Edit Blog Post
Published: August 3rd 2015
And so, after some two plus weeks, it was time to bid farewell to wonderful Korea, and say hello to enigmatic Japan, as I took the overnight Camellia passenger ferry from Busan to Fukuoka. Long ferry trips always cause some apprehension in my mind, given my past less-than-pleasant experiences in the likes of Myanmar and Indonesia, but I was of course fairly confident that this would be a much more comfortable trip. And how so! Despite purchasing the cheapest available 2nd class ticket, which pretty much entitled me to just a mattress in a room, the ferry ride was as pleasant as I could have conceivably hoped for, and I arrived in Fukuoka satisfied and hoping it's a sign of good things to come.
Fukuoka is considered a relatively large Japanese city, and certainly the largest in Kyushu, but it probably doesn't feature on the radar of first-time Japanese visitors. I'm not exactly a first-time visitor to the country myself, but I might as well be, considering my last visits to Tokyo and Osaka were literally decades ago when I was still just a boy. Nevertheless, Fukuoka wouldn't realistically have been on my list of places to visit, apart from
Traditional Fukuoka Yamakasa
A team of loincloth-wearing locals lift this on their shoulders and race around town about 5km for 30 minutes every year in an annual traditional festival.
the fact that it's the disembarkation point for the ferry from Busan in Korea, and therefore a natural place for me to spend a couple of days.
The city itself is pleasant, as one would expect I suppose from pretty much any Japanese city. The first thing that struck me however -- where are all the side dishes in the meals? Just miso soup and pickles? I'd been spoiled so thoroughly in Korea in this aspect that even wonderful Japanese cuisine seems a bit of a come down. I guess I'll just have to get used to it. Another come down -- the relatively less preponderance of cashless/ electronic payment systems, which only serves to accentuate how far the Koreans are on this matter, even when pitted against the Japanese who have a reputation of course for technological advancement and hyper-modernity. My first meal in Fukuoka was at one of the local Yoshinoya branches, and I was slightly dismayed to find they did not accept credit cards, and in fact still gave change using an old-fashioned looking coin dispenser, something that might not look completely out of place in a 1950s style American diner.
And what happened to
all the cafes? You mean you don't have dozens of them on every block? Yes, every country now other than Korea will have to take some getting used to. But I'm now experiencing for myself the legendary Japanese politeness and hospitality, even more than Korea, and somewhat pleasantly surprising also, a seemingly more pervasive knowledge (even if somewhat rudimentary) of English. Prices also haven't been too crazy (thanks in no small part to the currently weak yen), as I'd long been led to believe. Minus points though for smoking even in some air-conditioned areas! (Do you want to go down the Indonesia path?)
Stayed at Hotel Cabinas.
Tot: 0.067s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 11; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0101s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb