Kyushu Sights to See

As Korean Air finally confirmed our flights to Fukuoka, via a two-day stop-over in Seoul, I have been busy contacting Japanese friends to let them know of our visit.

I am not a big fan of big cities such as Seoul, but I might as well include this into our travel plans. Taking pictures, eating lots of wonderful Korean food, and seeing a few former students of mine, should be the highlight of this short visit.

I prefer the countryside for its slow pace. Big cities are just too generic. If my Korean were any better, I would attempt to explore the Korean countryside. Maybe next time.

This time, we will focus on Japan once more. Again, we will purchase a five-day Kyushu JR railway pass which lets us travel all around the island with stops in Kitakyushu, Beppu, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, and Goto Islands. Each destination has its purpose, of course.

Kitakyushu is the place where I spent three years and therefore have quite a few friends there.

Beppu was great last time – I enjoyed being buried in black sand (see my previous post)

While living in Japan, I never made it down to Miyazaki and this photo, posted by a former student of mine on Facebook, finally convinced me to add it to my list of things to see.

Miyazaki-ken, Japan

Kagoshima is known for its heavy drinkers. Can’t pass this one up! Might have to teach them a lesson or two on drinking beer. . . but keep away the Shōchū (焼酎), a Japanese distilled beverage.

Nagasaki is where we have good friends and from there we will take the ferry to one of the main Goto Islands. Not sure yet which one is the best one to see, but I hope for some recommendations.

Our itinerary is slowly taking shape for visiting Kyushu during cherry blossom time!


Kyushu Island Japan

We are in the process of finalizing our travel plans for spring break. This time, we return once more to Japan, with a two-day stopover in Seoul, South Korea.

Having lived on the most southern island of Kyushu and grown familiar with the area, we will spend our time there (nine days). We plan to visit some friends in Kitakyushu (Fukuoka prefecture) and Isahaya (Nagasaki prefecture).

This time I would also like to visit Gotō Islands. The Gotō Islands (五島列島 Gotō rettō, literally: “five-island archipelago”), an archipelago of actually 140 islands in the East China Sea, is off the western coast of Kyūshū. The islands are a part of Nagasaki Prefecture.

My brother and daughter are going to join me on this trip. I suggested renting a bike to ride around on one of the Gotō Islands. My daughter, curious about Japan, but usually less curious about me, asked “Mama, can you even ride a bike?”. It is sometimes challenging to act like a grown-up with a teenager on your side.

Kyushu Island, Japan

I hope I do remember how to ride a bike – it has been close to 25 years since I have been on one. Otherwise it would be voll peinlich (totally embarrassing).

For my friends – yes, I will post a photo of me conquering the bike.

Hanami in Japan

With friends just having returned from Japan and raving about Hanami (花見: flower viewing) and  others posting their Hanami photos on facebook, I began digging in my own memory box.

Hanami and the wheels of time

This photo was taken on the island of Kyushu in 1993, when it was just the two of us.

Baby Thomas and cherry blossoms

By April 1994, there were three of us. The following year, we took Thomas on his first Hanami outing. Having been such a drooling baby, he attracted so many Sakura (cherry) blossoms which would neatly stick to his chin and throat.

I do miss this time of year in Japan.

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