thefukuokaexperience

It's time to study abroad in Fukuoka!!


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October 4th

Despite the danger of an incoming typhoon, today was the perfect day for a beach trip. Some friends I expected to see didn’t show, and some I didn’t expect were there anyway. It was the perfect thing to uplift my spirits. I’ve been thinking about the experience for a few days now; instead of just doing a journal entry, I was writing creatively about it while being bored on the first day of one of my classes (when all the professor was doing was explaining exactly what he put on the syllabus, which he gave to us anyway. I should have probably paid more attention, but I found my mind wandering, and decided to at least give it a productive outlet).

The writing is incomplete, and will probably remain that way. My mind’s inspiration has always been fleeting, and it doesn’t tend to go back to topics. Sooo yeah, have a thing with words and stuff.


Whipping, in most cases, is painful and filled with memories of tantrums, hurt feelings, and childish spats. Here, it swirled with salt and mist, clear whiffs, puffs of cool, rushing water. The whipping wind, not quite an annoyance nor convenient, simply was: it existed defiantly, dancing with long hair and brilliant beach skirts. It was the wind that caused my skin to redden, stealing the sun’s glory; the sand, shavings of ancient rocks and surreal mountains, seen now only in faded paintings and wild imaginations, fought to avenge its home, assaulting those that dared to tread on it. Wind picked up the tan warriors, catapulting them against our bare legs and faces.

The deafening sound of the unseen typhoon was both ominous and glorious. White crests pushed and pulled at our footholds, changing and re-changing the scenery around us. The ritualistic dance seemed formal in nature; the flippant glance would see a dull exchange of sand and water, white on blue.

I felt the sand beneath me fighting the current, sticking to my pale feet like stubborn mud. I felt the water rush unexpectedly, the cresting emerging here and there as it pleased, mastered not by pattern nor wind – even gravity seemed to hold little power over such great a force. Monotony and ritual had no place here; the water was captivating beyond means of words. Awe, fear, respect, purity, glory, joy, music – these each had found and ground their places into the spray that causes us to jump back, gleefully laughing, our cheeks sore for hours from our symbolic expressions that screamed “vacation.”

Part of my skin shifted against the current, the only inclination that something was amiss. A small, crab-like creature clung to the top of my left foot, its journey to land nearly at an end. Its size made intimidation impossible – improbable, really – for it stood as merely a freckle shifting in my gaze. A mere flick of my ankle sent it back into the ocean, putting it once again at the mercy of the water. Continue reading

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October 3rd

The only thing planned for today was dinner with my tutor. Easy enough: meet her in the lobby at 6:30, eat in the cafeteria, and then go to bed.

Somehow, she showed up, I completely missed her, and I feel terrible about it. I still don’t know what happened; I haven’t been able to contact her to apologize, though I hope we can reschedule.

Basically, if I don’t at least get out and do something tomorrow, I’m going to go crazy.

I miss my brother.

I miss my friends.

I miss being comfortable enough to just ask, “Hey, you wanna do something today?” Logically, I realize that isn’t hard to say – it’s actually a pretty basic sentence, and it even includes some dialect in there. Not too difficult, yeah?

Nope. I still can’t say it to anyone. I have to wait for an invitation to do something. And I hate that. I hate being awkward and anxious and panicky. I hate not trusting other people or myself. I hate that I always think people don’t like me. I hate feeling so down all the time.

Part of it is probably homesickness, but it’s not necessarily due to me being in a different country. It’s because I have no close friends here. I want to get out and try new foods. I want to explore and get lost. I want to meet new people and laugh about stupid things.

My depression has come back. To say it has inconvenient timing would simply be labelling the nature of the beast. If I don’t do something about this soon – anything – I’ll end up worse than ever.


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October 2nd

There was an opening ceremony at the Ito campus today. My only regret is bringing a dress as formal wear. It did remind me of a lovely wedding I attended, but my god do I wish I had worn pants.

