Yes! Here's my chronicle of my time in Japan during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).
Off to the pics!
Incheon International Airport.
I obviously wasn't the only one thinking of traveling abroad during this time.
I arrived a little too early. Considering this is the holiday when the entire Korean nation is traveling to see relatives, I thought leaving early was a necessary precaution.
Anyway, I got hungry.
Tip: If you're leaving Incheon International Airport and wanna eat something, look on Arrivals floor or B1. They have restaurants at decent prices. Those on Departures are a rip-off.
Kraze Burger on Arrivals.
I thought is was cool how they displayed the price in 5 different currencies. Good to know!
Time to board Asiana flight 134 . . .
I'd say this is the most comprehensive backseat I've ever seen on an airplane.
Wait, she has a note beside her screen . . .
Oh! Good idea!
What's that red "thing" in front of these people?
Oh, question answered.
Arrive in Fukuoka, Japan.
Greg (my friend) picks me up and we're off.
The subway is where my camera emerges again.
Ok, a typical subway in Fukuoka.
Check out this guy waiting at the door. Do you know that long thing he's carrying is a sword?
The subway train looks older than the Korean ones, but I found the seats much more comfortable.
We get to a stop and and come back up to the surface.
Whoa, a parking lot just for bikes . . .
To the park! (Sorry, don't know the name)
Oh, I like it already.
Interesting how they have a canal right there.
Boats to rent.
Swan boats to rent (couples)
Yey! A bridge!
No fishing sign.
Of course the fish would be here.
These turtles are adults . . .
. . . that's how huge these Koi fish are!
No, you can't eat them.
It might be easier for them to eat you!
Oh yeah, this is Japan.
Oh! Water bikes!
What's the difference?
So orderly, even though we didn't follow the sign very well.
Trash bin/section at the park's Starbucks.
They take recycling seriously here.
Good thing it had English.
I still can't get over this bike parking lot.
This took some getting used to: everyone drives on the left.
A few signs (as we wait for the bus)
Just to let you know where we were.
Ok, the bus system is pretty cool. Let me explain:
You get on the bus and hover your card over a card reader. Don't have a bus card? Just take a ticket from the machine just under said card-reader, and sit/find a spot.
Look at the number you have, then look at the black screen at the front of the bus.
Find your number.
When you get off, the digits in red under your number is how much you owe the bus driver!
Said black screen with all the numbers and each "numbers'" individual fees.
Don't have exact change (which you WILL need)? No worries! There's a machine that gives you change.
Like this one above.
Careful, since this is near where you deposit your bus fee.
The orange machine is where you get your ticket.
Oh yeah, the bus is shiny, it's so clean.
The man paid, and is getting off the bus.
Yes, you get off at the front . . .
. . . and get in through the back (again, where the ticketing machines are).
This is just to show that there is English on Japanese city signs.
My friend and I saw a Hilton, so we thought we could go in and try to get a good view of Fukuoka.
Interesting (and genius!) how they have 2 sets of elevators: those for the higher floors (foreground), and those for the lower floors (background).
In the elevator, this is the floor where we wanna see the view.
So worth it.
Even this area is gorgeous!
I can't stop.
Ah, on the other side, you see the Fukuoka Lions baseball stadium (they just finished a game and there were a ton of people leaving and entering the hotel).
This is just to show the electric sockets in Japan.
Great, have to use the toilet, take your baby, and lock'im up in this baby chair.
I liked them.
Ah, the Hilton . . . thank you for the views.
Next stop: Fukuoka Tower!
If you like collecting stamps (or going on a rally where you have to), Fukuoka caters to you.
Elevator up to the observatory floor.
This is how high up we were (in meters).
I was told it's a "wedding factory."
Apparently many couples try to get married there.
I get it.
View from Fukuoka Tower, looking at the Hilton on the far left.
Greg and I.
I was excited to be there, don't you think?
View from the opposite side.
A more complete view of the above.
Of course, what's a tower/observatory without a compass?
Ah yes, the locks from various couples "locking" themselves in eternal love with each other.
Pretty popular place.
And of course, you see much more Korean than Japanese on said locks.
Same view, but now darker.
Why are you reminding me of Salzburg now?!
This picture doesn't do it justice, but you can see it's raining in the distance, just over the pink skies.
They have some apparent light show every evening, or so I understand.
7/11 . . . The most international convenience store I've known . . . merged with "i-holdings"?
Must be Japanese.
Must . . . turn . . . away . . . from . . . the tower . . .
I like seeing how different, yet still easy to read, these signs are all around the world.
Alrighty then, back on the subway.
See? They do have English.
This is where we were.
Whoa, some stops in Korea are like this, but definitely not all.
I guess suicide by jumping in front of the train is not so common here?
Subway map, lights flashing where the train is.
This is common with all East Asian men that I've seen: Their shoes are way too big for their feet!
Don't know where that comes from.
Oh yeah, we weren't sure if we were gonna catch the train we wanted (a Shinkansen/bullet train, at that), so we had to fly up about 5 floors-worth of stairs. I couldn't. If I tried harder, I would have literally fainted.
But praise GOD, we made it (with about 1 min. to spare)!
Our row, I'm sure Greg was feeling victorious.
Where all the seats are facing.
Wow! Like an airplane!
"Row 5, Seat A & C"
I already knew this, but it just seems cooler when I see it for myself.
We made it (and I didn't faint)!
You can see the electric socket on this picture, right?
Good info to know.
1 more stop and we're in Kumamoto!
We arrive, but now have to transfer onto a smaller train.
Inside said smaller train.
Just like the subway in Korea, but with twice the width of the center aisle.
We get to his stop and commence hiking up the mountain to get to his apartment (when I say "mountain", I'm not kidding--ok, a very big hill).
Before we get to the steep part, there are a couple of restaurants. We go to one that's a sushi bar/buffet.
Since it was near closing time, this was the way to order/get your food.
Assortment of soft drinks.
The Melon Soda (Fanta) is pretty good.
Whoa, we really were among the last . . .
If it's something you ordered, it comes in it's own mini-shinkansen train!
If you order a 200 Yen ($2) plate, you can play a game to see if you win a prize.
We had a regular table and seats, but you can also have the "sitting on the floor" option, without actually sitting on the floor.
Pouring hot water for the green tea.
Must say, it was the most un-adultered green tea I've ever had. Loved it.
Different kinds of fish.
ok, this is some of what I ordered for myself.
No, not all. I don't remember what else I ordered, but there was more.
A look at the damage.
This was really good! It even had a few vegetarian options, which I thought was pretty neat.
So, royally stuffed, we make it up the rest of the way up the big hill. Then we're at my friend's apartment. Oh, it's on the 2nd floor. No problem, at least now I know it's only 1 flight of stairs.
So after +/-20hrs. of being awake and going all over the place (in 2 countries), I went to sleep.
(oh, and apologies for the long post)