Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 4, 2008

Konbanwa from Narita!


I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Yesterday was my last free day in Japan. I spent it exploring the area outside of Fukuoka. Fukuoka reminds me a great deal of New York City, which is not a bad thing–it just made me a little less interested in exploring it. The one spot I did explore was the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. Fukuoka was a major port during the Nara and Heian periods. Many trading routes went through there, so they have found all sorts of interesting stuff there. It was fun, as the museum is actually the cover for the archaelogical site.

img_1777I then took the train to Dazaifu. Dazaifu is where the National Museum is; it is also the site of a major shrine to Tenjin. (Tenjin is the subject of one of my favorite artworks at the Museum, so I felt compelled to visit the temple built in his honor after his death to appease his angry spirit.) After that, I went shopping. I found Mom’s christmas gift, and bought a lot of junk food for people.

I was lucky enough to see part of the ritual honoring Tenjin. The priest’s robes, which I think are based on Heian costumes, were absolutely beautiful. You can’t really see it well in the photo, but his pants and under-robe are sky blue.

KomyozenjiI then walked down to Komyozenji, which is a beautiful little temple. There were piles of shingles stacked everywhere, a beautiful rock garden, and a lovely mossy area in the back.  It was incredibly tranquil and very beautiful.

I also had the best tempura I have ever had, ever. It was a big bowl of it. Delicious! I finally figured out a method for ordering food where they did not have an english menu. As long as they had the models of the food outside, I was able to copy down the characters for its name and then show it to the wait staff , who were both tremendously amused and grateful. I think Kyoto gets many more foregin tourists than the area here, so there is just not the demand for English menus, etc.

Today was spent doing things related to work. I arrived at the hotel around 4pm, and have been in a vegetative state since. I had a ridiculous dinner. It cost a ridiculous amount of money, but it was literally the best steak I have ever had, prepared Japanese style. It was also the best miso soup I have ever had. So fantastic.

img_1884I went swimming after dinner. I’m now relaxing in the hotel with wine from the mini-bar, some bean pancakes I got in Dazaifu, and the National Geographic Channel. We’ve gone from the Apollo program and are now on Jack the Ripper. Nice.

Tomorrow I return to New York. I haven’t quite yet processed that the trip is over. Anyway. I am going to relax for the rest of the evening. I am in the pyjamas the hotel provides, and am relaxing. Although, I may wind up changing the channel. The Jack the Ripper special is a bit gruesome. Enjoy the photo to the left–for some reason, this is what Americans look like in ads on the National Geographic channel.


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