Fukuoka, Japan – January 5, 2013, Part One

The sunlight, and the fact that it was so warm that I didn’t need to zip up my jacket, put me in a remarkably good mood. I took the train to what the tourist handbook advertised as the largest underground recreation of a 14th century European street in Asia. Which presumably means there’s more than one?
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It was basically a big hallway with brown metal latticework on the ceiling. But I liked this connecting hallway:
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Fukuoka is a port city, so there were rivers to cross. They were decorated with iron lamps and brick walkways, giving them a European feel:
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I was trying to get a sense of how quiet the city is, but the highlight of this video is the cosplay woman – or was she just dressed up? The fashions in Japan were crazy for both men and women – not for everyone, but the costumed ones really stood out.

Nearby there was a long, sedate tourist market:
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But I preferred walking outside better:
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Cats were everywhere! These were patient enough to let me take a few pictures before dispersing.

Street posters

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I think that’s a heavily photoshopped photo.
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On the wall of a small pachinko parlour.

I visited one of the many shrines, still very much in use by the locals:

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A detail from a 30-foot high statue-totem.
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An approach to a spot to pray. These lowered slightly as you walked – possibly I’m the only one who noticed due to my height, but that gave them a powerful, oppressive quality, despite their bright colouring.

And, nearby, a rather offensive appropriation of a black power slogan:
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Some contrasts

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Pepito, the biggest cat in the whole wide world, by day:
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By night:
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Pepito was across the river from the red-light district, full of host clubs. I picked up a host magazine and will blog about it separately. But for now, who’s your favourite? I like Kouichi for his waterfall-hair:
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Opposite, the most unexpected anti-capitalist graffiti I could imagine:
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Particularly since Fukuoka felt nothing like Babylon.

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They’re everywhere and more serious here. They feature a wide selection of ready meals, interesting candy and rows of magazines. Of a weekend-night, men can be found reading them, standing evenly spaced by the window.

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