Last Tuesday, the school took us on a field trip around the city. I had, prior to arriving at the designated meeting spot, believed we were going to be subway-ing, bus-ing, and walking our way through the city. Thankfully, as we all rushed to make it on time, we came face to face with the wonderful site of a coach bus parked by the one cafeteria on campus.
I was thrilled because I had made the unfortunate decision to wear jeans because I thought it was going to be ugly and rainy because at the time a typhoon was supposed to be striking the next morning. Sadly, the sky was absolutely clear and the day was sunny and hot as all get out. I regretted my decision immediately, but we had no time to change so when I saw that bus I thought heaven had handed me a small gift.
Sadly, beyond our first stop and our third, most of what we did involved walking outside.
Anyway, our first stop was the Fukuoka Tower, which is beautiful from the outside and the fifth floor (it isn’t just five floors, but they only have five usable floors the others are empty/nonexistent) has amazing views of the city.
The views were amazing and I took way too many photos. The above is just a small fraction. The fourth floor was designed specifically for couples which is why Katie and I just HAD to sit ourselves down and take romantic photos on the “Lovers’ Bench.”
We also found it super important to take a picture in the gigantic heart garland–Becuase there is a ton of love happening all over the place, man.
We also spent 1000yen on a couples locket for our ‘family’ so everyone wrote their initials on the one side then the date on the other. We then secured it forever in one of the designated areas. Yup, thats right–my adopted Japanese family so like… a real thing. We even took family photos but that will be its own post.
Next we went to a Budhist temple famous for its rather large wooden Buddha (which we were not allowed to take photos of but which was super cool!). It was extremely beautiful and I bought my first lot of souvenirs for family and friends in the form of protective charms.
One of the most interesting aspects of the temple was in the room with the giant Buddha. If you walk to the left side of the platform that the Buddha was raised up on there was a door. Walking into the door brought you into a long halway. On the left side of the hallway were very intricate pictures of Hell and demons and eventually you had to exit the hallway through a super dark and terrifying winding passage that brought you back to the Buddha room.
We couldn’t take pictures of the paintings but they were so so so cool and also so terrifying. By the time you came back the Buddha you were filled with relief and thankfulness. It was at that point that I bought the protective charms. Go figure.
Anyway, after that we adventured around the rest of the temple and I got some great pictures:
Next we headed to lunch, which was quite a drive away in a more rural/suburban area of the city. It was an all you can eat buffet that also had a burner in the table where you could grill thin slices of meat for yourself. It was really delicious!!
The buffet had everything from an entire area of raw meat to sushi to croquets to yakisoba to… like… anything. It was all yummy!!! The meat was its own yummy adventure.
For dessert they had cakes, pudding, ice cream, soft serve and even cotton candy machine–You make your own!
Here is the lovely Katelyn eating her cotton candy.
Next we went to the Kyushu museum, which was partially up a mountain which is why the restaurant was in a super rural area.
The museum was amazing and filled with really amazing historical items (including a giant anchor!!) and filled with terrible English translations of the context blurbs.
Sadly, we couldn’t take pictures, but I snapped the following of the lobby and outside the exhibit:
Attached to the museum was an escalator path that led to a Shinto shrine (Dazaifu) and a long street of shops. The shrine was beautiful and I particularly loved the three bridges that lead to the shrine. The first bridge symbolized your past and was curved, the second was the present and was flat, the third was your future and was curved. Our tour guide and one of our advisors kept telling us that if someone called our name behind us on the first bridge that we shouldn’t look back–since it was our past and all.
Once in the shrine we washed our hands so we could go pray.
Praying involved walking up the shrine, throwing in some money, ringing the bell, then bowing twice, clapping twice, making your wish, then bowing for a last time. The god of this shrine was a god of studying so we were asked to make study based wishes!
I then proceeded to buy even more charms and good luck things for family and friends and then we all walked to the street with all the shops where I proceeded to sink money on chopsticks for someone, a Kokeshi doll for me, and shaved ice (remember it was hot as anything… Katelyn nearly passed out from heat exhaustion! Okay–maybe not that bad, but I was close to overheating.)
The day ended with Katie and I in my room with Katie’s new best friend, Batt– Her “good luck studying” octopus. His name is Batt because on his head is the word “Ganbatte” which means “Do your best!” so I picked Batt.
It works, I swear!
Any way, more stuff to come soon!!! I promise!