Friday, 15 March 2013

Class Trips: Tenjin Shrine and Hakata-eki / Disaster Prevention / Beer Factory

Tenjin Shrine and Hakata Station 27th Feb 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post the shinto god Tenjin has a number of shrines, not just in Dazaifu, and the area Tenjin in Fukuoka is named after him. So no surprise then that there is a tiny shrine dedicated to him in the middle of the Tenjin area. It is tiny in comparison to Dazaifu Tenmangu. A small space tucked between the skyscrapers. Really pretty though. Obviously because of it's size we didn't spend much time there. Showed new students how to wash hands and pray at the shrine (there were also instructions in Japanese on signs which were the first I'd ever seen).

So because we didn't spend much time there we got a bus and rose it all the way to Hakata Station. Which I didn't write about before but Wes and I cycled to it from our house one weekend and explored. It's basically a really big station/shopping mall. So because we'd been there I introduced the others to kaitenyaki (round cooked dough with azuki beans in the middle) and we all headed up to the terrace where you could see the whole of Fukuoka.

(Lady making and selling kaiten yaki. Omnomnom.)

After the station it was time to head back but because we had two new students I stayed in Tenjin with them to show them all the important shops. Wes had to skype so he left and it was just 3 of us girls which was fun. We basically spend hours in Mandarake and the Bookoff Bazaar (only the two most important shops in Tenjin). Needless to say when I returned home I was a lot poorer than I'd planned to be ^^;;;

Fukuoka Disaster Prevention Centre 6th March

A week passed and it was another trip! To be honest I thought this sounded really boring at first but after hearing a description of the Disaster Prevention Centre I got really excited. It's a facility that teaches people how to prepare for disasters, and it's not just boring lectures, they actually have simulations so it feels like you're in a disaster. Let me elaborate. The first thing we did was watch a short video about the different disasters in Japan (very much a everyone you love with die if you don't prepare kinda video that was a tad OTT). But, the second thing we did was go into a fire simulated maze. It was a number of rooms in the dark filled with smoke (but not to the level that would kill you cos that would be stupid) and you had to find your way from one end to the other but finding and following emergency exit signs. There were rooms in pitch black, doors that you could't open cos there was 'fire' (red lighting) behind it, and a number of doors so you could get lost. It was a small maze but so cool!

The next thing we did was taught how to use fire extinguishers which we tried out on an interactive (water proof) screen that showed had a video of a bin fire. Then there was a room that had a typhoon and an earthquake simulator. It was educational and a lot of fun!

(Old Japanese guy shows us how to put out a fire)

Then after the centre we walked down the road to the Hakata Museum, which on the outside was huuuge but there wasn't much inside which I was a bit disappointed about. What was fun was a room where you could touch a load of stuff like musical instruments from SE Asia, and clothes from all over the world.

(I tried on a Chinese dress and Wes tried a hat)

Asashi Beer Factory 13th Feb

Asashi is a pretty famous beer not just in Japan but all over the world but I had no idea there was a factory for it in Fukuoka 10mins from the school! We had another new student so the 7 of us (including one of the teachers Yamauchi) went. The factory tour was mostly colourful pictures and videos about how beer is made (kinda reminded me of the Cadbury chocolate factory in the UK). And there was a part where you could see the beer being boxed but it was a maintenance day so it wasn't running :( But at the end we got free beer and juice! Only had 20 mins and max of 3 1/2 pint glasses. I tried a glass and almost threw up...I really, really, really hate beer. But it was free so I couldn't help it >_< Wes had to finish my glass off for me. Luckily juice was unlimited so a downed 2 cans of apple juice which helped a lot. Yeah I'm never gonna try liking beer ever again...

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