Well, Thursday (Day 14) was mostly a wash, in terms of blogging material… we got up and took the train back to Fukuoka. Quiet trip… we both had aisle seats, so no pics out the window. Not much else pic-worthy happened on Thursday. That eve we played M:tG with Carey’s friends Joel, Tash, and Patrick… we wanted some late night sushi, but the ladies gave us the “X” sign when we got there because they were closing in 20 minutes. So we went across the parking lot to have some cheap Italian with Tashrick… not bad…. but why are there so many Italian restos? Why do the Japanese love Italian food so much? Seemed random to me. After some maudlin conversation with the younguns, we headed home and went to beds.
Friday (Day 15), we were going to Tenjin, one of the downtown areas for shopping. Beforehand though, we got some more 100 yen sushis with Carey’s friend, Leah!
Decided to try some huge roe sushi! Tastes like tapioca balls filled with seawater. Not entirely bad.
We signed into our hotel… this time it wasn’t near the red-light district. It was actually relatively swank.
The floors had this kind of 60’s mod theme, with sea-foam green and those sparkly-star accents in the font. They lightly piped in classical music over the PA system. It seemed ridiculous to me.
Still small rooms, but better bathroom amenities and interior design than the red light district Best Western in Tokyo… same price, though. Oh yeah, the space toilet had more options.
We settled in, got dressed up and went out for a nice dinner at a place Carey knew in the area, called J-Cafe. It was a loungey place, low-lit, and served little tapas-type dishes. We had a beef dish that was dreamy… sadly, no pics because it was so low-lit I couldn’t get a good pic surreptitiously… but it was nice. What was notable was that although it was a little more upscale than we usually go for, and it was totally Japanese (no English menus, leave your shoes out your booth, etc) – they had some art murals and basic accoutrements that I would consider a little “kitchy” and stereotypical. Like, there was a huge slightly-cartooney kirin dragon mural on the main wall, and the chopstick stands were little origami cranes… like, it wasn’t a lounge resto marketed as being “Japanese” for foreigners… it was just a J-P resto. I guess I just expected that kind of thing to be a show and not be in a true-blue J-P place. I guess stereotypes exist for a reason.
No pics of the awesome food, sadly…. so here’s a pic of our delicious faces before we went out.
After the awesome dinner, we went out with one of Carey’s friends to a couple of bars. Again, no pics because of the situation – didn’t want to be the lame gajin tourist busting out the camera in these cool places. It was a fun night, but nothing really to note. Less conversation for me, I suppose. Blank smiles, not really knowing what people are saying, and hoping they’re not making fun of me. So yeah, no difference at all from the bars back home. One thing we did notice is that while they were playing dance-y music… no one was dancing at all. They all stood around and looked cool, but no dancing. Even at the end of the night. Thought it was weird.
Late night home, fell asleep easily… Ah, how I missed a double bed. Caught up on fitful sleep after a week of sharing a twin bed at the Kaikan.
Day 16 was a day of shopping…. we went into the shopping area, and started with a great ramen lunch.
Ramen setto! I have a newfound respect for ramen… the dishes are hearty, delicious, and bear no resemblance at all to Mr. Noodles. I’m making Carey take me to one more ramen place, Ramen Ippado – a famous ramen chain in Japan, before I go.
We did a bit of shopping, and then oh nossss, we came across another claw game arcade! Carey was on fire today, she got a bunch of good ones, including some serious box prizes. She’s getting really good at them, she knows the good ones, and can tell if it’s do-able in 1 or 2 tries. Look at this latest haul!
She got the box in the middle in one try! Her face when it dropped into the pickup bin was priceless.
Oh yeah, here’s the prizes that I won.
I’m not as good as she is.
After that, we dropped off our stuff and did more shopping. I bought some awesome models at some J-P hobby shops… the hobby shops here are great… while they don’t have much in the way of fantasy gaming or board games, etc., they really have anything and everything when it comes to the modelling aspect. I picked up a pair of nerd models...
Just a shot of street we came across while walking around downtown… I love these kinds of alleys, so busy and chaotic. Reminds me of Ghost in the Shell. Lookit all those cables!
So in addition to the nerd shops, we hit Loft, a huge 7 floor department store of weird stuff… we spend over an hour in there, it was an awesome store. Tons of souvenirs and gifts! :D
Sorry about the lack of pics – shopping doesn’t really make for good photos. That night, we were exhausted from all the walking and the late night before, so we stayed in and watched weird Japanese TV.
So, tomorrow we’re heading over to Hakata (the other downtown-ish area) for more shopping, then back to the Kaikan for the last few days…. not much more interesting Japanese-specific stuff happeneing, I think. I’m surprised at how tired I get after these full tourist-y days… I need a few days of just watching movies and eating in bed. Hehe, so the next update may be a few movie reviews and talking about the differences between Canadian and Japanese takeout pizza.
Today’s vendy is for vitamin drinks!