I am writing this on the ferry going over to Rebun Island, off of Wakkanai.
I was in Fukuyama because I couldn't get a room in Hiroshima. I don't know what was going on, but I couldn't find a room on any of the booking sites. I tried about six. Then I started seeing other people on the web who couldn't find a room. Fukuyama had rooms. It is a two-hour train ride to Hiroshima, so I figured I would handle it that way. The whole deal with going to Hiroshima was to see the museum. Also, Tracy Wannomae told me about a beautiful island I should spend some time on. Actually, I tried to book a room on that island before I left the States and was unable to. I am only thinking of that now. It probably wouldn't have mattered when I tried to get a room in Hiroshima, they were long gone.
People are all of a sudden walking around and taking photos, so I had better go see what is up. I am still on the ferry.
Okay. Ishiri Island (I guess) is to the left, whatever "left" is in nautical terms. That means Rebun won't be long. Seb was nice enough to call my ryokan to make sure the shuttle is there to pick me up. This place is on the other side, other tip of the island from the port. I could not find a room at the port for a price I was willing to pay. I will be surprised if anyone speaks English on this island. Anyone I run into anyway. There were only two people in Fukuyama; about four in Naha. Yes, I know there are more, but I am not running into them. I was very concerned about getting to this ryokan, but Seb has handled it and I am pretty relaxed.
|You can see that it is not the clearest of days.
I took the bus from my hotel to the train station that first night to do my research on getting to Hiroshima and also on getting back to the airport when I had to leave. This is a theme you may have noticed: getting to the transportation in plenty of time. There are very few "Plan B's" possible on this trip. Then I walked around looking for a place to eat. Something Fukuyama. It is a port city, pretty simple - seafood. I also asked the people at the front desk of the hotel what the characteristic Fukuyama dish is. Their answer, after much thought was the pancake with all kinds of whatnots inside of it. By now it was dark. I did a lot of walking, but didn't find any place that struck me or that I was willing to walk into. Why wouldn't I be willing to walk in? If it looked like it was going to cost me $50.00, I wasn't going in. That restaurant in Naha was not cheap.
Gotta stop and take photos. Rebun is close.
Picking up two days later at the ferry terminal, waiting for the ride back to Wakkanai:
After a lot of walking and getting close to despair on very dark and questionable street, I saw a small yellow beacon in the distance. I passed the open door from the other side of the street and looked in as I slowly walked by. It seemed sort of dingy and smoky, but radiated a sense of relaxation and homeyness. I kept walking, because by this time I was feeling that level of intimidation that sometimes drives me to the convenience stores; it is just easier. But hey, I was going to be in Fukuyama for too short a time and had walked too far to go that route. I turned around and walked in. Some of the following photos are what I found inside. I ended up going there every night I was in Fukuyama. There was nothing particularly Fukuyama-ish about the food. As one of my new friends put it, "Japanese with a Chinese flair." I did continue to look for other places, I just always end-up back with these guys.
|Shots from the hotel restaurant, last morning in Naha. You'd have no idea what had taken place only the day before.
|Shots from the plane, leaving Okinawa and coming over the mainland.
|Waiting for the airport limo bus at Hiroshima Airport to go to Fukuyama Station, about an hour's drive.
|A canal in Fukuyama.
|It seemed to be a full moon that first night. The next night's moon looked full too, so I don't know.
|The beacon in the night.
|One of the regulars. He is 77. When I got there he had drank three large bottles of Kirin beer. He finished another before I left and who knows how many afterwards? It is that kind of place.
|One of the proprietors.
|Another regular. Very colorful guy. You don't have enough fingers to count how many beers he probably had.
|The chef and partner.
|Part of my dinner.
|The other part. Very good.
|The proprietors: father and son. The father is 88, the son 54.
|The family in earlier days.
|Some kids having fun outside Fukuyama Eki.