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If the northeastern part of Kyuushuu wasn’t called Kita Kyuushuu (“kita” meaning “north”) I probably wouldn’t think of it as The Northern Land considering it’s still much further south than southern Michigan. ^o^;

This past weekend I went to hang with some friends who live in that Northern Land.  First, we headed to Moji to take a boat to Ganryuujima, an island in the Kanmon Straits where famed swordsmen Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirou had their last duel in 1612.

Susanoo, look at me, wooooh ♬

Musashi (at right) fighting Kojirou with a wooden sword he supposedly made from an oar of the boat he'd rowed out to the island in.

After taking many jump shots (that is, taking photos while jumping; unfortunately the ones I took didn’t come out very well) in front of the statue and getting Death Glared by an obaa-chan, we went to look for and skip rocks.  Once we started doing it, *everyone* did it.  >o<  But I can’t skip rocks.  I think I’ve achieved it once in my life, in Lake Huron.

Genji wasn't around to dance "Waves of the Blue Ocean." Sadness.

Then we took another boat to head to Shimonoseki, on Honshuu.  We got there around four o’clock so everything was already closing down.  We got some sea salt ice cream before going through the fish market on the wharf to see about getting some fugu, but since the stalls were closing for the day we’d have to go to a restaurant to get a meal with fugu rather than just buy a piece at the market.  There was another local specialty that I wanted to try so I opted not to risk getting the deadly part of the fish (because my life is plagued by Irony so I know I will die some really stupid way ^o^;;;).

There were helicopters flying about near the wharf.  If I had known in advance that you can go on helicopter rides, I would’ve done it.  It is expensive: the cheapest tour costs 3000 yen and lasts “3-4 minutes.”  A 12-14 minute tour costs over 10,000 yen.  But it’s a helicopter!  It’s not like I can ride a helicopter whenever I feel like it.  I’m not Tseng.  Oh well.

Hm…I wonder what’s more dangerous: eating fugu or flying in a helicopter? ^o^

Having looked around a bit, we decided to head back to Kyuushuu to eat yakikaree (fried curry).  Rather than take the boat back, we decided to walk back via the tunnel for pedestrians and cyclists. (O Reader, do you realize how AWESOME it would be if there were such a tunnel connecting Windsor and Detroit?! I’d go over to Windsor all the time for no reason!) On the way to the tunnel, we saw this cool building.  I forgot what it was called, but it was something for Sino-Japanese relations.  It has the Imperial Seal on it, so it’s a government building.

I'll try to dig around and see if I can figure out what this building is.

Close to the entrance of the tunnel, we saw another statue, this one commemorating the Battle of Dannoura in which Minamoto Yoshitsune and his clan defeated the Heike clan. The statue of the Heike warrior wasn’t very interesting, so I only took Yoshitsune’s picture. ^o^;

Catchin' waves.

Then we went to the tunnel.  It’s accessed via an elevator that takes you underground.  There’s a line in the tunnel showing the boundary between Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyuushuu and Yamaguchi Prefecture on Honshuu.

If one commits a crime while on the line, whose jurisdiction does it fall under?

About 10 minutes later we emerged back in Moji.  We walked by the track of the Shortest Train Line in Japan, home of the Slowest Train in Japan.  It’s a small, sight-seeing train. We were lucky enough to see it coming once we had already crossed the track.  One of my friends decided to race it. ^O^  He was wearing flip-flops, and it was drizzling, so while he kept pace with it, he didn’t outrun it.  I couldn’t see it myself, but apparently the conductor was very amused. XDD  I didn’t take any pictures, but here’s a post about it on another blog (Japanese only).

After that it started to pour.  My little umbrella only kept the rain off my head, but I was pretty wet otherwise and my friends were soaked.  Once we got to the first building with an awning we stood under it and tried to dry ourselves off with our little handkerchiefs.  The building housed an Indian food restaurant, and since we were standing there for a good while the proprietors were staring at us.  But it worked out, since we had planned on eating yakikaree anyway we decided to eat in that restaurant. I liked the yakikaree, but my favorite part was the naan since I love breads.

The area the restaurant was in is called Moji Retro.  It has many old, European style buildings that were renovated as tourist attractions some 20 years ago (so I read).  You can get rickshaw rides there, as well as take a picture with Banana Man, the Messenger of Love and Justice.


I think the rickshaw drivers leave their rickshaws on purpose so people can take pictures of them.

The white bridge in the background of the above photo connects Kyuushuu and Honshuu.  The tunnel is at about the same place.

After that, we headed downtown to Kokura. We took jump shots in front of Kokura Castle and discussed fire drills.  Why, I don’t remember. ^o^;

Because important cultural artifacts were meant to be jumped in front of. If you don't do it, the daimyou will cry and he won't be able to take over the whole country.

Oh dear, what ludicrous jokes I make.