LAST DAY IN JAPAN & FINAL THOUGHTS ON JAPAN
I got back to Fukuoka that evening. I made loose plans to
rejoin Rob and Michelle for a parting drink as we were all leaving Fukuoka
early the next morning.
On my way from Hakata Station to my hostel, riding my bike,
I saw to white backpackers riding folding bikes. Curious of their story, I
raced them down. I then got with in shouting distance and stopped them.
Now I’ve spent a great time of self satisfying energy
tooting my own horn about what a great idea having a folding bike was for my
trip to Japan.. These two guys brought their folding bikes with them from
CANADA to Japan. They were like me version 5.0! I had to get a picture.
I got back to the hostel at dark with a few hours to kill
before meeting up with Rob and Michelle. Hungry for another meal of Tonkatsu
Ramen I had set out to eat at the same place I went a few days ago.
I was about to leave, when two Italian college students on
holiday, one blonde and one brunette, stopped in to the hostel. I figured I
could use the company, so I asked them if they wanted to go out to dinner. I
told them I knew a great Tonkatsu Ramen place. They asked if I could wait 10 or
so minutes. I said sure.
Now these girls had attitude to boot. Pretty and European,
my guess is, not many people said no to them. Anyways I should have seen a red
flag. The blonde says to the
hostel purveyor, a Japanese guy, “Could you be my hero and make this call for
me? The confirmation email they sent me is all in Japanese.” From where I’m standing,
sure, that’s fair. Language help comes with the territory. After he helps her
with that problem, she then says to him, “Could you be my hero one more time
and carry our bags to our room.” My jaw literally dropped and I had to have the
quick wherewithal to close it to hide my visible disgust. Keep in mind: this
was a HOSTEL!!! But of course the smiling hostel purveyor grabbed the bags and
hauled them upstairs.
The brunette asked if I could wait while they got ready. I
said sure. About 20 minutes later, they come down stairs and I’m ready to take
these people that I’m fairly certain I do not like, out to ramen. As I was
walking them, I got a little turned around and realized I had been taking them
the wrong way.
“Are you sure you know where you’re going?” snorted the
“Yes” I stated. “And you’re welcome.”
We get to Tonkotsu Ramen, the food is fantastic, but
obviously the company is leaving a little to be desired. The blonde had an air
of European arrogance being from Rome, the proclaimed “best city in the world.”
(At this point I’ll note that the brunette was never particularly abhorrent but
just kept lousy company). I grew tiresome of their company so after I finish my
meal, I merely state that I need to go because of commitment I had made earlier
(which was true). I scooted my money on the table and promptly left, feeling
the true benefits of solo travel. If I don’t like something, who says I have to
stick around for it?
|Tonkotsu Ramen again|
I met up with Rob and Michelle at the agreed time at the
ex-pat bar. I ordered a Japanese IPA which was the best IPA I’ve had since
being in Asia (yes even better than Rogue’s IPA I had in Busan). We talked into
the early night and each departed on the early side because of our morning
Morning in Fukuoka
I rode early to the ferry terminal and watched sunrise over the
As I waited to board my boat there was a press event for the
Japanese Coast Guard. It seemed like a fitting end to my time in Japan.
My final takeaways for Japan:
The people are very nice. I had a wound
that kept reopening and I nicked it and
it started spilling blood. A Japanese woman stopped at
gave me some tissue.
It’s first world Asia. They have cream
for their coffee.
It is very clean, as are their trains
(thanks to bike bags)
• They are looking around when
they walk and are aware of their surroundings. In contrast Koreans are not. In the US we have a silent conversation
when we are walking on the street with an oncoming pedestrian. With eye contact
we calculate a way for us not to run into each other. This doesn’t happen in
Korea. People barrel through. Uncaring and unaware. They aren’t rude just
Bike bells: It took one ring of my
bike bell in Japan from several yards away and people would turn, recognize me
and move accordingly to avoid being hit. In Korea: good luck. I can ring my
bell 30 times in succession and be directly behind someone and then when I
finally speak, they will turn around, genuinely be surprised to see me (the person
that has been ringing the bell consistently for the last 30 seconds) and then move. It’s a culture
thing and I get that, but in Japan, it only took one ring.
• Japan is expensive but not as
expensive as I thought. I had a budget of
about $800 for travel (not including the boat), I came back with about $150