Adventures in Fukuoka, Japan!

View from our 6th floor Hotel, smack in the middle of Fukuoka, right next to Hakata Station.

It’s 1:06am here in Fukuoka, Japan – and let me just tell you that it was crazy day.  That picture above is from our hotel at around 1am (sorry for the grainy picture, I used the clipboard of my surface book to take that).

I went on this trip to Japan, the first time I’d be visiting the country, because I am to attend with my mom and her staff, Darry, the Asian Wetlands Symposium at Saga.  I’ll have another blog post about how this all came to be but suffice it to say that the SCPW or the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, submitted some paper and poster presentations on projects I worked on with the NGO and they were all accepted.  I will be making a series of posts of my pre-flight Japan preparations from the Japanese Visa Application, to how I sorted out where to go, where to stay, how I decided on what to bring and what to wear and I will also let you guys know the itinerary I planned out so that maybe I can help some people there interested in visiting the places I went to in Japan.  For now, I will be blogging about my days here, and I am sure aside from what to see and where, culture and what not, you’d be interested to know how much things costs here, so I will try my best to post a lot of pictures with costs on them since that is one thing I haven’t really been able to see from my research before coming here.

But first off let’s start with Manila.  Specifically, Terminal 3.  We arrived around 11am for a Cebu Pacific flight to Japan at 2:25pm and naturally we were hungry when we got to the airport.  Baggage handlers (PhP50 per person, roughly USD1.0) helped carry our luggage.  The normal stuff going through immigration, including taking off your shoes.  I don’t recommend eating at Pancake House there, aside from the food being served cold, they took 25 minutes to serve the food (one of my two pan chickens came at 45 minutes), and 15 minutes just to get the bill. Anyways…. best travel with a Senior Citizen, you get to cut through all the lines or have special lines for them, and my mom says she’s always allowed one chaperone (me!) so I get to cut lines too!

Me and mama at Terminal III onwards to Japan, happy before the Pancake House incident!

So the designers of NAIA apparently hated Gate 104 and located it at the end of the world. I suggest patience.  Again, it helps to have a senior citizen, pregnant, or children with you, as you can cut the line, however, again it’s either cut the line but have other things on your mind, if you know what I mean, hahaha!

Cebu Pacific on the tarmac at NAIA Terminal 3

Ever wondered how an airplane looks like in a perfectly cloudy sky?

I took two picture of our Cebu Pacific airplane wing so you know how it looks with thing around it and a white background.  The white background was just creepy because it felt like it as either rendered on VRAY with a white background (I’ve been rendering too many things lately, everything I see I’m relating to VRAY from specular reflections, diffusion, etc.). Some tips for flying, in case your seatmate smells, bring something fragrant (which I forgot), that could be menthol, alcohol, your perfume, or white flower? Tiger balm is another but I prefer those Indonesian bought fragrances in small tubes.

Cebu Pacific airplane food

Actually, I totally forgot that I didn’t order food on the plane so good thing I had my 45 minute late pan chicken to go and I ate it in the airplane and another good thing was that my mom has a small stomach so I ate what was left of her food.  The coke was extra (PhP60, about USD1.2).  As an aside, I saw my friends Nikki and Buj (what a handsome couple!) on the Cebu Pacific in-flight magazine!

As is customary when on Cebu Pacific flights, they have games.  I am usually very good at this, but this time around, I guess their microphone was going bad.  We had to decipher acronyms millennials used.  There were just 3 words, I could only remember the first and last.  The first was RN and I had no idea what that was, was it Registered Nurse? I don’t think millennial peeps use that, lo someone raised their hand and said REAL LIFE, duh it was RL, I swear she said RN not RL.  The last was OOTA, I was like, I totally know OOTD but then I said maybe peeps nowadays say hey that’s so OOTA or outfit of the always, so I was confused and didn’t raise my hand. Someone else did and said OUTFIT OF THE DAY…. I must have misheard but I swear I cleaned my ears this morning. 

Fukuoka night aerial shot!

