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Thursday, 14 June 2012


An epic tale
Hello and welcome to Only D Brave blogpost!  Im just about managing to post every week.  Im hoping to keep up this trend!  Now this reloaded post is a favourite of mine!  This occurred in my first week of Japan and I am was thoroughly entertained reading through this one - i hope you guys enjoy it too!

Hi guys! I haven’t updated in a while for two reasons. Firstly I have been just exploring, experiencing, and enjoying Japan!  The second and main reason is the events of my third day in Japan.  Imagine a day so incredulous, so unbelievable that it could only be a Hollywood script written my leprechauns imps and unicorns. If there was ever a tale then  this would be it.

Third post reloaded

Hi guys! I haven’t updated in a while for two reasons. Firstly I have been just exploring, experiencing, and enjoying Japan!  The second and main reason is the events of my third day in Japan.  Imagine a day so incredulous, so unbelievable that it could only be a Hollywood script written my leprechauns imps and unicorns. If there was ever a tale then  this would be it.

Morning after the night before
So from last night partying adventure I wearily woke up and got ready for my next stop in the Japan tour Fukuoka!  I’ve been there a couple of times but always as a guest of someone, never on my lonesome.  After packing I googled the mode of transport (train) from Osaka to Fukuoka leaving at 1.45. it was going to take 3.5 hours and 1 change. I checked out quite early and realised that I could actually get the 12.45 train if I was quick enough.  And quick enough I was, arrived at Shin-Osaka at 12.30, purchased my ticket to Fukuoka Station and was ready for my journey to the next city.

As so it begins

First of all the train was 45 mins late. Now from all the people I know who have been to Japan and from my prior experiences, public transport is ALWAYS on time!  This should have been a sign that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary day. The delay meant my plan for arriving for 4 had been dashed and looks like the original plan of 5 still stood.
Took the Nozomi (bullet train) to Kanazawa (just under 3 hours) changed and then got a standard train to Fukuoka station.  Along the way I was saying to myself ‘this is looking really rural, I’m seeing trees mountains rivers and stuff, I’m sure Fukuoka is a quite urban city’  but 2 stops before Fukuoka Station civilisation started to return and shops and buildings appeared.

Arrived at Fukuoka station and it looked really really small.  I thought this must be a station in Fukuoka that I’d never been to, handed in my ticket and looked on the map hmm couldn’t see a connection to Tenjin.  So I asked the station guard “ Tenjin wa Doko?”  (Where is Tenjin?)  He looked  at me blankly.  I then asked him about another station I knew called Hakata.  The guard gasped and had a horrified look on his face.  He brought out some big timetable book and showed me Shin-Osaka  the station where I started off.  He then pointed out Hakata station that was South West of Osaka.  Then he showed me Fukuoka station….. Which wasn’t in Fukuoka.  Actually it was North East of Osaka.!!!

For my UK peeps this is akin to travelling from Birmingham to Liverpool Street station in London , getting there and then realising you should have gone to Liverpool Lime street station in Liverpool.  Oh yes I had travelled for 3.5 hours carting 42kg of luggage in the total opposite direction and was  in a station with ticket guy who speaks no English at all. This was not going to the script i had transcribed in my head   Firstly the station guy got on the phone and was frantically speaking to someone about the situation.  He then in Japanese instructed me what I had to do next, return back to Kanazawa, get the nozomi back to Shin-Osaka and then get on the Shinkansen(bullet style train) to hakata station in Fukuoka.  Estimated arrival time of arrival 2359!!

One thing I have to give Japan props is the customer service.  The station guy at Fukuoka station printed out a the route I had to take and the times of the connecting trains.  As the train back to Kanazawa was approaching he locked up his office, came to the platform carried my backpack and took me to the train driver,  explained the situation to him and gave me a written explanation that I could show to the any station staff I would meet along the way.  Once I got off at Kanazawa the train driver again went over what route I had to take, explained the situation to the station guard and took me to the correct platform explaining the situation to the new train driver and this process was replicated throughout my entire journey to Hakata in Fukuoka.  !

Thank goodness the madness was over.. Or was it
Went from the train station down to the Subway, only to be told that the last train had just gone.  Great ok so its going to be taxi time.  Showed the taxi-driver a print screen of my accommodation address on the laptop and we were good to go.  Within 7 mins I had arrived at destination.  I thanked the taxi driver and wheeled my luggage to the glass automatic doors - that didn’t open.  Now there should have been a person on duty 24/7 but they were nowhere to be seen.  After 10 minutes of knocking on the glass and trying to find another entrance to the building I decided I might as well go to an internet café.  These cafes do a lot more than the UK ones, you can actually take showers there or play play station as well.  I was just about to leave when one of the residents came to the door.  They input their key card and open sesame, automatic doors open!  Like a thief in the night I went in with them.  Looked around the lobby for a person or telephone but found nothing.  Again after another 10 mins I was gonna go back to plan B internet café plan when a Japanese guy around the same age as me, entered the building - who happened to be the porter! What a relief! So with his broken English and my broken Japanese I tried to explain that I had a room at this place. And I was delayed.  The guy looked confused and beckoned me to sit down. While I was sitting down he opened a side door pulled his cigarettes and put some Mary j in my hands!! Damn it if I smoked I could have so done with that after the day I had!  I respectfully declined and instead showed him a picture of the address and map I had previously saved on my laptop.  I then heard the words I dreaded - I think your in the wrong place!!
The porter said wait one moment and then disappeared leaving me to curse the taxi driver,  curse the day and curse the Japanese for having a station called Fukuoka that’s not in Fukuoka!!  The porter then returned with an English speaking guy from the café across the street.  His parents were both American  but he was born as raised in Japan. He looked at the picture on my laptop and confirmed that I was at the wrong place but he said that the actual place was just round the corner. So porter, café guy and myself took my luggage and went round the corner to what I was hoping was the right place.

You can’t be serious
30 sec  later we were at the new location.  This time was able to get in through the automatic doors and there was a phone to call down the night porter.  Café guy spoke with him and he confirmed this was the right place - YESSS!!!! I sat down an heaved a huge sigh of relief….however…  Although this was the right place he had no record of my reservation.  The person who worked the earlier shift had my arrival time as 4-6pm ( I was at the other Fukuoka Station at that time)  They heard no news from me so had me down as a no show, so the night porter said I couldn’t stay.  With another 25 mins of negotiations, it was agreed that I’d pay the room rate for the night 5000 yen and then square up the rest of the sum with the day staff the next morn.  So after 13 hours, 5 train journeys,  3 prefectures, 2, accommodation buildings and 1 taxi ride I finally Got from Osaka to Fukuoka!

Tune in next time for how life in Fukuoka is.

Japanese word of the Day - Doko -Where?

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