13 October 2007

A Fine Day in Dazaifu

Last night about 60 of us crowded into two coach buses and began drinking beer and sake [super-illegal in Canada] on the way to a the luxurious Daikanso Hotel (大観荘), somewhere near Fukuoka-ken. Actually, from the outside, definitely not so luxurious, but it had washitsu (Japanese style rooms) and an onsen, which are public baths with ultra-hot sulphur-smelling spring water.

After this, some of us went to the Kyushu Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan (九州国立博物館; Kyushu National Museum), which -- please keep in mind -- we chose over a beer factory. But after the enkai, we were in absolutely no mood for more alcohol. Ughhh...

The museum was beautiful. One of the most incredible buildings I've ever been in. From the outside, somewhere between a space shuttle hanger and the Guggenheim. The ceiling was lined with what appeared to be logs in a grid pattern. And, greeting visitors was the display above.

The main theme of the exhibit seemed to be pottery, though, which -- I'm sure -- is appealing to some, but for partied-out gaijin, maybe a little dry... just a little.

We then continued on to a Shinto shrine called Dazaifu Tenman-gū in Dafaizu-shi, Fukuoka-ken.

We kept seeing these children everywhere in kimono. I assume there was some specific religious function for this. The Shinto equivalent to Christening, maybe? I spotted this one kid looking at koi just inside the main grounds of the shrine. Despite how immensely... creepy... it made me feel to take pictures of other people's children, I thought this scene was just perfect. And I think my gaijin status helps me "smash" through social taboos like this.

Group photo! Missing John here, but we have a nice group shot of the Canadian ALTs who turned down beer for high culture. That's right! Future astronauts, cancer cures and prime ministers.


stereoheads said...

You turned down a beer factory? Ye make me proud. Dazaifu is lovely isn't it?
Next up, you have to go visit Daibutsu. While not being really historical in any way, it's still quite pretty.

Adam said...

I'm envious of your various gaijin outings :P. These here parts have very few people of the white variety.

Michael said...

Chris: I've been meaning to visit Daibutsu, but then I found there are a whole bunch of Daibutsus in Japan, including the largest statute of any kind in the world. But, I'm going to aim for that one in Nara is it? Inside the building? The one that comes to life for one minute at midnight on the 12th day of the 12th month, I believe.

Adam: The best part about gaijin outings is how we become a living, breathing tourist attraction for nihonjins. ほら、変な外人達だ! Followed by "you ain't from around here, are you" in southern drawl.