Fukuoka surprised me.
Fukuoka was another stop in Japan for me. I had zero expectations. But felt a little hesitant when I agreed to be part of this foodie-expedition leg in this south part of Japs.
So coming here to find a very chill side of Japan was great. Fukuoka gives you a easy-feeling, and a nice warm and slow flow of happiness inside you. With the perpetual drizzle, I was suddenly transported back to home (where it rains lightly 300 days a year, or so it seems).
Me, a travel-crazy friend from Singapore, and some Shanghai folks who wanted a breather (literally) met up there. Getting to Fukuoka was a breeze - the guy at Osaka's rail pass booth made a mistake and unknowingly gave us tickets on the super fast bullet train which got us there in half the time.
Anyway, Fukuoka is famous for its Tonkatsu ramen (pork bone soup noodles), so that started the hunt for delicious ramen at a stretch of outdoor food shops known as a "Yatai". Ok, we got to one Yatai and it sat like 10 people max around the counter where the chef prepares his speciality. Ours was oden (mixture of boiled fish and vegetable things), grilled meats and ramen. But his ramen was nothing to brag about. We were soooo hungry by then that we ate like pigs (ahh.. what's new) and were chased out as soon as the plates were cleared. Flicking the curtains to get out of the tiny shop, a line up was already waiting in the freezing February cold.
The cheese bread at the bakeries were also fantastic. What can I say, I eat a lot!
One simply unforgettable moment had to be at the Onsen (a public hotspring bath) and a modesty towel that they give to cover your naughty parts. Modesty shouldn't be the word to describe the towel for sure as it doesn't cover anything! I said before the trip that I would just die if I had to stripe down with my sisters or friends, and here I was at a public bath with tons of young and old, thin and fat women naked, and only a tiny towl.
If you've been to an onsen before, you would know that there are certains ways of going about in an onsen - like how you must scrub down first, or if you enter the hotspring bath area naked or covered, or if you can bring your towel with you. But no one could speak English (or they didn't dare) and we didn't know any Japanese to find out the rules of what to do there. So we bumbled our way around and got stared at quite a bit. Ha ha... at least we found out belatedly that the shower stalls weren't for bathing, and that we had to sit down on stools and lather up from head to toe.
The hotspring water was deliciously silky and so wonderfully warm. There was also a ice-cold tub of springwater to throw all over your body to shock your body and cool down. It was awesome. That's what a tired girl's got to do to get a lil pampering! Yes that's right. Modesty towel or not, I'll definitely go back to an onsen. Everyone should! I only wish they have something like this where I live.