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