Friday, 29 March 2013
Cycling to Fukuoka Tower
Wes and I got our shiny bikes within the first week of arriving in Japan in order to save money on trains. Wes got a shiny green bike and I got a shiny blue one. So we decided to try cycling to a few places. Many of them ambitious so to start of we decided to go to Fukuoka Tower which is on the other side of the city (about 8 miles away).
So March 9th we wake up and news on the internet is warning about the high pollution that's blown in from China and that people should avoid doing a lot of outdoor exercise. But because there wasn't any news on the TV we decided what the heck we'll give it a go anyway. Yes there was a slight haze is the sky over the city but apart from that it was a hot sunny day.
From our house it took about an hour and a bit to get to the other side of the city. But we didn't go straight to the tower. In the bay area is the huge baseball dome and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks mall (yes the baseball team here have their own mall). It was actually quite small with not that many interesting shops, so we wandered for a bit had lunch and cycled off to the tower. On the way though we cycled along the beach which I wasn't expecting cos Japan isn't much of a sunbathing on the beach kind of country.
Fukuoka tower was (we learnt from the attendants there) built in 1989 for the Pan-Asianic Games (I think). From the outside it looks like a bunch of offices but inside it really is just the lobby, hollow tower structure and then 3 viewing floors at the top (the second floor is a cafe). When we got there we were umming and ahhing about whether to go up because of the cost and the haze blocking the view, but after getting a picture with the tower's mascot Futou-kun we decided to go for it! And we were pleasantly surprised to get a 10% discount for being from America! (Ok I didn't say I was from the UK cos Wes answered first)
When we got up there there was indeed a haze of pollution over the city that wasn't as noticeable from the ground but the view was still pretty impressive. Fukuoka's a small city, it's got a lot more green than Osaka and Tokyo, the people are nice and it's a really relaxed city to live in. But it's still Japan and they have weird things all over the place including a section in the tower called "Lovers Corner" where couples pay for a heart shaped padlock which they write their names on and clip to some rails. It was cute and kinda weird/creepy at the same time. Not the padlocks themselves, but just the set up with a large heart and signs saying how they want to spread love...
At the bottom of the tower there was a huge statue of a camera with a weird set up. We watched an elderly couple as they set up their camera on the statue, set the camera onto timer and got a shot of the two of them infront of the tower. Genius idea! They were sweet enough to explain it to us afterwards so we got our own photo too ^-^
After Fukuoka tower it was still early in the day so decided to cycle over to Tenjin (10 mins away by bike) to check out the book shop and to get a crepe. When we arrived there was a huge crowd of people walking down the street with signs and a guy with a mike shouting stuff. It was obviously some kind of protest but I had noooo idea what for. And the people who were doing it were mostly middle aged people who even had a few kids with them. A very strange sight.
We then took a different route home (stopping off at another book shop) and got home pretty late so we decided to finish the day off with some Kappa sushi~ I think we'd cycled in total about 21miles and walked ontop of that. It was tiring.