Monday, November 5, 2007

Boats, Trains, and Buses


This past weekend most schools in Japan had a school festival, so Aaron and I had a long weekend. We decided to join some friends on a trip to Kyūshū, the third largest of the 4 main island of Japan. To be economical we traveled by overnight ferry. Pretty good deal too.

Our ferry kind of looked like this one up here.
While on Kyūshū we went to a city called Fukuoka. This place is famous for its numeros yatai's. A yatai is the coolest thing ever!! It is basically a food vendor on the street but it has seats and usually a curtain up to keep the wind out. It is like your own private party. The menu is usually just snack type food, or food made for drinking with beer. I had ramen and Aaron had an eggplant dish with meat. Very tasty.

Then since we are such big pigs, we went to an izakaiya, which is a traditional Japanese style bar. They all are a little different but all of them are going to have lots of drinks an usually specailty regional food. The one we went to had nabe which is like a stew that you cook at your table then take the pieces out of the broth then dip either in raw egg or sauce. Oh, and according to the sign up here, this place was staffed by nudist. Could they read it? Who knows.

Here we are in Yanagawa, getting ready for the festival.

There were over 200 of these gondola-type boats all particpating in this "boat parade." Basically, you rent a boat and everyone brings food and drinks and you go down the river while people on the banks light fireworks and yell, "Konbanwa! Irashaimase!" Which basically means "Hello, good evening, welcome!" Also, people with loud speakers would be shouting "Banzai!," which is like "Horray!" in english. One group saw us and that we were Americans and yelled, "You know English? Horray! Horray!" instead of the usual "Banzai!" It was very funny.

The festival we went to is in honor of Hakushu Kitahara, a poet who wrote about Yanagawa. So groups all along the river were singing songs that had his poetry in them. But mainly, the think the big attraction at this festival is the boats and the fireworks...lots of fireworks.

Here we are getting our send off as our boat started its way down the river. The guy in the blue is a samurai.Yah, like swords and stuff samurai. Except well, modern day samurai can't very well go around chopping off heads and stuff, so they basically just own hotels and make people pay to see their families old samurai stuff.

This guy was a hoot. This was at bathroom stop number one. This guy just basically danced around like a crazy person and joked around with people whose boat parked under his pavillion. He mock punched me in the head.

So, all the boats were basically stuffed to the brim with explosives of the firework kind. Here is Aaron demonstrating the proper technique of holding the fire over the water not the boat. Can't say that everone really had this concept down, but as far as I know, no boat was lost to fire damage.

There were also many taiko drummers set up along the river. I got some amazing video of it but I can't figure out how to post it on here. It is all in Japanese and I can't read the directions!

The next day, we bought a shorter day-time boat trip. It was cool to see the place in the day time as well. Our boatman was about 150 years old I swear. But, he was cool.


More pretty things.
So all in all, a good trip. Wish we had more time to relax though. We spent most of the time commuting from place to place.
Also, we got stopped by the police for the first time. And no, we were not doing anything wrong. This is going to sounds a little bad, but simply being a young foreigner in a large group walking around at night is enough to get you stopped. Not that crazy really. The only part that makes me mad is that we seriously were doing nothing wrong. I mean, we were not even being the slighest bit noisy. Basically it was just because we were young and foreign. All we had to do though was show them our Alien registration cards and that was it, so it really wasn't a big deal. The guy was actually pretty nice.
Christmas decorations are becoming more and more abundant. They have had some up for over two weeks now but last weekend they really went into x-mas overdrive. They don't have thanksgiving here of course so they jump right to christmas. We are trying to find thanksgiving-type food but it is hard to find it. We got stuffing (600 yen-$5.20) for one small box! and some frozen corn but that is about it.
We should be getting the internet by the end of this week, so finally Aaron will be able to get on here. He is going kind of crazy without it.
Till then! Bye!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hehe, it is stuffed with nudist. The nudist is around the world now.
The members of is from the world