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Published: March 12th 2006
Wood panels in front of a shrine
For my four-day weekend I decided to take off down to Kyushu. The original intention was to hike some more (possibly Aso-san, the largest caldera in the world) and meet up with my friend Jonathan. It quickly involved meeting up with many other people and turning into a fabulous trip...although I think I needed another vacation after!!! It included, hiking, shrines, boat cruises, drinking, dancing, street performers, hitching, a baseball game, and complete chaos....just the way I like it. Those random trips are the best.
I hit up Shimonoseki and had some incredible sushi. Then I headed down to Fukuoka to get lost amongst the shopping malls with the clothes I could not afford and meander along until I found some cool shrines to check out. I did see the largest wooden buddha in Japan. Looks like I beat the crowds too as I was the only one there ;-). I thought it was pretty cool. I really enjoyed Fukuoka as a city. It is bigger than Hiroshima with waterways througout the city. That night I went to a festival at some shrine and saw some incredible taiko drums. All the festivals are the same with tasty food stands and
Famous fish market offering oishii sushi
women in beautiful yukatas (summer kimonos). I still get interested/grossed out when i see a squid on a stick.
Later I met up with Stirling and some other Yamaguchi JETs for some quality drinking and all out dancing. An interesting part of the night was when I was dancing on this little platform next to this japanese girl. She was timid at first and I was trying to motion "come on, get into it." FYI most Japanese women cannot dance. This woman took me very seriously. Next thing I knew she whipped off her shirt and is dancing around in her bra. All I have to say is at least she loosened up a little bit. I started to have a dance off with some j-boys only to get my ass kicked. It was great to dance like that. I had not done that for a while. Stirling and I woke up at this Japanese girls house very hungover and went to the city center to meet up with Jonathan, part of our original Tokyo crew. This is where things just got a little more fun. We met up with 4 others: Revital, Aaron, Doug, and Brody. 6 of
Shimonoseki is famous for its Fugu. Fugu is blowfish. If it is cut the wrong way then it can kill you instantly. I ate fugu, but it was not the deadly kind. (deadly and expensive- so I steered clear!)
the 7 were from Cali, and 3 of the 6 graduated from Berkeley. I am not gonna lie, cali people just know how to do it. We all went to a baseball game and caused havic...HAVIC. Doug did a great job of of summing up the rest of the evening:
word up people. hope this email finds you well.
> good times on Saturday: for the record we: managed
> to do a 7-way mass introduction at
Cafe Halle Berry
> where we all, stereotypically,
stood up, shook
> hands, said "hello, it's nice to
meet you....how are
> you?....I'm fine thanks, and
you...? " and by doing
> that, we've only helped exposed
others to our fine,
> fine culture. THEN we got drunk on the bus to the
> game (at least I did) THEN we whored Revitals body
> to get tickets into the sold-out game THEN we got
> MORE drunk-er, THEN we chanted "lick, lick, lick my
> chode" and I yelled "womens oppression, REVERSE!!!"
> and I told a mean gaijin-hating man "your mom can't
> see" when he told me people behind me couldn't see.
> we THEN decided
to HITCH-HIKE from the game, 6
> minutes west to Tenjin--best move ever. I THEN tried
> to make out with random manicure-student-J-girl,
> since I was so inspired by Jonathans game, I though,
> everyone can just make out in Tenjin. I was wrong.
> THEN we jammed blues and jazz with the sent from
>Allah/Buddha/God/John Stewart/Stephen Hawkings
> powers from above, on the corner. THEN we found the
> best, cool, low-key-but-bumpin club in Tenjin
> (thanks Aaron..) THEN we got Drunk-er. THEN we went
> our seperate ways, I ate a raw egg in my ramen,
> Casey rode a mechanical horse at Cybac in the
> morning, Brody and I cackled at the site of
> cum-drooling J-porn and I, admittedly, bought a
> shirt from The Gap.