The campus itself was gorgeous and enormous. The food wasn’t too bad, and it was equipped with its own conbini and in-campus transportation. Sadly, the community around the campus is still in the making, so there wouldn’t be much to do around there even if it was used for JTW students.

Beyond that, I don’t remember anything really exciting happening. Sooooo, here: have a tour of my room. Yaaaaaaayyyyy.

My lovely front door, with some nice shoes in front of it. All fancy and junk, I know. When entering the room, directly to your left is this little thing, which currently doesn’t smell too nice cause of these bad boys and the rain. To your right, there is a set of three wardrobes: the first one is relatively empty, besides some gifts from Ohio and some FUCKING USELESS COINS SENT FROM HELL (1 yen and 5 yen coins – everyone’s future gifts from Japan cause THERE’S NO OTHER FREAKING USE FOR THESE FUCKING THINGS); the second one contains what I THOUGHT would be enough clothing for Japan; the third basically just contains my suitcase and some other random junk, where the drawers beneath it hold my bathroom supplies.

Which brings me to the lovely bathroom! Complete with my own toilet, sink, and shower/tub! And that was all directly in front of the third wardrobe.

Next to the third wardrobe is my very own fridge/freezer, which currently holds basically nothing. Aaaannnnddd then there’s my messy desk, my incorrectly made futon, and a little drawer thing next to it that holds most of what I own. Yay!!!

So that’s the layout of my room. Nothing fancy, but it works for me. It’s usually neater than this, bbbbuuuuutttt I was lazy today.


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October 1st

This was the night of Tenjin. I don’t honestly remember most of what happened during the day, since the days blur together here. However, I do remember the night party that one of the tutors led us to. So was also there, and it was nice to see him again.

Basically, we all crowded on a bus together and headed to Tenjin. If I thought the area near Rupo was crowded, I was quickly corrected; there were so many people in Tenjin. The buildings were stuffed together, towering over us. The night lights were gorgeous, though it was difficult to see through the crowd.

And so, it came to pass that night that the one called Jennie, founder of the Fukuoka Experience blog, experienced her first umeshu. The world has changed since then; no one knows how or why, but it has changed, and for the better.

Basically, I got drunk. If you want any more details, they’re considered at least slightly private, but feel free to message me on Facebook. Just know that everyone made it back home safely and securely, and no one did anything stupid.

Oh, and I ate chicken giblets.


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September 30th

Another early start, another exhausting day. Some friends met me for breakfast, and we started off for the Ward office pretty early with a group. Basically, we had to get a receipt for our residence card so we could open a bank account. So, we did.

After that, around 1 pm, there was another orientation we had to go to. This time, it was for all of the international students, not just the JTW program. A few bits and pieces were interesting and useful, but, if I wasn’t such a light sleeper, I would have been completely out of it.

We all ran to the local conbini after orientation to get copies of our receipts and passport pages. That caused us to be a little late to the bank event, so they had already run out of applications. So another half hour wait, and we filled out our applications – completely wrong, that is.

At around 7, we were all finally done, and back at the dorm. I happened to wander downstairs, and was invited to go out with Rei, Ryan, and Andrew. And so the fun finally began.

We all headed to Hakata station, which is basically a train station with the equivalent of about 5 shopping malls on top of it. Seriously, floors and floors of just random stuff. There was a Pokemon Center – which we still haven’t visited – and an entire floor that is just an arcade. Andrew ended up winning a very nice figurine at one of the machines (the items are held up with a string, and you have to cut it with a razorblade), we all played Mario Kart, and we laughed at some of the coin machines (you put the money in, turn the thingy, and a ball pops out with what you got; it’s common in the US as well, I just don’t know what they’re called). I’m still baffled at the price of some of the machines. I considered getting a sushi cat one, but one go was ¥400. For that price, there’d better be real sushi and a real cat coming out of that machine! There was another cheaper cat one, but they were all puking the word nyan out, posed in different ways. Japan, I shake my head at you sometimes.

