Fukuoka is one of fastest growing city in Japan, in 2011 it passed the population of Kyoto, is also a quite new city but full of Shrines, parks, shopping centers, museums and temples. Is the sixth largest city in Japan, with about 1.6M people in the city and 5.6M in the metro area, and the tourism has increase, many many Koreans come here or people that want to renew his Korean visa.
I arrived to the port in Fukuoka on monday, official name is Hakata Port International Terminal, Fukuoka, and being afraid of not having internet later I used the Wi-Fi there, download the Fukuoka maps on maps.me and make a route for the day, I visit the Sumiyoshi Shrine, Joten-ji, Kushida shrine, Shinto-Shrine, Fukuoka Castle, on Higashi park I play with some kindergarten children, visit some temples, other parks, shrines, markets, stores, etc.
One of the first things I notice here is that people is really nice, everyone in the street says おはよう Ohayō and bow their head as I did the same with them. Maybe is because is not a big city and I was most of the time out of downtown but people make a lot of eye contact in a good way, not like Korea that they seem to be too into their own minds they almost never make eye contact, even children. Maybe just different level of politeness.
I walked around the city until I arrived to Hakata Station and by that time I was starving, so I looked for a place to eat, walking around the stations I saw hundreds of restaurants and nice places to eat, between 500-1200 yen, at the end I decided to eat some spicy pork stew, that at the end was not pork but tofu and the rice was ordered apart so I ended paying more than 700yen for what was less than a set, I got some free nice green tea and a soup. In Korea I could have a nice and filing lunch with that amount of money but well usually the first meal in a new country is expensive and not the best.
In the restaurant I met Takafumi a Japanese guy that was in Fukuoka for a business trip, we didn’t talk much before eating just itadakimasu but after finishing the lunch we stay there for maybe half an hour chatting, quite cool guy from Tokyo, we exchange Facebook accounts and each one start walking to different ways, for sure I’ll let him know if I visit Tokyo soon.
Before taking the train I used the Japanese toilets and clean myself with water, I didn’t new you have to stop it but.. well i realized it later, not the best experience. then I took the train south to the closest station of the house I´ll stay in, the weather was nice, a little bit cloudy but not that cold so I walked about 40 min to the direction they told me in Couchsurfing, I could have taken a bus but that implies a lunch or so so I rater walk.
Yoshiki was on time in his home so we get in and Keiko, his wife, receive us with a big smile, we took sit in the living room floor with a square table and some electric Japanese blanket that covers the legs and let you be more comfortable with the cold weather.
We had some really nice sake and dinner, chat for a couple of hours and drink a little bit more, after that we were suppose to take a rest and keep drinking latter but I was so exhausted that when I arrived to the bed I fell sleep until 10pm, I came downstairs and everything was so quiet I didn’t want to bother them. Next day I stayed at home writing and doing some research about Japan, drinking some coffee and eating some matcha chocolate and chatting with Keiko, after that Yoshiki and myself had some really good noodles and enjoy a long chat. He wasn’t feeling really well so we call off the night and I went to my room to take a rest. As usual I was not able to sleep up to late that night.
The noodles and room I stay in, it has a big map with a lot of photographs of host they have had.