As many have already heard/read, this last week I took a 3-day mini trip to Fukuoka, Japan. It was a fast and intense trip as my travel buddy, Brittani and I made the most of our time. I was truly “across the pond” once more when traveling to Fukuoka on a large passenger ferry. But before we even left the docks, we had some unintentional excitement. You see, our boat left at 11 pm on Monday night, so when we arrived at 6:30 pm and filled out our paperwork, we were under the impression that we wouldn’t have to board until an hour or so before our departure time. This was not the case. But unaware of this, we left the terminal and set out to visit Busan Tower and grab some dinner in the city. It was about an hour and 6 blocks later that we received several frantic calls from our travel agent asking, “Where are you?!?! Ship NOW!!” So, we began to run back to the port where we were received by workers waving us on. When we got into the building it was totally empty of…anybody. We ran up the stairs where several more terminal staff directed us through customs and security, cutting everyone in line and rushing us place to place. Meanwhile, the Korean workers kept radioing ahead that we were on our way. With shirts wet and smelling quite ripe, we finally made it on board expecting to be taking off any second. The boat didn’t leave for another 2 hours. That whole process is still very confusing to us, but we made it and that’s the important part!
Once in Japan, we set out to explore the city. We spent our first day visiting several Buddhist temples and shrines, eating ice cream, and checking out the world’s 2nd largest (not functioning) ferris wheel. It was a great day but by the end of it, we were certainly ready to crash. The next day we got up early and headed to the bus station. We had a pass that allowed us to get on and off a specific bus that went around the city and stopped at popular tourist attractions. Some of the highlights included:
~We were inside a Buddhist temple when all the people inside, mostly elderly, began to sit down and they closed the doors. We instantly realized they were about to begin a service. So we sat down and observed this really foreign means of worship. It mostly consisted of chanting out of some sort of book. We stayed for about 20 minutes before we snuck out the back.
~A small festival was taking place in a park that we stumbled upon. The people working the stalls were super friendly and offered us food samples and more. We also got to see some very interesting music based performances.
~We visited the Fukuoka Disaster Prevention Center. It was so fantastic. It was designed to educate people of all ages how to deal with disasters and also provided mock typhoons, fires, and earthquakes. We had so much fun doing the simulations and the workers here were super friendly and helpful!
~A street called Yatai came alive at night with food stalls that lined the sidewalk. Each stall provided the same basic foods which included the infamous Ramen. It was really delicious and we even met a couple other foreign teachers from Korea that were actually staying in the same hotel as us. Later that night we met up with them and got dessert and walked around the city.
Japan was a great country to visit. I really hope that I can go there again sometime soon! Some of my observations about the country and the people are…
-The people are super friendly and always willing to help you.
-The architecture is a mix of western styles and ancient temples and buildings.
-Food, clothes, and transportation are really expensive!
-The Japanese’ dress and appearance has more individuality than other Asian countries I have been in.
-The food is similar to Korean food and I really liked everything we had.
-It is definitely cleaner pretty much anywhere you go. Oh, and there are a LOT of bikes.
I thank God for allowing me to travel to yet another country. I feel truly blessed that He has given me so many of these opportunities to see the world. It really is through Him that I have the provisions and abilities to do the things that I do, and I give Him all the credit for taking me wherever I go. Also, thank you again for caring enough about my life to read these posts and perhaps even remember me in your prayers. I love you all! Please continue to pray in these areas:
~Church friends Mike & Carol will be leaving Korea next Monday. Pray for their transition home and saying goodbye in Korea.
~My family has been affected by the loss of many loved ones recently and is still dealing with other relatives who are sick
~Finding ways I can be Jesus to my friends, students, co-workers, and perfect strangers
~Patience in understanding God’s plan for my life
~Jessi Grostefon is leaving for Korea today! Please pray that her travel goes smoothly.
~Becca Prieb & Katie Heisey, are currently traveling and serving God in Bangladesh. Follow them at http://beckat.wordpress.com