Sunday, October 20, 2013

To Fukuoka Castle Ruins, Shintencho, Fukuoka Tower and Back Again

Before we headed out again today, we had a bit of a chuckle over how tall Doug looked standing in the doorway to the washroom.

Instead of going to Robo Square as we had planned, Doug decided he wanted to see Ohori Park and the ruins of Fukuoka Castle.  While we wandered around we heard several ravens calling.  Ethan made friends with one.  He was a sweet little guy with a bit of a limp.

They enjoyed each other's company for quite a little while.  It was sweet to watch.

We found a partial reconstruction of one of the buildings of the castle grounds.  A very sweet lady gave us a tour, sharing much information with us.  I really like the design of traditional Japanese buildings.  It's interesting too how some of the design from long ago are still in place in very common places.  The doors to the individual stalls in the washrooms, for example, slide.  (Seems like I have a fixation on washrooms, eh?  Not really.  I just like seeing common places in new ways.  Speaking of washrooms...I used the one in this building and the toilet not only had a bidet, the seat was heated as well!  Comfort and cleanliness are well considered in these humble places.)

Here below you can see a view of the dig site beside the reconstruction.

Among the pots and shards of pots a pillow sat on display.  Can you see it?  Yup.  It's that nicely ornamented green ceramic square in the center.  That must have been comfy.  

Due to my fixation on all things toilet, you can imagine how curious I was to find these wooden tools for scraping off the poop from bums in toilets of ages past.  As our sweet guide said, "Ouch!" 

Below are some examples of the shards found in the dig.  The pottery from the time was imported from China and Korea apparently.  

As we further toured the grounds, we saw signs to stay out of the bushes due to black widow spiders.  This reminded me of you, Sandra.  

Most of the castle is in ruins, but these lights still stand in place in one location on the grounds.  I'm not sure if they still light, but I would truly love to see them if they did.  The design is so warm and inviting in my opinion.  

As Doug and Ethan walked ahead, I couldn't help admire their presence beside that wonderfully wind swept tree to their left.  I'm not sure what the species of tree is. 

From the park we headed to the Tenjin area to explore some of the shopping and food options.  Shintencho was my favourite area, offering many, many little intriguing shops offering gifts, clothes and sweets, as well as a busy food arcade.

Ethan picked a noodle restaurant for lunch.  No one spoke english, so we needed to take the person helping us choose our food out to the front of the store to show her to what we wanted to order.  Before leaving for Japan, I had read that this was a common practice.  It worked well for us, anyway. 

Doug and Ethan are happily waiting for their food.  We all had noodles in a fish broth.  Ethan had beef with his noodles, and fried rice on the side.  Doug kept his soup simple with only a bit of seaweed.  I'm not sure what I had, and I wish I could describe it, but I can say that it was really yummy.  I should have taken a picture.  I like to try things I wouldn't get at home.    

After eating, we headed to Fukuoka Tower.  Once there, we discovered the ocean front.  We decided to explore this a bit before we went up the tower.  Ethan still loves to play in the sand. 

The sand was very course.  I took a close up below.  The colour was very warm as well.

Fukuoka Tower is the third largest tower in Japan.  The Tokyo Skytree and the Tokyo Tower are the first two tallest.  Henry, I thought of you when we went up this tower.

This is a view from inside.  There were two elevators that take passengers up to the viewing decks and restaurants.

Once on deck, here are some of the views of Fukuoka we saw.

Japan is made up of over 400 islands.  One small one can be seen below left.  Four large main ones make up most of the living area.  We are on Kyushu island.  When we to Tokyo, we will be on Honshu island.

We treated ourselves to desert at the restaurant in Fukuoka Tower.  

Doug and I shared this yummy dish below.  Ethan had oreo ice cream.  The woman who helped us spoke no english at all, so we used our iPhone translators to order or drinks and pointed to our deserts.  The great thing about the translator is that we can order politely.  Doug typed in "May I have a glass of red wine please" and pressed the audio button for Japanese translation.  The woman knew exactly what he wanted.  I'm so grateful for technology in so many ways.  This is just one more way!

We took a taxi back to our hotel.  I took note of the different license plates.

I forgot to pack toothpaste, so picked up a tube when we were in Shintencho.  Doug wanted to get something somewhat recognizable, but I wanted to get something completely different.  I'm looking forward to trying it.  Doug thinks it will be some kind of denture cream.

After we made it back to our hotel, Doug and Ethan decided they wanted to visit the 7-eleven to pick up some snacks for the evening.  That's it for today.  We're watching Minecraft videos currently.  Later we're going to watch Kiki's Delivery Service.  I'm pretty tired, being 13 hours off our regularly scheduled program.  But this day has been so fun.  Doug works for the next few days, so Ethan and I will be exploring alone together.  Should be a lot fun too!

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