In the past year, I’ve been out of the country twice – both to Fukuoka, Japan. Yep – I haven’t been home in over a year, but I’ve been to Japan twice. Wanna know why? Because it’s super close (a 40 minute plane trip) and super amazing. I’ve spent time on every continent except Antarctica, Australia, and Europe (yes, really… all the places filled with white people), but Japan is the most magical place I’ve ever been to. I had to go back.

I don’t know how to explain Japan. Maybe watch some Studio Ghibli movies (Spirited Away, Totoro, Ponyo,  The Secret Life of Arrietty, Princess Mononoke…). It’s clean, it’s beautiful, it’s green, it’s quiet, it’s romantic, it’s soft, it’s balanced, it’s subtle, it’s polite. After I came back, I told people it was like Disneyland – it’s just pristine. It’s lovely and perfect. I know, I know, I was a tourist and it isn’t perfect, but yes, it is. It’s perfect.

Except the expensive part. Wow! Expensive! We did eat out – a LOT. Steven and I are foodies. We don’t care as much about traveling far and wide, climbing mountains or visiting touristy destinations. We want to eat and we want to feel the locality of a place. So we requested the good food. And trust me, we got the good food – obviously we ate sushi and ramen (donkatsu ramen us famous in Fukuoka), but we also had brand new delicacies: yakitori, matcha green tea and traditional cake dumplings, udon, and motsunabe. Motsunabe! It was so delicious and rich and amazing! The only meal I wasn’t totally impressed with was the BBQ, and that’s probably because I live in Korea, the land of amazing BBQ. But the company was great, there was a flower bear/dog staring at me the whole time, and I got tipsy super fast because I was so hungry. And I can now say that I’ve eaten cow tongue and cartilage. Tongue – good! Cartilage – no!

We went to Dazaifu and Nokonoshima. Dazaifu was quaint and picturesque. It’s where we at the best sushi, saw the famous Starbucks, visited a Shinto Shrine, Tenman-gu (where I saw a Kirin unicorn and found out that I’m super lucky), Komyozen-ji Zen Garden, and were taught how to drink matcha in the traditional Japanese style. We took the ferry to Nokonoshima, had udon, and rode the bus up to a huge park, and I got to see a huge rabbit community and talk to some goats. We sat on a patio and sipped on drinks at the top of the quiet island, and I took my bottle home with me.

We stayed with our friend Rebekah, who made the trip better than we could have ever expected or planned on our own. For one thing, traveling with someone who speaks the language always helps, but traveling with a friend is even better. We got both. For another thing, she’s super adventurous, and was willing to drag us from hither to thither even when our own energy was lagging. And a major bonus: she’s dating the CUTEST Japanese guy, Kentaro, and we got to hang out with lots of Japanese people, not JUST other foreigners living abroad. I loved that. Anyway, thanks to Rebekah and Kentaro for taking time out of their lives – and vacations! – to hang with us and show us around. Please come to Korea again soon so we can reciprocate with even more amazing (or… inferior) foods and activities!

I don’t feel very creative right now so I’m just going to finish this post with lots of pictures. By the way, the title of this blog is the second line in the song “Mr. Roboto.” Until the day we meet again.

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