Feels Like Home

DSC07960Every major Japanese city boasts of some tower of sorts, the kind that gives you an adrenaline shot when zipping skywards in their shinkansen-esque elevator. Fukuoka is no exception. Standing at 234 metres, the city’s sentinel, the Fukuoka Tower is all gleaming blue glass, and looks like a slender glass shard from far. And if you visit at 7 p.m., you get to witness a dazzling lights display. Take a leisurely stroll along the Momochi Seaside Park (シーサイドももち, Shīsaido Momochi) and enjoy some lovely evening snaps.

As I took in a 360 degrees view of the city skyline, I thought about my experiences here over the past few days, and what this city meant to me. Many people see Fukuoka as nothing more than a transit hub (like a ‘Frankfurt’ of sorts), a base from which to explore the Kyushu region. “Functional Fukuoka”, some may say. True, Fukuoka may not have the diversity of attractions that Tokyo boasts of, or the cultural richness that Kyoto exudes. Yet, Fukuoka combines a cosmoplitan vibe with the laid-back charm of a coastal city. It’s a curious mix that makes a city-dweller like me feel, almost, at home.  LS

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Hello world!

After not blogging for the longest time (and still a little rusty and unsure if I want to get back into this to be honest), I’ve decided I would give it a shot. I was really inspired by this blog called mykoreaneats which I stumbled upon while doing some research on the best places to feast in Seoul. I’m sure all the foodies out there will fall in love with mykoreaneats.

However, for lonesojourns, I would let my images do most, if not all the talking. These have been captured and exhibited only on Facebook, so it seems like a massive waste not to share them somewhere else.

I’ve titled the blog “lonesojourns” because it is exactly what it says. These images have been snapped during my travels, and I hope you would like them.

I have a special fondness for both Korea and Japan, so many of the snaps you’re going to see came from my sojourns there. Instead of the usual Tokyo or Kyoto sights, we’re heading to Kyushu. In my opinion, this is the most underrated island of Japan but also one of the most beautiful. There are so many things to see and do here, check it out!

Fukuoka / Hakata

Fukuoka, or Hakata as it is more commonly known in the olden days, is Kyushu’s largest metropolis. Its cosmopolitan vibe can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago when this part of Japan was a lively trading centre at a time when much of Japan is ‘closed’ to the world. The city is famed for its devotion to ramen (ラメン), whether all under one roof, or scattered along the banks of the Nakagawa (yatai or mobile hawker stalls along the streets).

Sadly, when I visited, probably due to the cold weather, there are few of these. In any case, you wouldn’t be short-changed if you chose to dine at any of the famous ramen establishments – Ippudo, Ichiran or Ikkousha – yes, this Holy Trinity of Ramen all originated from Hakata.

Hakata has a lively matsuri calendar, which culminates in a mikoshi (gigantic portable shrines) race through the city (also known as the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri 博多祇園山笠) from 1- 15 July. Other matsuri include the Hakozaki-gu Tamatorisai (筥崎宮 玉取彩 – 3 January) and Hakata Dontaku Matsuri ( 博多どんたく港祭 – 3 & 4 May).  LS

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