Monday, January 13, 2014

My First Trip to Japan for JENESYS 2.0 Part 5: Day 1 in FUKUOKA!

It’s been a little over 3 months since I first visited Japan and yet I’m still halfway through this JENESYS 2.0 blog series. Haha. I know I’m not the best when it comes to being punctual with my blog posts, but I’ve already made a self-promise to finish all my JENESYS2.0-related stories before that special something I’ve been waiting for for, like, 4 or 5 months now. Haha. Will definitely blog about that ON TIME if things turn out well. J

Anyway, so when the day of our transfer to Fukuoka from Tokyo came, I was very excited about boarding an ANA plane (I’m really shallow like that). Boarding two of Japan’s top airlines in one trip is another task I can tick off my semi-bucket list (semi, because it’s not actually part of my REAL Bucket List. lol).  I guess having the chance to actually experience every single thing that I used to just see in Japanese dramas  and movies made me giddy the entire trip.
See? It's like being in Horikita Maki's Miss Pilot. Haha.
We only had to bring a medium-sized luggage that’s good for a 3 to 4-day visit, so we left our huge bags at the Art Hotels Omori where we stayed, once again, when we got back to Tokyo.

I can’t remember how long the flight was anymore, but what I do remember clearly was how painful my ears were during the flight. Haha.

Hello, Fukuoka!
As soon as we left the airport, I saw this awesomeness. Gorgeous face in a gorgeous billboard. Haha. (And that Tama-home CM song rang in my head).

First on our schedule was a lecture about the “Charms of Fukuoka.” The city government prepared a short presentation for us. While Fukuoka may not be as bustling as Tokyo, it’s the perfect getaway place for anyone who wants to see Japan beyond the capital city. You can get a good balance of city and country life in Fukuoka, and it won’t be difficult to go around the place since they have a very efficient transportation system (as what you’d expect in Japan). Maps are everywhere, and of course, you can always ask the friendly people around for directions. Just be careful not to get “lost in translation.” Hehe.
While creepily taking photos inside the train. Haha. Don't worry, these aren't random gaijins. Haha. They're from my group: Michelle from Australia, Blake from New Zealand, Rasyid from Thailand, and Tui from Laos. :)
I'm clearly from the "away" team (Go Giants!. Haha.)
 But it's really fun to see how much Fukuoka loves their Hawks. :)

On our way to the City Hall...
Kumamon! I heard they gave away free Kumamon stuff to anyone who passed by this fair. 
Why didn't I get anything???? :(
Is it so obvious I was weirdly fascinated with the bikes? Haha. 
I even asked Ams to take a photo of me with them. lol. :)
The view from JR Hakata Station (which Ams lovingly called "Junior" Hakata Station. Haha!)
We had our dinner in one of the restaurants here. My first taste of authentic Okonomiyaki. Yum!

Right after dinner, we made preparations to go to Fukuoka Yahoo Auction Dome, where all the big concerts in Fukuoka happen. When artists from Tokyo go on tour, this is their main Fukuoka venue. The original plan was to visit the HKT48 Theater (Ams is such a big AKB48 fan), but we found that it was actually inside the Hawks Town Mall (which was already closed when we came).

We were told that the dome was only a 15-minute walk from the station, but since we’re slowpokes it took us about 30-40mins to reach our destination. While I may not be the most physically fit person there is, I can proudly say I did better at walking than the teenagers who were with me that time (Hi guys!). Hahaha.
If you’d notice the really intimidating stairway on the way up to the dome, you’d understand why we became chickens and chose to take photos here. Haha. They reminded me of that “stairway to heaven”-ish temple in Batu Caves, Malaysia, which I also didn’t dare climb (lame!) 
Thank you, Ysa, for taking these Charlie's Angels-inspired photos of us. Hahaha!

We used the one-day free train pass they gave us earlier so we could save a few hundred yen. Haha. When it was time to go back, Ysa really wanted to ride the bus or taxi since her boots were about to give up and were clearly not made for walking. But being the cheapskate that I am, I insisted that we use the free pass still. Haha.
Uchikawa-senshu, Igarashi-senshu (the former Kimura Takuya of Yakult Swallows. Haha!), and Matsuda-senshu, the Hawks' resident ikemen :)

I'm such an NPB freak, it scares me. lol.
Back to our new hotel, Hakata Green Hotel 2
I got really excited when I first saw our room since we'll be sleeping on a futon. Yihee!

My roommates were still out and about when I returned, so I had the tatami room all to my self for a few hours.
And this is what happens when people leave me all alone. Haha.

P.S: I'll be changing the colors of my texts for this blog because people have been telling me it's too pink. Haha. Fine. I'll use a more tolerable color for the texts, but the pink layout will stay. :)

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