Fukuoka, Japan – Sunday, January 6 to Monday, January 7

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday in Fukuoka was as bright as Saturday. Keep in mind this is January. I headed to the modern art gallery and relaxed with a soy latte from Starbucks, by a little lake, watching middle class Japanese people walking their children and dogs. The gallery itself was great, with a small collection including a Warhol, Rothko, and one of those 1960s artists whose paintings look like a pinball machine. Afterwards I walked through the grounds of a nearby fortress, whose riverside reminded me a lot of a mini-Central Park:

In the park opposite, a blurry couple posing for wedding photographs in traditional dress:

I’m not sure what this is about, or why it was in the park grounds, but I love the graphic:

Cars, bicycles and pedestrians, all with their separate paths. Notice how clean and uncrowded everything is:

Just to the right, a pool of wilted flowers:

Further on, what looks like the head office of the cult of Happy Science:

Across the road:

Further on, Futata The Flag, apparently a mall of high-end menswear:

Later I found a used goods store with rows and rows of impossibly cool men’s jackets arranged by colour from bright pink to bright green, very few of which fit me. Upstairs in the more sedate book section, this creepy offering:

I find the idea of missionaries going anywhere to be galling, but at least they’re not going to do much damage on the Isle of Man:

I’ve asked myself this many times:

The shop had a huge section of vintage toys, most from the last 20 years, but I particularly liked the older, retro robots, tin trains and plastic figurines. The design sensibility was simpler and more direct:

Wandering back to the hostel, I went through the host district again. This gives you a sense of how loud pachinko parlours are. It was a small one, and I’m not inside it, but the cacophony is still a little overwhelming:

The same temple from Saturday, this time at night:

A forlorn little building directly opposite:

A philosophical pachinko parlour:

All fixed set patterns are incapable
of adaptability or pliability
The truth is outside of all fixed patterns

On consideration, knowing life has no fixed patterns could put me in the mood for gambling.

At this point it was dark out, and I noticed a strange red swirl in the road:

Upon closer inspection, it was a revolving circle of LED lights in the middle of a small intersection. I still can’t divine its purpose, but it was pretty:

An empty lot! The fact that it struck me as strange and a little mysterious showed me how used I’ve gotten to Seoul, where every inch of space is used:

Monday, January 7 2013

Today I was to fly back to Korea to begin my second six-month stint as a tourist. I was anticipating a lot of hard questions, which gave my last day in Fukuoka a special poignancy. It felt like I was enjoying my last moments of freedom. This photo encapsulates it – the narrow plots stretching into the distance:

While dragging my suitcase reluctantly along the even streets, I chanced upon a vintage Danish home furnishing store. I instantly wanted to furnish my house with everything inside this place. Well, and to have a house which I could furnish:

I saw this logo on trucks, which makes me think it’s a very cute moving company:

Those are green roofs:

City hall has a forest on top. Birds were actually circling the trees before I took this photo:

A James Brown monster:

In the event, I got through customs without problems. I wore a tie: when travelling, it helps to look like a professional. This also helps me method-act, in this case making myself believe that I’m a professional-in-waiting, rather than an unemployed PhD living off a bank loan. The customs officer was polite, friendly and efficient, and I got back to Korea with a renewed resolve to find work, seek out new experiences and blog more.


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