Saturday, December 25, 2010


Yesterday I went to Dazaifu, which has several shrines and an 'important' (according to Rough Guide) museum, the Kyushu National Museum. I visited Tenmangu shrine, which many students visit to pray for good results on their exams (I did see quite a few students there, but apparently it gets crazy around end-of-year exam time). The Rough Guide also mentioned the best restaurant in town, called Ume no Hana, so I ate there. It was so good it warranted an entire post to itself, which you can read here.

One of the roofs at Tenmangu Shrine.

Tenmangu was nice, but the real highlight of the trip was the museum. For 420 yen, you get to see exquisite examples of pottery, sculpture, musical instruments, and more from all over Asia (covering everything from West Asia (Turkey, eastern Mediterranean) to South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) to other Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, the Philipines), with good portions of Chinese and Korean samples too. The museum shows how the different cultures spread and influenced each other, as well as the similarities and differences between them. There is a free audio guide and there is ample didactic material in English. In addition, there are tonnes of staff, many of whom speak perfect English. The highlight for me was the section on masks, and I especially liked the ones from Nepal. The building itself is impressive architecturally as well, with a huge curved roof covering the entire museum with bamboo struts on the underside. All in all, I highly recommend a visit, and hope more people go to support it (it was pretty dead when I went).

Lobby of Kyushu National Museum

When I got back to Fukuoka, it was still pretty early, so I walked over to the Asian Art Museum, which had a special exhibit by Chinese artists in addition to its main exhibition. It's a really nice museum that you can get through in about an hour, so it's a good filler if you're looking for something quick to do. By the time I got done with that, I was feeling a little hungry again so went for ramen near my hotel. The cooks were all wearing santa hats and informed me that it will snow today. "Kurisumasu Puresento". I guess I will get to wear my sock monkey toque after all! :D

I am getting more confident with my Japanese now that I've been here almost a week (!), and am having more conversations with people. It really makes for a memorable experience when you are able to interact with people more! I am sure I make a zillion mistakes, but it is fun nonetheless. :)

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