We left Shanghai and arrived in Fukuoka, Japan on a flight that was only 90 minutes. We only had one full day in Fukuoka and we did a lot. The first thing we did was go to a temple and shrine with traditional Japanese rock gardens. It was really quiet there because people were either just walking around or meditating.
That night, we went to see a Japanese baseball game at the Yahoo! Dome, where the SoftBank Hawks play. In the 7th inning, all of the fans blew up long yellow balloons and let them go at the same time and they all went whizzing around the dome.
From Fukuoka, we went to meet our new guide named Satoshi, who is part of a program called "People to People." It allows American high school students to go to Japan for a week to learn all about the Japanese way of life. The first place Satoshi took us was the island of Hirado, home to Hirado Castle, which had all types of old samurai stuff like armor, weapons, paintings, and games.
After visiting the castle, we went to a local hotel. Our room was covered in these things called tatami mats, which are straw mats that cover the entire floor. There are giant cushions, called futons, on the mats to sleep on. Also, since it was a traditional Japanese hotel, we took a bath before dinner and then we went to dinner in our robes, which are called yukatas. Going to dinner in our robes seemed kind of weird, but then we saw other people wearing them. It was actually pretty fun.
The next day, we went to an old samurai house which was turned into a museum. We spent a lot of time looking around and at the end, we went over to a traditional Japanese tea house and had tea with the museum director. Later that day, we went to meet a famous Japanese photographer who takes pictures of bugs close up with a special camera that he invented. To top it all off, we met one of Satoshi's friends who is a salt maker. We learned how to make salt out of sea water.
The following day, we went over to the abandoned island of Nosaka and stayed at a school. We went to a great beach there and Satoshi taught us how to spear fish. That night, a sushi chef came to the school and taught us how to make sushi, so we got to make our own from fish that was caught that day. Take a look!
Now we are off to Kyoto, which is a big city, unlike the places we visited during our first week in Japan.
'Till next blog.