We had tried to find an electric store so one of us could get a LAN cable, but failed. Instead, we went to a cheap restaurant and had a good dinner, laughing at ridiculous things and explaining how we viewed each other (like, I told Rei she had the personality that made everyone laugh, and that sort of stuff).

Rei had to go to the Ward Office since she hadn’t been yet, and Ryan was going to meet his tutor in the morning, so we all made plans for getting together tomorrow morning for breakfast. It was an absolutely wonderful day.


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September 29th

September 29th

This was the second, and the last, day of our welcoming trip. Pallock-sensei made sure to remind us of the mountain of deadlines hovering over us all, but it wasn’t going to keep us down for long. We stopped at Daikambo to hike for a bit, but all got distracted by a performing monkey. The videos I got there were amazing, and will definitely be shared. The monkey ended up having a sumo match between him and a Curious George plush. It was by far the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

The hike was nice as well. The dragon flies were all out, whizzing about, showing their lack of modesty. Some posed for us on plant leaves, and two of us got so distracted by them that we missed a group photo. There were plenty more to be had anyway, so it wasn’t all that bad.

We had planned on going up to Mt. Aso, but it was currently leaking poisonous gases.

One of the last things we did was go to Kumamoto castle. The design was absolutely breathtaking. It’s hard to describe what I saw there. All I know is I wouldn’t have missed that trip for the world.

We got back to Fukuoka around 7 o’clock. Some of us wanted to sort out our schedules, but I wasn’t able to stay up for much longer. I welcomed my bed like an old friend, and didn’t part from it for a while.


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September 28th

September 28th

We all had to wake up early for today’s trip. We were headed off to Ryumon Falls, Kokonoe Yume Ootsuribashi, and the Kuju training center. So, a waterfall and some sort of hotel like area. The waterfall was gorgeous; I took so many pictures there that I’ll just upload them all to Facebook instead of attempting to put them in here.

While going to the waterfall, and coming back, we all had to stop and love on a gorgeous ginger cat. We had already discussed how we were planting the geijin flag everywhere we went, but, after this, we knew who we were: the geijin nekos it was, and the mascot had been found.

Lunch, I think, was the highlight of this day. We went to this gorgeous restaurant where we all sat on cushions on the floor, our legs crossed under the table. The food was displayed beautifully. One thing definitely stood out though: the food stared right back at you. There was a whole-cooked fish on each of our plates. I ate a bit of it here and there, and it was delicious. Eventually, I overheard a friend talking about it, and looked over just in time to see her eat the head whole. Rei was sitting next to me, and she was surprised that you could eat the head. So, logically, we decided to try it together. Honestly, it wasn’t bad. It was softer than the other meat, though there was a crunch or two that I don’t like to think about.

We ended up trying to pressure another friend into eating it. He was pretty happy to leave it alone, especially after someone mentioned the eyes were crunchy. I kept telling him he needed to show the fish who’s the boss, to defeat his enemy, but he wasn’t having any of it. Maybe next time peer pressure will win the day.

We also went over the bridge of dreams, which was, according to some sign, taller than the pyramids. It was beautiful, terrifying, and had a great reward of ice cream at the end. I’ve got plenty of photos of that trip for sure.

At the training center, there was a small, but nice, onsen. Most people I knew were rather shy about public bathing. I ended up taking a public bath in private, since no one else went when I did. Afterwards, I went to the gym and watched the others play before we all headed back to either our rooms or the onsen.

The quiet didn’t last for long honestly. By the end of the night, there were at least 20 of us crowded into the small hallway, talking and playing group games. I got to know some people pretty well, and we shared interesting bits about our cultures and whatnot.

This entry is short because I don’t remember much. I didn’t take my laptop with me on the trip, soooo I’m actually writing this in October. Also, most of the pictures can be found on Facebook, and I’m too lazy to transfer them over to here.