Monday, February 11, 2013

My super terrific happy Japan trip

Have you ever said anything really stupid?  I mean really stupid.  Then there's that reaction where the person's face that you are talking to glazes over in a stupor trying to process the nonsensical information that has just been presented to him/her.

My initial plan was to attend graduate school immediately after my undergraduate studies.  Things worked out a little different, and I ended up moving to France with my wife.  At the end of our stay in France, my wife and I decided that we would move to Korea (my wife had been to Korea before to visit a friend and had really liked it).

Me being me, she was incessantly bombarded with questions over the next month and a half ranging from the mundane to the utterly ridiculous.  The best being, "Is there a subway system in Busan?  Yes.  Wow, so if like we're on the subway will everyone be Korean"? 

This was my fourth trip to Japan since I've lived in Asia and the thrill of being around real live Japanese people still hasn't worn off (remember, I'm stupid). 

I can't say that I've ever traveled to a friendlier, cleaner, or safer country in the world.  Also, Fukouka (my destination for five days) is an absolutely wonderful city.  I departed on Friday morning from Busan heading to Fukouka.  I was taking a high speed hydrofoil ferry that would get me to Japan in a little under three hours.

                                            The BEETLE ferry

 I checked the weather for the time I would be staying in Fukouka, and it said that the temperature would be in the lower fifties, sunny and partly cloudy.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived in Fukouka and it was snowing!  Not just light snow.  I'm talking big huge snow flakes coming down in droves.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  Anyway, it was freezing cold.

                               Fukouka port

Arriving at my hotel, imagine my second surprise as less than two steps away was an Isami shop!  I had no idea that there was even an Isami shop in Fukouka.  Before I even checked into the hotel I dragged my poor unsuspecting wife into the store, so that I could drool all over everything.  Unfortunately, everything was too damn expensive and besides I can get the same Isami/RVDDW stuff in Korea for a fraction of the price.  They did have a few things that I haven't seen in Korea.  In particular a few really cool shirts, but none of them were in my size.

                               Isami Fukouka

                                            Unfortunately, not for sale (*drool)

                               Tokoro & "Hell Boy" Hansen autographs

On Sunday, I went to train at Axis Fukouka headed by Axis black belt Takeshi Kanda.

                               Axis Fukouka

The last time I had trained with Mr. Kanda was about a year and a half ago when I was a blue belt.  I arrived for the 2:00 p.m. class and saw a few guys already on the mat.

 I guess there had been a previous class, because there were some other guys getting dressed and getting ready to leave.  Sunday was an open mat day, so I spent the afternoon sparring with Mr. Kanda, a brown belt, and a couple of white belts.  Everyone was very nice, and of course I was very impressed with Mr. Kanda's technique (duh, he's a black belt).  His style is very similar to my main instructor's style, and I like it a lot.  He even took the time to show me a sneaky submission (that he caught me with over and over again), give me some pointers, and answer a few questions that I had. 

   "The Man"-Mr. Kanda and I

   Axix Fukouka

As I write this, my lazy butt is still contemplating on whether or not to wake up and catch the 11:00 a.m. class before I head back to Busan. 

    Fukouka castle

   Japanese Gardens

   Japanese Gardens

   A temple

    Someone's house-I love the houses dammit!

   Life sized Bearbricks 400%-the one on the far right end costs $900.00, the cheapest one was  $600.00

                                           A vending machine that

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