Well, we had a 3 day weekend, which never happens, so Ben and I decided to go visit Elaine in Japan.
Naturally, I got sick about 2 days before we left.
We intended to leave bright and early Saturday morning, but there was an error when we booked our tickets and somehow we ended up on a 2PM plane on Saturday. But that was ok, since Fukuoka, the airport near Elaine, is less than an hour by plane.
We arrived at customs and they asked for Elaine's address. I didn't know that. (Thinking back, that did seem like information I should have had.) So, they asked us for Elaine's name. She wasn't in the system. So they asked me for her birthday. I didn't know it. Well, I had an approximate guess, which turned out to be correct, but I wasn't sure. Somehow, without any information except the city we were staying in, we made it through customs.
Elaine told us about a train pass we could get that was 100 dollars for 3 days, which was a great deal. Trains (and everything else) in Japan are very expensive. About 100 in each direction, so it was quite the deal. The pass was only for tourists, so Elaine can't get the same pass.
The lady at the help desk was very helpful and spoke English very well. When we got our pass and went back to her to ask for directions to the train station, she said "Congratulations!"
We took a pictures with Kumamon, the bear mascot of Kumamoto, then took the tram to Elaine's apartment.
We dropped off our stuff and went to dinner. We ate the best food I have ever had in my life. It is hard to explain how amazing everything was, but it was incredibly. Expensive of course, but incredible.
And it was. It was chewy but so delicious. I was feeling guilty about eating it, yet continued to eat it.
We also had shrimp with Japanese mayonnaise on top that I don't have a picture of, but was also fabulous.
Japanese mayonnaise is so delicious, mostly likely due to the MSG that is in it. Not joking...
We then met up with some of Elaine's coworkers and wandered around Kumamoto.
This is the view from Elaine's apartment.
We then went to sleep in Elaine's awesome apartment. It has a room that is very tradition Japanese, which is where we had our sleepover.
We decided to go to Nagasaki the next day to visit the Atomic Bomb Museum.
We took a fairly early train, but decided to walk by Kumamoto Castle that morning, since it's close to where Elaine lives.
We saw this cool door.
We had to transfer once to get to Nagasaki.
On the second train, which was about 90 minutes, I started coughing. And coughing. And coughing.
I didn't stop coughing for almost the entire trip. I was coughing so hard. There were a few moments that I thought I was going to vomit from coughing so hard, but luckily that didn't happen. That would have been embarrassing. I felt very bad for the other people on the train, but there was really nothing that I could do about it.
Luckily, it mostly stopped by the time we reached Nagasaki, only to return in the Atomic Bomb museum where everyone was solemn and quiet.
Taxi drivers are all dressed up in Japan, have a little button that they press and the door opens and the taxis are adorable.
We saw these stairs and thought, "Oh it would be a great idea to walk down those!"
Well, really, it was more of a, "well, let's see where these go!"
But, we decided not to continue down the path because it was scary.
This was a statue outside the museum.
You had to put your ticket through this ticket counter in order to get into the museum. The giant space on the other side sort of defeated the purpose, but you still had to.
So we bought ice cream and sat in the park.
We then walked around the park near the museum, called Nagasaki Peace Park. It's used to commemorate the people who died in the bomb as a reminder not to use atomic bombs ever again
Well, we think they were a boy band, because that man in the front was filming them looking reverently at the Peace Statue.
Notice the tail that is stuck throw it's head.
We had some Japanese Ramen, which is so much better than any Ramen you've ever eaten. It's creamy and delicious. I highly recommend it.
Afterwards, we played some speed scrabble then went to bed.
The next day, we wandered around Kumamoto, which I will write about in my next blog post.