On Thursday, we left for Fukuoka, Japan. We boarded the 6:15 train to Busan (which we made by the skin of our teeth - is there any other way?) and hunkered down for the hour and a half kimchi express. Man oh man did the train stink. There is no smell quite as noxious as sour kimchi, garlic and sweaty feet in the morning. Gag.
We arrived at the Busan Harbour and boarded our very James Bondish hydrofoil. The boats are really cool because they actually travel out of the water on three big fins. Prior to this little adventure I had secretly scoffed at people who get sea sick. I couldn't really figure out why. And although I didn't vomit on the boat, I felt like I was going to. It was a pretty cool trip though...the Korean strait was pretty choppy which added to the sense of adventure.
We arrived in Fukuoka and noticed a difference immediately. It was clean and organized and shiny. It was a strange sensation to be around a "foreign language" again and not be able to recognize any words on the street signs or being spoken around you. We took a bus to our hotel, the Clio Court, which was conveniently located across from Hakata Station, the main station in Fukuoka. It was a little gray and rainy but otherwise fairly warm. I was surprised by how much more tropical things looked in Japan compared to Korea. Ther are more palm trees and different flowers and vegetation. They obviously have a more temperate climate in Japan...makes sense.
Our hotel room was pretty nice and was equipped with two pairs of complimentary slippers, pyjamas (I just found out this year that in America they spell it "pajamas". Weird.) and, my personal favourite, a heated toilet seat. That's right. Equipped with a bidet...it was fantastic. The Japanese sure know how to live. Everything there is equipped with sensors or lasers...I didn't touch a door or push a button once. I didn't have to wipe my own %$# in Japan!