Vacationista: Fukuoka, Japan Day 1


This is a much needed vacay for me since I spent the past two months organizing for a work-related event in Pakistan. I have been looking forward this trip for 2 months now ever since I found cheapo airfare via Cebu Pacific.
 I wanted to go back to Japan and since I had a 5 year multiple entry visa, I checked out flights for Fukuoka – the only Japan destination via CebPac I haven’t gone to – and saw P5187 roundtrip tickets. Super sulit! Immediately booked for me and mom, who is always down to travel. I then asked one of my brothers if he wanted to join and added him to the group, though unfortunately he wasn’t able to join us. Then I informed my sister, who at the time was in the US and so I assumed she wouldn’t want to join because of budget constraints but was surprised when she said she too wanted in! Asked my brother and aunt if they were interested and they were game, along with my sister-in-law and cousin. So now we were a total of 7! So fun!

At the airport, exchanged $300, thinking they’d have the best rate like in my Tokyo experience, which was Y114 per US$. But the yen was really low at Y98.62 per US$. So I had Y29,586. Sister in law said the peso to yen exchange rate was better in NAIA 3 airport. I guess it really depends on the season so make sure you compare if you’d like the best rate.

 I wasn’t able to take photos anymore but basically upon arriving at Fukuoka, you’ll need to ride a shuttle going to the domestic airport, since that’s where the subway is located. From there, there’s already a train going to Tenjin (most popular shopping area), Nakasu-Kawabata (our station) and others. As in the whole of Japan, train tickets will be paid at the counters which have an English option. Thank goodness my sister is a wiz when it comes to directions and navigating and all that. I’d be lost if I would do it myself. I’m just her ‘support’ system. Haha. We also did a communal fund (highly recommended if you’re a group) at Y2200 per person for all our transpo payments. Later on, we got back Y1000 each because we didn’t use up all of our communal fund!

We arrived at our AirBnb with not much trouble. Check out our crib here. First order of business after settling down was to look for food! We walked a bit around and most of the shops were already closed by 10pm! We were about to give up and just eat at Family Mart – which by the way is not such a bad idea because their convenience stores have really good meals which we could heat up in our microwave – when I saw some lighted food stalls around the corner. We went there and hallelujah! They were the famous yatai!
 Checked the strip of stalls, most of which had yakitoris (grilled meat) and even a full bar! We decided to eat at the first stall which had udon noodles. We ordered udon noodles and good thing the server was able to speak a bit of English. Brother ordered a big bottle of Asahi beer plus some beef brisket, which tasted like our patatim.

 We were then joined by two Japanese men who said they were doctors and they started chatting with us the whole time we were  there. I wanted some yakitori so we pointed at the raw meat in sticks – without actually knowing what they were or how much it would cost us – and had them grilled. We had the ‘bacon’ wrapped veggie, a kebab-looking one which we found out was made from duck and chicken (so good!) and some meat which tasted like gizzard. When the yakitori was served, the served said that our two new Japanese friends would pay for it. Wow! What a treat! Made the food taste so much better. We then saw the Japanese men point at strips of beef to be grilled and before we knew what was going on, they were serving it to us, free again! Such gentlemen!

The two men spoke good English and had so much to share – like how much they liked Pacquiao, how they went to Manila at the time Ninoy was shot and have never gone back since and how happy they were when mom finished her bowl of soup, which is a sign that you enjoyed the meal. I couldn’t believe it when one of them even started talking about the World War II and started apologizing to us for what happened – though it wasn’t during their time – and said that Filipinos are really their friends. How polite and kind of them, right? After some more chikka, we asked for the bill for the udon noodles only to be told that the gentlemen will also pay for those! So we didn’t pay for anything that night! What a way to start our Japan trip!

After thanking them profusely, we said our goodbyes and dropped by Family Mart for our supplies of breakfast food, bread (Y118), milk tea (Y159) and coffee (Y142), 2 1-liter bottles of water (Y98 each) and ice cream (Y128) for a total of Y743.

 Not bad for Day 1.


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