Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 05 2017

Back to Kyushu

Though Yahoo weather still forecasted rain, the day dawned clear and brilliant. It was nice staying in a higher-end hotel, even though it was purely because we couldn’t find any other hotel with rooms on that date. The Google Maps walking route was a farce, however; the hotel wasn’t really that far from downtown. It just seemed that way, we found as we walked over to Kokura’s castle, which is actually a replica of the original castle built there in 16-something. It was actually built in the 1950’s. Still, it was interesting, with a rather silly video presentation, and the grounds were lovely in the bright daylight. I watched several men trying out the plastic samurai swords in the gift shop, mockingly threatening to cut down their girlfriends, while Chenbl shopped for cat-themed washcloths. We then caught an elderly woman rifling through our bags for some reason (nothing was missing).

After we were done with the castle, we walked over to the river, where a full-on German-themed beer festival was underway in the summer-like heat. An older white man was blowing the saxophone in a way that caused me to momentarily wonder if Sandman had stowed away in my luggage, but no, he was part of an expat band. The Ramblers really should look into that gig.

Chenbl and I got some sausages and clams, and paid a 1,000-yen deposit on a glass of mango beer (“Otherwise, I’d lose all my glasses,” the white dude at the stall said), and sat down by the river to eat it. It wasn’t bad. We then walked across another bridge to the city’s old market, which is located along a canal. Most of the shops are actually over the canal, and the light coming into the rear windows was nearly lovely enough to make me just walk into the backrooms of the stores, but I refrained. The neighboring alleys were home to many restaurants that were currently closed. I was liking Kokura quite a lot more in the light of day than I had the night before.

But we didn’t linger, though I would have liked to. Maybe I’ll come back someday for some real exploration. Instead, we went to the rocket-ship-esque main station and caught a train back out to Mojiko, where we toured some of the old buildings. One of them’s claim to fame was the fact that a young Albert Einstein and his wife stayed there in 1922. Half of the second floor was dedicated to Things Einstein Had Done Things In. Everyone was walking around carrying their shoes in plastic bags due to The Rules.

We walked over by the harbour, and I sat outside talking to an old Japanese man while Chenbl shopped and the daylight faded. It was getting cool as we walked up into the more pedestrian part of town, looking at the old empty houses that lined some of the alleys. Then it was time to leave; Chenbl went to buy tickets while I went down to the seaside to say goodbye to the place.

We caught a train back to Fukuoka, and promptly fell asleep on the train before realizing that we needed to transfer to a faster train at Moji Station. Of course, we didn’t, and as a result stayed on the slow train that stopped. At. Every. Damn. Stop, making what would have been a half-hour trip more like two hours long. So I slept, took photos of other passengers and the conductor, and updated my Instagram a bit. It was late by the time we pulled into Fukuoka Station, and after a subway ride and time spent buying stuff, the only thing open for dinner was the food stands. Unfortunately, we were served food with rather unpleasant seasonings. But beggars can’t be choosers. We’re at our hotel now, not a great hotel, but not poorly located. Again, no idea what we’re going to do tomorrow, which is our last full day here.

posted by Poagao at 11:43 pm  

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