Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hammy's 2005 Trip To Korea And Japan - Nov 24th

Japanese apartment carpark. I love the way that they save space with these things and the fact that your car can be parked underground. Should be more of this in the world.

One rather small car park.

People smoke inside restaurants - how disgusting. Nobody talks on the bus - quite the opposite from Korea. On the bus you pay for exactly the distance that you travel - the ultimate user-pays society.

Yusentei Koen (park) was magnificent. It was a short walk from Keiko's house and surprisingly she has never visited. There was a lot of confusion at the ticket office as the lady didn't speak English, had given us a discount anyway, and didn't have the right change. She had to call someone else to run down with some change. We were only charge 160 Yen (A$2) each for entry. They had so many koi (carp) and some were huge. Spent close to an hour walking around the private garden. Absolutely delightful.

Yusentei Koen is magnificent.

Koi - and there were lots of them. When the local river was poisoned and the koi died Yusentei Koen offered them some of their own koi.

Silent contemplation - alright, it's posing.

Office space you can rent.

The bus was a bit confusing but not too much. We stopped near Canal City and had a lok at a shopping mall across the road. There we found the fabulous 100 Yen Shop and another shop carrying lovely crockery. In Canal City we had lunch in Chanto restaurant - karaage (780 Yen) and katsudon (880 Yen). Quite reasonably priced and peppermint tea was good. Water features at Canal City are spectacular.

Careful how you park your Beemer.

Japanese-style eatery.

Stupid name for a shop - DOPE.

The 100 Yen Shop - my kind of place. Now that Japan has a consumption tax of 5% they need to rename it The 105 Yen Shop. False advertising really.

Vending machine for lunch. Well, the lunch ticket at least. Obviously no need for waitstaff in this joint. Takes the personal touch of out it a bit, don't you think?

Lunch - bit plasticky.

Toilet sign.

Christmas Tree at Canal City.

Somebody having their wedding photos taken with a fantastic water fountain in the backgound. This happens every day at Canal City.

Sexy Play Zone. Hmmm.

What a strange country. Smoking is permitted inside of restaurants but there was one restaurant where smoking was NOT permitted OUTSIDE!

We wandered down towards Fukuoka Station but stopped one street short. Miky got upset with me and we caught a bus. Of course we went straight past the train station, didn't we? I had to ask the driver if we had passed the station - bit of a waste of 200 Yen. I did know where I was. Caught the train, after getting some help from the station office (very helpful and friendly), and it was an express. Our plan was to change at Fukutsukaichi and board a train for Dazaifu, an old capital and our intended destination. I accidently got us to jump on the train to Daizenji instead of Dazaifu (they start with the same letters, don't they) and wondered why the other train at the station, also a local train, was heading to Dazaifu as well. After the two stops we needed to go, which should have placed us at the terminus, I soon realised that we were on the wrong train.

Did I get the lecture about how a particular person's life was ruined and how the holiday was being wrecked and what a waste of a day, etc, etc. No names mentioned. Managed to right the wrong fairly quickly and we arrived about 30 minutes later than planned. Grabbed a tourist map and off we went to experience all that Dazaifu had to offer.

Torii galore in Dazaifu


First stop was the very special garden at Komyozenji and boy was it crowded. Even I made a donation. I visited this place in '96 and I was glad to return with a digital camera so that I could take as many photos as I wanted. Miky even took the camera and got a bit snap-happy. One photo shows the people lined up to take photos of the garden. It is a special place.




Photo of people taking photos at Komyozenji


The front of Komyozenji

Then we walked over to Dazaifu Tenmangu which is the main temple. There was a ceremony going on and I took a few pics of a little girl all dressed up including footwear that made it almost impossible for her to walk. We bought a few things as gifts and the gold finish on the buddhas was wonderful.

Entrance to Dazaifu Tenmangu

Nice gate

Free drinks

Poser drinking

Christmas wishlisht or prayers?

Messages. Not quite sure what for. If you do please feel free to fill me in.

The shrine at Dazaifu Tenmangu

Gold everywhere

Cute kid all dressed up for the ceremony that took place.

Shops and autumn leaves

Another toilet sign.

Asian toilet without seat. No rest for the wicked. Yu-Jin hates using these.

Having a National Museum coupon we decided to visit. The poor lady at the ticket office checked all of her coupons and needed her glasses before realising that we were in the wrong place. We had actually visited the World of National Treasures by mistake. She still gave us a discount! Some fabulous calligraphy, swords, armoured suits and perhaps an emporer's caboose.

Lots of shopping followed as it is quite a tourist area. Caught the correct trains back to Fukuoka Tenjin. Tried to ring Keiko but kept getting a message. I asked the info desk girl for some help as we didn't know if the phone was working properly or not. It was certainly taking our money! She telephoned to see if she could help us but they wouldn't let her leave the booth. By the time I returned to Miky she had finally contacted Keiko and she came 25 minutes later.

How do you make sense of this? It's the type of thing that we were faced with all the time. Luckily it would change to Romaji soon enough.

Japanese-style shopping trolley. They're big on miniature in this country.

We caught the bus to Daiei - a shopping centre/department store. Bought lots of food for tea. Mariko met us in the shop and drove us home and had tea with us. Yu-Jin, being only five, rides on public transport for free. Downloaded photos onto the computer. Watched a show about Seiko Matsuda. You may remember her as a teenage pop singer who went by the name of Seiko.

Miky finds the trains and telephones to be very frustrating as there is no English and she doesn't know any Japanese. I like her style in this case as she just speaks English and it appears to get the job done more easily as the Japanese are put on the backfoot and have to speak English.

There was a bit of rain in the morning. First thing we took Robby the dog for a walk - Kiyoko, Yu-Jin and myself. Robby goes nuts at motorbikes and even scooters. Dumb dog can't tell the difference. Yu-Jin lost him a couple of times when he went nuts. Our walk took an hour and was very refreshing.

Yu-Jin taking Robby for a walk.

Nice garden. I quite like the way the Japanese look after their gardens so why don't we have a few photos dedicated to them.

Nice garden.

Nice garden.

Nice garden.

Nice garden.

Nice garden.

Nice garden from above but perhaps it's a bit overgrown.

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