The pilot said we were 5 minutes early. Too bad it was already dusk by the time we reached Fukuoka and the sun was setting at the other side of the airplane.  The picture above is okay anyway.

Touched down at Fukuoka International Airport.

Our luggage were nicely set aside already by the time we got here.

We got here late!

Another view of the main lobby.

So the airport at Fukuoka is cool, the immigration used those new high tech machines where you basically just put your fingers in and this person scans your passport and things were moving quick and I was impressed, until I saw the line to the actual immigration where this guy looks at you and waves you away when he’s done with inspecting your documents – that took way long!  Anyway, above are pictures of the Cebu Pacific airplane on a Japanese tarmac, a picture of the baggage carousels after immigration (can’t take pictures at immigration), and the Fukuoka main lobby (?).  There isn’t much food at the international terminal, all the good stuff are at the domestic terminal, including the subway connection to the main city, buses, and also taxis.

Imagine what else words starting with F they might have thought of to use with that slogan!

5 hours earlier, Darry landed at Fukuoka Airport, so me and my mom’s first task was to find her.  I told my mom to sit so I can more efficiently look for her. But I got so distracted along the way, like this sign I took a picture with, isn’t that a catchy tourism slogan (see picture above). 

Information Centre at Fukuoka Airport

I also passed by a tourism information booth and then there was a 7-11! Guess who I finally found there hiding in the shadows, trying to blend with the scenery, avoiding detection?  Darry! She was there because (TIP!) there was a free socket for charging your gadgets!

Darry trying to be Where’s Wally?

So now that we are complete, we go back to my mom, but since we are next to 7-11 I couldn’t resist but to take pictures. 

We found my mom talking to the AWS organizers and hey kept talking so I went ahead to the information centre to ask about where this restaurant I researched was and indeed it was at the Domestic Terminal. So, as told, after figuring out that the Bus Station and Bus Ticket Office inside Fukuoka International Terminal only opens at 8am and the first bus to Saga was at 8:55am (meaning we arrive at Saga tomorrow 10ish, late!) we headed out the main terminal doors and on the left was the BLUE and GREEN (the nice lady at the information booth said it was BLUE only!) bus that was free to ride to transfer to the Domestic Terminal.  Midway this bus passes by the Cargo Terminal.  I was also informed that the restaurant I wanted to eat at closed at 9am so we had barely 30 minutes to get there!  We were dropped by the bus near the subway entrance (two escalators going down, it is a subway!) and we had a long walk past the subway entrance to the Domestic Terminal, where at the 3d floor was where restaurants were.  I couldn’t find Hakata Yariudon Bettei but we found Hakata Royal.  Our food and some prices below:

Summary: good for the price, yummy despite the low rating at TripAdvisor, fast efficient service!

Okay so we were all full and happy and this is where things go crazy.  We booked this airbnb type of thing at Agoda, so we walked the 400m or so walk across the airport, to find out nothing was there and the place was closed. (Never book this place: Chikuzeninari Hanasen, Hakata-ku Kukomae 3-12-58 Fukuoka Japan 812-0002 ). To make a long story short after 15 minutes of trying to contact Agoda through their customer service line (the horror of international roaming call rates!) and talking to friendly Japanese strangers, we decided to go back to the airport (TIP! as with most subway designs around the world, if the subway has an entrance on both sides of the street then there is a through tunnel underneath!).

Thank God this Guy Mr Jun from All Nippon Airways (Passenger Service), and his colleague helped us book a hotel! For my first time in Japan (felt like the cold of London), I was happy that the stories were true of friendly Japanese going out of their way to help people in need!  We ended up in a taxi (1380Y for about a 5 minute ride… it started out at 580Y and while enjoying the ride in a PRIUS, my first time, I couldn’t help wonder what number it would end up with) and were dropped off in this Hotel right smack next to Hakata Station (you could see the trains from my window) called Green Hotel, which cost about 15,500Y for 3 beds, awesome value for something smack in the middle.

And so that ends Day 01 of my Japan trip!  If you have any questions about anything go ahead and comment below!

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