Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Well, Fukuoka too!

Fukuoka Tower: an extended middle finger across the Korea Strait

I like Douglas Adams, but I never got into his 'Meaning of Liff' thing, which tries to appropriate existing place names to stand for a feeling or mood. It always felt to me like a radio show's novelty phone-in segment that went too far. But of all the places I've visited these past 18 months, Fukuoka comes the closest to encapsulating the experience in the name.

When I get back on board the Beetle ferry and the harbour fades into the mist, it would seem entirely appropriate to exhale an exhausted, drawn-out 'Fuk-u-oka.'

As soon as I arrived I was interviewed at length by customs, which hasn't happened since Israel. They even went through my notebook (what next? Checking through this blog? I'm screwed) and laughed at some of my pathetic attempts to copy kanji writing. I think they were just keeping themselves busy, really - there were only two other foreign arrivals on the boat and they were just boring Koreans, not exotic like me. But combined with the rain and getting lost down confusing alleys (even by Asian standards), I didn't have a particularly warm welcome in this country. Which was a shame, as I'd been looking forward to visiting for a long time.

Unless things turn around, it's looking like Japan will be one of those 30-day countries, rather than a let's-hang-around-as-long-as-the-entry-stamp-lets-me-so-I-don't-have-to-make-decisions one. I miss my Korea and my Koreans.

(福岡市 - I'm not even going to try getting to grips with this)

Fukuoka Tower (234m) -

After Busan Tower and Seoul Tower, I wasn't that enthusiastic about the climb

Totally popular Momochihama Beach (to be fair, it was a bit cold and raining)

Some nice bridge and Fukuoka Yahoo Japan Dome, which looks not so much like a baseball stadium as rejected concept art for an alien court, as featured in the 'Making Of' book for an obscure 1980s science fiction film (or is that just me?)

Jomanji Temple (1573).
This is as close as I was prepared to get, for fear of being trampled by a CGI stampede

Hirano Shrine. Look, it's a Shinto shrine! With that menacing-eyes / ship from Tron design, like you see in pictures of Japan! I wonder how long it'll take before these get really old?

Some other shrine. Bore-ring

Fukuoka Castle

Or what's left of it, anyway. It's actually a lot better preserved than 'castles' I was taken to on school trips as a kid, which consisted of one wall and a hole in the ground

I'm not botanist, but as I was here in early March these are probably plum blossoms,
as cherry blossoms don't show up until April.

Whatever, there was plenty of pink and nice smells. Mmm.

Um, I mean... grr, football! Tits! ...Snooker? Other man things!

They forgot to colour this one in

Ohori Park

A pretty pleasant park

I like ducks

Obscene statue

Tits, tits and more tits at Fukuoka City Art Museum (feat. an arse)

I was still a little wary of Japanese security staff after being detained yesterday, but this guy practically leapt into frame when I was photographing the rabbit. What a character!

I guess they're not all time-wasting jobsworths. Some are just vain

Ohori Park Japanese Garden

Or as the Japanese call a Japanese garden: 'garden.'
(Actually, they call it 日本庭園, smart-arse)

Look at those worthless scum on the other side of the wall who didn't pointlessly spend a few hundred yen (couple of pounds) to see some more plants and water

Might as well get my money's worth - here are some more photos

I always manage to look bewildered in photos, even when I know how I got there.

To be fair, maybe Dr Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap leapt into my body at that instant and was getting his bearings. Oh boy.

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