Up the mountain I went, dodging spiders left and right. At first it was so tranquil with the sound of a nearby river, but soon the scary Japanese crows that sound like laughing demons came. I started to get a little freaked out, but I made it out alive and came into this beautiful place:
I wish I could adjust the contrast on this bad boy cause I love the picture...oh well.
The sun began to set and I had to make my way back to the train station before it got too dark and all the REALLY nasty bugs came out.
Lately I've been feeling a longing for some nature. I live in the downtown area of Fukuoka, and very rarely ventured from the streets filled with restaurants, clothing stores, and pachinko parlors. Yesterday I decided instead of going out to eat, I would venture alone into the country side. Turns out it was a lot closer than I thought. Only took about 20 minutes by the local train. Probably about 5 by the express.
When I first got to my stop I was a little concerned when I saw the mas amounts of power cables above the city gate. But all that was needed was a 5 minute walk to reach a giant park full of people playing sports with their kids, running with their dogs, and this kid, practicing his trombone skills.
Behind the park were a few narrow streets with old fashioned houses and scattered shrines like this one.
Walk a little farther up the hill and city streets become old tattered roads dotted with quaint little farms.
Past the farm land lies a beautiful forest trail leading up a mountain. Thats not mist, just some farmer burning trash on his farm.
Ok here's where it gets a bit scary. In Japan any area that has trees is guaranteed to be filled...FILLED with the biggest, nastiest spiders I have ever seen. These things are absolute giants, and if you look up into the sky you can usually find about 6 or 7 of them hanging out over your head. I am not exaggerating. They are everywhere.
I managed to be able to get right up on one with my macro lens. That's right, no zooming here baby. My hand was about an inch away from satan himself. There are 2 different types. This one with the fat body, and one with a not quite so fat, but extra long body. Both are equally frightening.
This blog is dedicated to Rolando, and Sean (they have the same return policy here as well bro)
Living in the city, there's plenty of American influence to be found. Mc Donalds, Starbucks (there are 2 right a cross the street from each other, I keep meaning to take a picture), Kinko's, etc. But drive out into the countryside, and you find something truly surreal:
Everything from the brands to layout is EXACTLY the same. The only difference is the signs are all written in Japanese.
I went with my friend Hanaka who lived in America for 4 years. She speaks perfect English, but speaks in Japanese 99% of the time to me to help me learn. I wish I was that nice.
Even the pizza is the same size. You could never find pizza this big at a normal Japanese restaurant.
In Japanese, what we call a scarf, is a muffler. (think spanish vowel sounds)MA-FU-RA.
Brutal best descibes the summers in Japan. Various sicknesses are named after summer to give you an idea. The last 4 months have been "sweat until you look like you just jumped in a lake...5 minutes after you walk out your door" hot. So when the weather turned cold without warning, giving me a chance to don a warm scarf, I was STOKED! Hisashiburi mafura san!Long time no see, Mr. Scarf! I didn't own one, so I went to Hanjiro, the used clothing shop, and bought one for the (in Japan) fabulously cheap price of 5 bucks. Best bang for my buck since I came here. Maji desu. Seriously.
To celebrate the cold my friend Nori and I went to starbucks to paint and draw some peektchars outside on the deck. It had been a long time since I last sat at a cafe and drew with a friend. Nori is really into chaotic abstract expression as you can tell. I don't really understand it, but it looks fun.
An interesting character, Nori is. He spent a year in New York...homeless, paying for food by selling paitings and getting the odd job at a moving company. Lived in parks around the city, where he learned some pretty vile slang (which he likes to use a LOT). Its always a bit odd to hear Japanese use bad words, cause I know they don't really understand why they're bad. It just sounds...unnatural.
The painting session was followed by ramen at the famous (in Fukuoka) Ippudo Ramen. BARI BARI UME!!!!DELICIOUS!!! When you finish your first bowl of Ramen, you can order Kaedama, which is another helping of noodles that you put in the broth thats left over. Usually 100 Yen, or about 85 cents. An incredible deal.
I've never been the cleanest person (a nicer way of saying Im a complete slob), but in Japan its a little harder to keep the mess to a minimum.
I have still not figured out how to dispose of plastic bottles, and those who know me know I drink an abnormal amount of liquid. Water doesn't come in convenient 5 gallon jugs here. You buy it by the 2 liter bottle at most stores. This pictures doesnt do it justice, but I have about 50 of these 2 liter bottles sitting by my front door. It really is quite the pathetic site.
Japanese have a tough time with L and R. So I can understand (although why they didn't just take 10 seconds to look it up, I don't know...EVERYONE has those electronic dictionaries). Who doesn't love flesh fish. Reminds me of home.
But Mand Handicaft? What the?
And make sure you boil those vegetables for a long time so they lose all their flavor and nutrional benefits right?
I swear I was in America last night. There is not a single thing here to bring about thoughts of Japan. Except the Japanese people.
This place has 2 ferris wheels that run from morning till evening everyday, but no one rides them. Japan is huge on energy conservation. No really, they are.