Once I arrived at Fukuoka airport it was fairly quick to get through customs and sort out all of my paperwork and what not. I expected it to be a little more of a hassle. I was even able to submit a form to update my VISA to allow me to get a part time job if I can find one. Although, I feel my Japanese isn’t good enough to get by on the job, but you never know! Maybe I’ll be lucky! Once I picked up all of my bags I headed outside to the shuttle terminals. I realized at this point maybe I overpacked a bit. I had one large bag, 1 duffle bag, 1 carry on bag, and my bag which had my laptop inside it. I attempted to get on one of the shuttle busses with all of my bags by myself and then second guessed myself and thought I may have had the wrong shuttle. So I pulled my bags off the shuttle and at that time the JASIN school representitive found me thankfully! I was starting to get a little confused on this whole shuttle transfer thing. So with the help of the JASIN representitive I got my bags back on to the shuttle bus and we got off to transfer to a subway train. Then once off the train we walked a while past a busy mall area to the hotel. Now through this whole transition of shuttle to train to hotel their were numerous escalators and stairs. By this point I was really hating the fact that I had all these bags with me (however now that I am in the dorm I am thankful for what I packed). Once I arrived at the Fukuoka hotel I got checked in to my room which was such a nice comfort after such a long flight! I literally just sprawled my stuff everywhere.
When I went to plug in my laptop I soon found out that the adapter I had was the wrong kind sadly. :( So I asked the person at the front desk as best I could in Japanese if they had one. Unfortunately, they did not have the correct one either so the front desk person gave me directions on where I might be able to find one. There was an electronic shop not too far away. However, I was in a busy crowded section of Fukuoka and I was a little worried I would get lost, and not find my way back. I decided I should just try the best I could. So I ventured out with my vague directions and zig-zagged my way through the crowds of people and the multiple alleyways. At this point I was gettting quite the adrenaline rush, because it was a little overwhelming to be wandering the streets of busy Fukuoka at 9pm at night. Finally I happened to come accross the electronic store that had a huge sign in front with the words “Camera” written in Katakana so I recognized it immediately. That was a huge relief! Now the hard part of communicating with someone in the store to find out if they carried adapters. I brought my plug with me and found someone to help me, and was able to find the correct plug! I then paid for it and started to make my way back to the hotel with a short stop at Seattle’s Best for some coffee. It was around a 20 block walk, but I managed to find my way back ok. After this experience I was quite proud of myself for being able to not only find the Camera Store, but to somewhat be able to communicate reasonably ok to get what I wanted in the end. :)
On my way back I stopped at a little restaurant that was right next to the hotel and got some sushi. The sushi was amazing and tasted so fresh it seemed like it just melted in my mouth. I’m not sure what I got but I think there was some octopus and salmon for sure. One thing I noticed right away was that everyone was smoking inside the restaurant. That is something you don’t see at all anymore in Portland, OR. I didn’t mind so much but it did make it a bit uncomfortable since I am kind of sensitive to ciggarette smoke.
Once I was back at the hotel I got my laptop setup and literally had my stuff sprawled out all over the place. There was this little spot on the wall to insert your room key and by doing so it turned the lights on and off. I thought it was pretty awesome. Also the bathroom was outfitted with a bidet. That was my first time seeing one, and I thought the whole bathroom setup was quite nice.
The next day after doing a little bit of research on the value of the yen coins I now had in my possession I decided to venture out and find a place to eat lunch. I wandered around for quite a while until I finally stumbled into a place from an alleyway entrance. From the outside it didn’t seem like much, but when you entered you realize that you were in a giant mall of restaurants! Like 3 or more floors of just restaurants, and then part of it was a market full of food gift type items like pastries. I was having a bit of sensory overload and I wandered the full first floor, but still couldn’t decide where I wanted to eat. I must have looked lost because there was an old man that noticed me wandering around and he started to point to a specific restaurant. So I decided to try that restaurant out. It was setup like a sushi bar, but instead of sushi it was all kinds of meat on skewers and it looked like they grilled them. This wasn’t exactly what I was looking for (I had my heart set on Ramen), but I had already sat down so I just had to get something now lol. So I ordered some iced green tea and some gyoza, and let me tell you that was the best gyoza I had ever had! Although they came out on a steaming hot plate and I almost burned myself eating them (because I have a lack of patience waiting for things to cool down); however, they were so good!
After this amazingly wonderful gyoza I was still hungry and went on the hunt for more food:
After exploring the second floor I found my ramen shop and ate this:
It was exactly what I was looking for, and it was so good! I then made my way back towards the hotel and stopped at the convenience store (or Konbini) on the way back. The convenience stores in Japan are really impressive, but my favorite thing about them is that they have real food as opposed to having only junk food. When I got back to the hotel I meant to only stay in for a little while and then head back out for dinner, but I ended up just crashing. I didn’t even remember falling asleep. The next morning I checked out of the hotel and met up with my fellow study abroad classmates to hop on the bus to Nagasaki.
Once we arrived in Nagasaki it was all about multiple orientations and then finally after a long day we were able to move into the dorm rooms. The one thing that is a little unnerving in the dorm is the wifi problem. There is wifi in the dorm, but it barely works so it is making a bit difficult to keep up on anything that needs the internet. However, in my next post I will talk a bit more about the amazing school field trip we went on for the weekend!