I'll take you to Daisho-in Temple and the rest of my trip tomorrow!
Well, I've somehow finally reached 100 posts on this, my youngest blog. I suppose I'm not too far off course, though I haven't written as often as I'd like. It's interesting that my travel posts seem to be more popular than my other posts, mainly because I think visitors are coming to read my opinions from Google searches. By the way, if you're one of them and somehow came to this post, thanks for stopping by! Feel free to subscribe. There's lots more where these came from.
I have to say writing for Chaos and Kanji can be quite enjoyable, but it has the lowest readership of all my blogs. I'm going to keep on trucking, though, since I write for the fun of it. And who knows, I might get recruited to write for a travel magazine or have my own travel show or something! (If you're looking, I'm your guy!)
I enjoy looking at the signage here in Japan. Sometimes it has funny Engrish (English written improperly either due to poor grammar, poor spelling, or just poor fluency) and sometimes it's funny on purpose. Such as the collection of posters found below.
All of these posters are on the same wall, and they instruct riders how to behave. Japan is big on flock mentality and politeness. People who "buck" the system are heavily frowned upon. So what better way to help people learn social skills than sometimes humorous cartoons? Let's see - don't push or bump people on the elevators because you're late; don't wear red shirts if you're a lady and surrounded by faceless gray men (hmm, sounds like most weekday rush hour trains) - actually I'm not sure what the red-dress lady is doing; don't use your cell phone in the priority seats; and don't block the doors when people are exiting trains (queue in two lines so people exiting can walk between them).
Actually, I've seen lots of people break those two rules, the last one especially. I've taken to bumping into people on purpose who block the doors when I'm trying to get off the train, because they leave no other clear path for getting out. There was a blind guy getting off the train Tuesday afternoon who kind of had to push his way through. This wasn't rush hour, either - it was 12:30 in the afternoon on a well-traveled but not busy route. Anyway... Some other pictures.
That's not bacon. That's fish. Tuna to be exact. You see, they do this whole big process with part of the tuna where it's dried, fermented, and smoked. Then they shave it off in very thin flakes and put it on okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and other foods. When prepared properly, it moves like it's alive, due to convection currents of the hot food it rests on. Japanese call it katsuobushi, and I've seen it a couple times now. It's also used to make soup stock.
That's it! So after 100 posts, what's left to share? Hm. I have a trip to Taiwan to post details about. I've visited a lot of other places in Tokyo, I've explored some of Nagoya, and I'm heading to Korea in less than a month. And next year I'll be branching off to cities like Osaka, Sapporo, and Kyoto (finally). Plus, I hope to get down and dirty with some of the details of life in Japan. I'm always up for suggestions, so you can leave a comment or shoot me an email with, "Hey, Ryan, how do squat toilets really work?" or "Where are the crazy tentacle hentai videos?" or "Tell us about your electric bill." Or whatever else floats your boat.
Oh yeah, I actually forgot. It's my birthday! Yay! Happy me! Tomorrow, maybe I'll tell you how I celebrated (it's actually nearly 2 AM and my birthday hasn't really happened yet and I need to go to bed). It won't be that exciting, I promise.
It's still really cool to watch.
The Hawks have been playing in Fukuoka since 1988, and have been owned by Softbank since 2005. Fukuoka Dome (Fukuoka Yahoo! JAPAN Dome) was built in 1993, and has a retractable roof. It was a nice day when I was there, so I'm not sure why it wasn't opened.
To get to the stadium and Hawks Town (the shopping mall and hotel complex) get off the subway at Tojinmachi Station and use exit 3, making a right turn to follow the river/aquaduct. Make a left turn at the major intersection to cross over the river, and the complex will be on the right. You can either enter the mall and head to the second floor where the Hawks store and narrow pedestrian bridge to the stadium is, or follow the road to the stadium (behind the mall) and walk up the stairs - either way, you shouldn't have trouble finding it. Tickets to Sunday games should be bought in advance (I suggest asking in a Lawson convenience store for some help using the ticket machines) but otherwise you should be able to walk up and get tickets on game day.
The hot springs are so hot they've been given the name hells in English - though that moniker is certainly used for attracting tourists as much as describing the temperature. In Japanese, the term is jigoku, and there are eight total. Six are clustered together in Kannawa,with two more side-by-side a short bus ride away.
Because the hells are such a big draw, they have become quite touristy, which can be a turn-off for some visitors. However, with a little constructive photo cropping and a blind eye, you can ignore most of it. One of the hells has a small zoo, but it certainly is hell for this elephant.
I'd like to return to Beppu or somewhere similar to enjoy another (hopefully longer) sand bath, a mud bath, and some of the other sauna-style treatments one can find in town. Beppu is good for a full day (or two if you really want to see it all and take several baths). Lodging will be a bit more expensive since it's a tourist town, but visitors can use Oita (a short train ride away) if only staying for a day and they don't want to stay in a ryokan or in town.
The hells are accessible by several buses which leave very frequently from the train station. Ask at the visitor center/tourist information desk for a current schedule (buses 5, 7, and 9 are fastest) and a map. Remember that two of the eight hells are a second 5-minute bus ride away (route 16 or 16A from the Kannawa hells). Each hell charges 400 yen for admission, or you can buy a souvenir ticket book for 2000 yen that admits you to all eight hells. They're open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM.