely colossal selling everything you could ever imagine. Tonight was a change of diet. Instead of fish we went to the railway station food court and had noodles with pork, which was a nice change. Tomorrow will be back to earth with fish, chips and gravy.
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