The Written Word on Fukuoka

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As I write this blog in my now dark hotel room (it’s so late it’s early), the screen of this borrowed laptop is glaring at me and Maggi Cuppa noodles are steaming a distance away, while both my phone and the camera battery number two are being charged, occupying both adaptors and sockets on the desk. The air conditioning is cold enough for me to pull on my extra sweatshirt, which mom packed with foresight. (Apparently, she’s been right about most of the packing, including the coffee and the ready-to-eat food, but NOT about the mathris she secretly slipped in my check in baggage. Yes mom, I found them.)

I already vlogged on YouTube today and yesterday, as well as gave you lots of pictures and updates on Facebook  but this was pending. A blog post, our style. This might be a bit long, for I have two days to cover and a new world to explain.

T3 is India’s perfectly jazzy international terminal which I knew how to work because I flew to my aunt’s from there before. Narita International Airport at Tokyo was even better. We even walked through a Quarantine area where nothing happened so I’m wondering if the Japanese secretly pumped something in the air around me. Many of the checks were new to me, like Customs and though the attendants didn’t speak English, they smiled and worked with efficient grace. From there, a domestic flight to Haneda airport clarified all the difference between an international and domestic flight for me! From service to smell, everything changed.

The Japanese have cutting clean, metal and bright light airports. In fact, all their public services are like that. We had lunch at the airport, a Japanese dish called Tempura (lots of rice coating!) which simply didn’t sit well with 22 hungry Indian teenagers. I liked the experience but I needed some calories soon after. In the basement of the airport itself, we caught the subway, with the cutest little train tickets and went to Hanada, the main station of the city. I am sure you have something to compare it with, every metro has one. For Delhiites this would be Rajiv Chowk.

We took the subway to Gion which happened to have a hilarious bill bkard. I will show you pictures in a different post because as I said, there’s only so much I can do from a borrowed device. Nakata san and Yanase san are our coordinators from Japan, and I wonder if all japanese people are as kind as them.

They say all buildings, includings hotels and visiting areas are earthquake proof. So if an earthquake is part of our experience on this trip, we are advised to stay inside because that is safer.  Technology for the Japs is a easy luxury, and I can see that every where I go. Yet, they don’t take it for granted and would rather cycle around the city than drive. I have seen far more cycles in two days than I would see in delhi for a month. There are cycle stands everywhere. There is a chain along staircases to take bicycles on to the road. In fact, traffic sense is very impressive in the city. Pedestrian traffic lights are actyally used. If the road is empty, people still stop for the red signal.  What I assumed for cars packed along the road turbed out to be people waiting for the lights to change and keeping in their lane.

People look like the stepped right out of a magazine. On the rare occasion that someone looks old, they are so fit and maintained that age actually becomes a number, and nothing more. The women are stylish, and visibly comfortable.  The sex ratio of this place must be pretty balanced because I have never seen so many females on the streets. Also, whoever brought the concept of uncomfortable heels to india gets mental punches from me very time I see a woman in heels. However high they may be, the shoes are sensible and pretty darn efficient. Everyone is in shades of subdued Blues and Blacks and formals, even a man we saw picking a cigarrete butt on the street and looking for non existent dirt, even men on cycles.

On the 27th, we went to Fukuoka International Student Centre for an orientation program. The JICE coordinators were and have been perfecty happy to explain everything a billion times to all of us, about japan, about the schedule, about things we might find new and things we needed to remember.

For example,toilet training. We were told to SIT on the toilet seat when we pressed the spray or bidet because if we didnt we would simply get sprayed in the face with that water. important information,  hey.

The prefecture representatives introduces us to the Happy City, a welcome much more honest and warm than your usual bureaucratic speech. The two men have since been meeting us at all our visit venues and talk to us and click pictures with and for us as if they are as responsible for us as our coordinators.

Maps and sos cards and IDs and an established compatibility later, we checked in to our hotel, owned our rooms and spread out to stretch our the jet lag. I didnt have any so I clicked pictures of course. Pictures that you shall have to wait for, I am afraid. Posts and updates depend a lot on when and how I get wifi and cables and pcs.

For dinner, we have been promised indian food. But everything indian is just indian on the surface and sweet or bland, which is nothing to mind, but some of us are already dreaming about the ready to eat and packed foods in our bags.

I have to cut in now to say bye, for the laptops are to be circulatedat this uungodly hour, nocturnal creatures that we are. I revert to the traditional pen and paper to write the other blogs to sow you asap.

Technology, stay with me. This trip is fun and so filled I am takinglots of time to publish posts. Notes are all over the place and I am wondering where coffee ready mix is, so this is sayonara for now.

Japan is to love. In one day already.

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