So Doug sums it up sooo nicely, yet forgets a few solid points of the evening. We ended up up sitting in the expensive
seats because we decided we did not want to sit in the cheap seats. So, when someone said we were in their seat,
we played musical chairs. At first we royally pissed off the j-folk. Then we became the star attractions
cheers as "lick my chode" and made Japanese people think 'the shocker' was the equivalent to a thumbs up. By the end of the night one Japanese man kept calling me Miss California. The next week he wrote me an email telling me to come back and go to another game with him. It was so funny. I swearwe are all going to hell for what we did at the baseball game.
I would like to point out that baseball games in Japan are not like the ones in America. They are more like football
games. People stand up and cheer the whole game. The entire stadium would chant the same cheers and have special
clappers. They all wore jerseys. There were flags going...even cheerleaders. In our drunkenness, we fit right in. At the
game they have beer girls that go around with a keg strapped to their backs. It would be a dream come true to to have a
keg backpack at a Cal football game. Stirling had the idea for me to try the pack on. So, next time a beer girl came around
I put the keg on my back along with the neon
hat. What an experience!
Another great story from the baseball game: Even though we are highly overpaid we decided to bring in our own alcohol and
avoid the overpriced beer found at any baseball game whichever country you are in. While sitting there with our cans of beer,
a stadium worker comes to us with paper cups. She tells us we are not allowed to have our own drinks in the stadium so we should
pour our drinks into these cups to hide our alcohol. We all look at each other and go "is this really happening" and then thought
"I can't wait to put this on my blog" since we all have one. Only in Japan would that happen. It was fabulous.
So by the end of the game we had won over the hearts of the Japanese around us and brainwashed them with the shocker.
We did not want to wait in the long line to get back to Tenjin so we hitch hiked in. it turned into a competition and my car won!
More on hitch-hiking later. After playing music with some street performers and dancing at a club we slept at an internet cafe.
Squid on a stick anyone?
are the hostels of big cities. In japan you think capsule hotels....well the internet cafe is cheaper. for 15 bucks you can crash on a couch
for 7 hours, plus free drinks, massage chairs (hence the mechanical horse) and cheap showers. Fabulous! Will Never forget the whole evening.
Not to waste a day, I got up and headed to Daiszafu to see the original capital of Kyushu. There were some neat shrines and old buildings.
I thought Hiroshima was humid. Kyushu was by far more humid than Hiroshima!
I finished the afternoon in a town called
Yanagawa where I went on a river canal
cruise, similar to the stuff in venice
Italy, yet I was in Japan. I called
today my "Japanese Tourist Day"
because I did stuff that Japanese
people do, not foreigners visiting
Japan. I was the only gaijin for
miles in Yanagawa. For example, there were other boats going in the opposite direction as us and one man made a comment how he wanted to be on our boat because it had the foreigner! I thought it
was so fun. I live for moments like
the Yanagawa canal cruise.
Was a beautiful evening
last day, Stirling and I hiked Hiko-san. It is a giant mountain in one of Kyushu's national parks. At first we hesitated because
of the rain, yet forged ahead. The moutain is very sacred and has shrines all over the place. There are forests of old trees and huge sequoias.
You know me and hiking....I was in absolute Heaven. Hiking in such beautiful places gives me the ultimate high. I could not have been
happier. I would like to mention that the Lonely Planet book called this an 'easy' hike, yet it was as hard as any hike I have done in america.
Toward the end of the hike I was scaling rocks
holding onto chains. On the way down it poured on us. To continue the hitch hiking them we hitch hiked from the base of the mountain to the train station. That was interesting too- Stirling and I were covered in mud and water, and the one car to pick up us was a brand new toyota 4 runner- yet they didn't seem to mind.
What an experience. We arrived
back in Shimonoseki where I parted ways with
Stirling and headed
back to Kabe. I pulled into my
Stirling getting funky at the club called the Happy Cock
house at 1 am.
Talk about using
my nennkyu (paid vacation) to the fullest.
My weekend in Kyushu gave me the biggest
rush and reinvigorated
why I am here...to travel and just go all out.
I loved the people I
met and the stuff I saw. We all might meet
again for the Sake festival
just outside of Hiroshima. What debauchery
will come of that no one
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