IMG_7732Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On yet another generous break at school, this one over the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, Steve and I visited two cities in Japan – Fukuoka and Hiroshima.

We wanted to go somewhere near, not too expensive (well, that was just a silly notion, it’s Japan), and new.  The Tokyo Airport in December sure doesn’t count as seeing Japan.  But this time more than made up for that.

Fukuoka is a 30 minute flight from Busan.  Southern, and still tropical-feeling even in September.  It’s built on canals with beautiful architecture everywhere you turn.  At times I wasn’t sure if I was in Asia, the U.S., or the Mediterranean.  That’s the one way they really give you more bang for your yen.

Fukuoka in general seemed to be a daily fashion show.  Nearly everyone dressed to the nines.  No matter what I wore on the 90-degree-plus days, I felt underdressed and touristy.  I may as well have strapped on a fanny pack; it wouldn’t have mattered.  But I appreciated their effort.  No matter what each person’s personal style was, they all clearly had one.  Unlike at home, no one flipped-flopped around in hoodies and sweatpants.  They actually gave a crap about their appearance.  Thank you, Japan.

And sushi – do I even need to say it?  It was to die for.  If you are as unawares as I was, they have these conveyor belt restaurants where the soosh comes around on small plates each priced by color.  You sit there watching it go by, piece by piece, just grabbing the ones you want and stacking them for the waitress to tally at the end.  Tuna and salmon that melt in your mouth, lobster salad, scallops topped off with a blow torch.  Wasabi and avocados and plum sauces and other flavors I can’t even begin to describe.  I’m not sure if it was the intermittent shots of sake or the serotonin, but I definitely went to my happy place.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we found ourselves in Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first atomic bomb.  On the day our country was attacked, there I was, looking at the effects of an attack we launched…as the result of yet another attack.  All I could think was, when will the world stop fighting?  When will this big beautiful world stop fighting and just start enjoying?  I don’t know what else to say about our trip to Hiroshima, and I don’t really want to post the pictures.  It’s not your typical, touristy, oh-look-what-I-saw type of place.  So I’ll just post this one.

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It just kind of struck me how this man was riding his bike, undoubtedly going through his daily routine, right past the shell of 75-year-old bomb blast that is now surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscaping.