We come in peace

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, September 9, 2005

Had a pretty good nights sleep and the alarm woke me up at 7:45 as we had decided the night before. As we hadn`t seen much of Fukuoka the night before we had decided to wake up early and catch a few of the sights before heading off to Hiroshima.

However come 9am Dave was still asleep so I kept myself busy watching baseball and kiddies English language programmes on the TV until he finally surfaced. To avoid another debacle like last night we decided to phone a couple of hotels listed in the guidebook. With a hotel successfully in the bag we left the capsule hotel, stashed our bags in a locker and the station and caught the subway to see a little more of Fukuoka.

One thing I had noticed when wandering around Tenjin last night was the amount of women. They must have outnumbered the men by about 2:1 and were almost all stunningly beautiful. So men of the world, if you like your women of the Asian variety and Japanese is your particular preference then head down to Fukuoka!

We headed towards the sea and saw Fukuoka tower in the distance. Pretty impressive glass stucture and seeing as we had walked all the way there thought we may as well go to the top, even though it was a rip-off at 800yen! The whole structure is totally empty apart from a couple of observation floors about 130 metres up. Either way the view was alright and it would have been a waste of time to have not gone up. Had a quick walk along the beach before heading back to Fukuoka train station.

Were pretty hungry so went looking for some food. We had seen a Yoshinoya fast food restaurant round the corner from the station but on entering saw there was no menu and you had to buy a token from the vending machine which was handily all in Japanese. Disapointed we headed into KFC next door. Had a Zinger burger, or as they call it "Red Hot Sand?" and the smallest portion of chips in the world (about 5 chips!).

We then managed to catch the slow ass Kodoma train again bound for Hiroshima calling at all stations. On reaching Hiroshima it was bloody boiling and our hotel was on the other side of town!

We got outside and saw they have a great tram system that runs to destinations all over the city for a reasonable 150 yen. Got off at the "Atomic Bomb Dome" and had to walk for about 20 minutes along the river bank in 35C degree heat. Finally arrived at the Aster Plaza and were a bit shocked as it looked like a conference centre.

The twin room was excellent value and worked out at 3100 yen/night for a bloody good hotel room with en-suite. Seeing as it was so good, and the fact we liked Hiroshima almost straight away, we tried to book it for the next 2 nights as well. Unfortunetly it was full for the Saturday but free again on the Sunday. We booked up the room again for Sunday and made arrangements for another hotel just down the road for Saturday.

We headed off to the Peace Museum and wandered round the museum and grounds for about 2 hours. It was very moving and shows the reasons why Hiroshima was chosen and loads of details about the bombs. It also contains some rather graphic pictures of the effects the bomb caused on the people of Hiroshima.

Outside we looked at the memorials to all the people who died and walked around by the "Atomic Bomb Dome", a shell of a building that somehow survived the blast and has remained in the same distressed state ever since.

After a quick shower back at the hotel we headed off to find some dinner. One of the speciallities in Hiroshima is Okonomiyaki. We ended up at Okonomi-mura, a 3 story building with 28 restuarants all selling the same food. The food was delicious! It was like a tortilla like base with batter, a huge pile of cabbage, noodles, spring onion, egg, squid, shrimp and covered in a thick soy sauce. It is cooked on the table in front of you and when it is ready you cut a small piece off and eat it from a plate. It was pretty big and even though I had hardly eaten all day I still found it a struggle to eat all of it.

We went out looking for a bar in the area afterwards but couldn`t find it so just had a walk around. We started walking down a street called Nagarekawa and realised it may have been a mistake. The road was packed and there were a couple of hundred girls all dressed up in their best clothes lined up on the paths trying to persuade men to come into their hostess bars. We walked quickly along the street and it was pretty funny! I look at the "menu" in the doorway of one of these bars and saw the top item cost 237,000 yen! For over 1000 quid I hope they get their monies worth!

In search of drink we went into somewhere we thought was a pub but turned out to be a restaurant. I don`t think they wanted to serve us just a beer but we got one in the end before returning to the hotel before the 12pm curfew for a couple more "good time" beers.
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