Saturday, June 14, 2008

Golden Week in Kyushu - Part 2:

As I was saying, this theme park "Huis Ten Bosch" seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. It started as a recreation of a Dutch village -- which seems odd enough unless you know that the Dutch were at one point in time the only foreigners allowed in Japan, and had small port communities set up for trading; however they didn't hold equal status with (the xenophobic)Japanese people, and were isolated to their small port communities -- featuring traditional crafts and architecture, but after going bankrupt seems to have tried to modernize with an array of museums, mirror mazes, and 3D movies with vague connections to MC Escher. Above, Tara and I pose with Tuli-chan, the tulipish mascott of the park.

Tired of all those flashy, high-class frozen foods? Sick of putting on a black tie and jacket every time you open your freezer??? Don't worry folks, I have just the thing for you! Try our new CASUAL FROZEN FOODS, available 24 hours a day from this vending machine outisde the train station. Yes you can now enjoy all the glam of frozen foods, without the usually associated expectations and social pressures. Fast, easy, non-commital frozen foods at the touch of a button, try them today!

A memorial for war victims decorated with thousands upon thousands of paper cranes. Each colourful paper streamer is composed of tiny folded paper cranes.
Nagasaki has emerged from a checkered past with inspiringly bright hopes for the future. Throughout the city, and particularly in the Peace Park, are various memorials to victims of war, apologies for atrocities of war, and sculptures from countries around the world dedicated to a peaceful future.

Fat Man's ground zero from August 9th, 1945. The atomic bomb exploded approximately 550m above the point of this pilar.

Japanese business hotels. Not great only for their low room rates which often includes your choice of Western or Japanese style breakfast, but also because they always give you a nice little house coat which you are free to use to found a small cult.

However the best place we stayed was a traditional Japanese inn in a small village embedded in the mountains. Up in the volcanic hillside we were able to enjoy private natural hot spring baths for as long as we pleased. The private baths were set by peaceful Japanese gardens, and were open from early morning to around 1am. I recommend midnight hot spring bathing by moonlight to everyone.
As if this wasn't enough to satisfy, the inn was stocked with virtually anything else you might need to relax or enjoy your vacation: pool tables, karaoke rooms, a small private movie theatre (with a selection of recent films), a bar, massage chairs, and best of all events where we won multiple prizes (BINGO and rock-scissors-paper contests). A highlight for me: coming in second place in the karaoke contest!

Hiking in the mountain the following days Tara and I demonstrate our complete lack of competence with posing for pictures.

Frustrated with the weak telephone connections I've been getting over here. Hope everyone is doing well.
- Ian


Anonymous said...

Excuse me but wasn't that a NIGHT COAT you were wearing?!?!?!?!?

your friends in Japan said...

Hahaha thats true!!
What the heck Ian...get it right next time.
Go nightcoats!!!!

Alex said...

Hehe nice pics. Sorry I haven't been here in awhile o.o I'll have to remember to check in more often!

Love you LOTS and miss you TONS,
Alexandra xoxo

Derrick M said...

I love the Casual Frozen Foods spiel. I know I hate having to put on a tie whenever I want some pizza-pockets :P

Anonymous said...

Ahh, yes...the infamous night coat, who can forget! Lots of love

Anonymous said...

That house coat is almost too formal for eating one of those casual dinners, but watch out for the sneeky tulip person, they might sit at the table and really make it too clasy for dinner