Japan – Day 3 -[My Friends’ Anthem]-

by Grungi

Here we go again, after some big internet woes… I’ll try to catch up but I’m not sure I’ll be able to. Just pretend this is a differed broadcast 😉

The third full day was another day where every minute was put to good use. We started to grab something to eat at the nearby “combini” (those are small convenience stores found everywhere that stay open 24 hours a day) on our way to Hakata station, we met there with, you guessed it, another subset of our friends from Fukuoka. Ayano and Rei were to take us to Dazaifu, a smaller town in the vicinity of Fukuoka, where there’s a temple and one of Japan’s National Museums.

On our way, we met with Mayu and yet another one of the students of the University of Fukuoka we knew, Yuki. When the six of us reached Dazaifu, we started off the day’s activities by walking through a reconstituted traditional street leading to the shrine. Everywhere, there were shops selling almost everything : things to eat, pop posters, traditionnal gifts, dancing cats, you name it.

It’s fake, yet it still looks pretty. And you should have seen those plush cats dancing…

At the end of that road was a bronze cow that seemed like a popular photo spot. Rei told us it was because ‘cows bring good fortune’. We refrained to say that cows aren’t that special, seeing how they spend their time chewing on grass watching train pass by, and as they wanted us to pose while touching this statue, we did just that. Of course having to touch a piece of metal that stays under a blazing sun… Well you get the idea.

The cow is somewhere behind Yuki, Mayu, Pascale, Ayano, me and Miki. Other clue : it’s in front of Rei, who is the one taking the picture.

We then continued through a bridge – on which you must not look over your shoulder if you don’t want to bring bad luck upon your unfortunate person. Then we followed the ritual that asks that you wash your hands before entering the shrine befor, well, entering the shrine itself.

There we prayed after making a small offering, and had our horoscope read. Turns out that Pascale’s future is brighter than mine… Well, she IS going to live the good life when she’ll come back at Fukuoka, so I guess it’s at least partly true. After this pause at the temple, we continued towards the National Museum. The building itself is huge and really impressive, but the exposition itself is… kinda hard to enjoy if you’re not Japanese yourself seeing how little english text there is.

Speaking of which, Japan is a very curious place. In most countries, when you go to popular tourist destinations, you find the placed filled with people from all over, especially Japanese people taking a lot of pictures. But here, it’s even worse. The place was filled with Japanese, and Pascale and I were the only westerners. How do they manage that ? Do they have tourist fabrication facilities or something ?

The museum was filled with works of art from Japan’s history, and some of the paintings from the Edo area were really beautiful, but I must say that most of the objects displayed weren’t that much interesting.

Anyway, after concluding the visit, stopped to eat a well-deserved ice cream of the same kind we ate the previous day, and of which I know remember the name : it’s called a kakigori. And it was still incredible. Honestly, that thing is just too refreshing.