WRITTEN ON SATURDAY
Irish Friend Two and I are very alike. Painfully alike, it might be argued, given that we both have reputations for being scatterbrained and disorganised, in the kind of way that if we lose something or forget something or do something demonstrating a lack of general common sense, people who know us roll their eyes as if to say “that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest”, and give a knowing (but hopefully affectionate) laugh.
And so it came to pass that the two of us headed off to Japan, as I explained, without even a fraction of a plan in place. In the middle of all this, Irish Friend Two’s phone had had a fatal encounter with a monsoon, so even contacting each other was difficult. But we made it to the beautiful coastal city of Fukuoka with no major disasters (unless you count trying to get on the ferry without our boarding passes, which were sitting where we’d left them at our backsides in the waiting lounge, but we decided to not, in fact, count that), and wandered happily through the streets to the nearest hostel. Which was full. As were all the other hostels the kind receptionist phoned for us. And the “affordable” hotels.
After traipsing homelessly through the balmy streets, our clothes sticking to us and sweat dripping attractively from our noses, we decided we no longer cared about our budget and walked into the first hotel we came to. Much swankier than the places I’m used to staying in, and a million times more expensive than the same quality of hotel would be in Korea or even at home. We didn’t care.
“I mean, it’s not like I’m broke and unemployed this time”, I reflected, almost to justify it to myself, as I sipped a refreshing cup of green tea by the window overlooking a beautiful turquoise canal. “And you know what, I EARNED this holiday!”.
I have spent a relaxing hour gazing out of the window, reading, and writing this post, while Irish Friend Two fights with the travel adaptor for her hair straighteners. Now we’re going out to explore the city by night before heading to Beppu in the morning. So far we have managed to embarrass ourselves by speaking Korean to everyone we’ve encountered. You wouldn’t believe how natural it is to say “please”, “thank you”, “hello”, and “here” (the latter while pointing at where we wanted to go on our map) in Korean, even though we’ve learned the relevant Japanese words. The people just look strangely at us. Two white girls (well, one white, and one kinda pink) jabbering in Korean for some inexplicable reason, given that they’re in Japan.
My only other observation of note at the moment is how incredibly polite the public toilets are here. I have never encountered such manners from a toilet before.