Once we arrived at the hotel, we unloaded our luggage, checked into our rooms, and headed off to find some dinner. The hotel is across from the train station, which also has a shopping mall with many shops and food options. Some students headed the opposite way and found restaurants near the hotel. It was interesting to hear about their dinner adventures – they were not always sure what they were ordering, plus they were getting used to the Japanese Yen.
The staff had dinner at a restaurant down the street from the hotel. It featured a pot of chicken broth that cooked at the table. This meal is very specific to the Fukuoka region. Different parts of the chicken would be added to the broth to cook and be eaten, including breast meat, hearts and livers, and meatballs. Vegetable were also added. At the end, they took the remaining broth and made a type of rice pudding. It was very delicious and
After dinner, we were all ready to sleep. The rooms are smaller than at American hotels, but set up very efficiently. They provided us all with robes and slippers to wear in the room. The slippers didn’t fit many, but it was still fun. A few students had a “photo shoot” in their robes – all “G-rated” of course. We learned that the proper way to wear a kimono is left side over right.
June 19 – sightseeing and Iizuka
We had a leisurely morning which included breakfast at the hotel. We could choose from Western and Japanese food items. Then we loaded the luggage truck, popped onto the buses, and headed out for a little sightseeing. We first traveled to Fukuoka Tower, and observation tower that overlooks the ocean. It was a bit cloudy, but we still had an amazing view. We also visited the Love Sanctuary on the third floor. You could purchase locks to attach to the display, sealing your love for your significant other. The students used
this as a photo opportunity for sure!
Then we drove to the Canal City Shops. We had a wide variety of lunch choices, plus an opportunity to find some souvenirs. The shopping center of course featured a canal with a water show every half-hour. It was reminiscent of the dancing waters at the Enchanted Forest back home.
Now, it was time to head to Iizuka. We drove through some very beautiful countryside to get to the high school. Once we were within a mile of the school, we had to transfer buses. Our tour buses were too large to manage the small roads surrounding the school. Upon our arrival, our students were greeted by Iizuka students holding signs with the OSU names on them. They were taken inside to meet other students, while the staff met Mr. Hatanaka, the band director, and the school principal. We were a bit early, but the school
adjusted and they were prepared to start.
They prepared a HUGE meal, featuring fruit cocktail, fried chicken (chicken is a local feature), and sushi. We ate, and ate, and ate. The students ate at tables by instrument sections, standing up. Then there were speeches by the school principal, Dr. Chapman, Paul Dunsmoor, and an Iizuka student. Our saxophone quartet performed, and their band performed. Then gifts were presented on both sides. We were given a Hakata doll, which is very fragile and beautiful. We have kept it wrapped so we can get it home in one piece, but we will have it at school for everyone to see when we return.
To be continued…