Kyushu: Day 1 (Dec 31)
Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2004 at 2:04am by Brett.
(Thursday, January 8th, 2004 at 4:04pm Japanese Standard Time)
For the next 7 days, I'll be writing about the trip I took to Kyushu with my tutor, Sei. Kyushu is the southernmost island of the Japanese archipelago. While I was there, I visited Sei's family and my relatives. Sei's family is in Ooita, which is on the north west side of Kyushu, and my relatives are in Kagoshima, which is on the southeast side.
Check out my gallery for images.
Our plans were to leave Tsukuba around 9:00, take the bus to Haneda airport, and then fly to Fukuoka. From Fukuoka we'd take the bus to Sei's hometown's bus station where his mom would pick us up. We were set to be there by dinner.
We got to Haneda airport on time around 11:30, but ran into some problems there. We were trying to buy our tickets but they were sold out. The soonest they could get us in was a 2:45 flight. That wasn't too much of a wait, so we grabbed some lunch and then went to the counter to buy our tickets.
No such luck. We were bumped back again. It was only to 3:15, so we waited by the ticket counter. We went to go buy our tickets for the third time. When we got up there, they were only able to take one of us onto the flight. Sei went ahead, and I stayed back waiting to take the next flight at 5:45.
The flight went well. My ticket has my name as "Blet Puroshut", but they let me on anyway.
Sei and I met up in Fukuoka airport, where we got on the bus bound for his hometown, Hita. It was about an hour ride.
We got to Hita where his mom picked us up and drove us back to their house. The only way to describe their house was that it was perfectly cozy. It was a traditional Japanese style house with sliding doors that separated most of the rooms. The main family room had a table with a pit below it where there was a heater, and everyone would sit around the table with their feet down in the pit to keep warm. Most of the rooms were tatami, there was an ofuro, and we slept on futon. There was also a few small shrines in the house.
Counting Sei, 7 people live in the house. Sei's mother and father, his grandparents, his two younger brothers, and Sei. His father wasn't there when we first arrived because he was working...he's a firefighter that was on a search and rescue mission somewhere in northen Japan, I think. His grandparents own a men's clothing store that's adjacent to the house. His mom is the Japanese version of a soccer mom. Yuu, Sei's 17 year old brother is a member of a Japanese punk rock band, and Shuu, his 15 year old brother is a really cool sports and video game playing Japanese guy.
We had a huge Japanese style dinner. I had been hoping to lose a bit of weight while I was in Kyushu. I thought that a week of eating Japanese food would be good for that, but I was fed SOOO much food I wouldn't be surprised if I gained weight...
After dinner, I went to take a bath in the ofuro. This was the same basic idea as the shared showers at Tsukuba, but not shared. I showered and decided I would venture into the tub part. There's nothing that makes you feel like a big fat American than displacing a significant amount of water out of a bathtub after several members of the family have already used it. Being Japanese, Sei's family is significantly small, and they're all runners. Even though, I'm moderately certain that my left leg weighs more than Sei.
After the bath, Sei and I went to meet up with some of his highschool friends. From there, we went to a couple temples. At one, we all rang this giant bell and made our new years resolutions. Mine are less caffeine, and doing something that doesn't involve sitting in a class room, in front of a music stand, or in front of a computer. And possibly making more of my own food instead of buying from 7-11.
After running around with them for a while, I was starting to get pretty tired. I think it was around like 2am or so? I can't really remember. Anyway, I was pretty much falling asleep, so we went back to Sei's place where I went to bed. Sei went back out with his friends.