When I plan a trip to Japan I like to find out as much as I can about the places we want to visit. I have traveled to the country many times and I left the guide books behind a long time ago.
Instead, I seek information via Japan-related web sites and read opinions from online blogs and journals. Recently my daughter discovered a blog penned by "Unagiinu" - a Fukuoka native who writes her posts in English!
Since we would be staying in Fukuoka Prefecture for many days, our interest was piqued and we were hooked immediately by the title - "The Least Useful Guide to Fukuoka." Given the proliferation of larger-than-life egos living through the internet, Unagiinu's self-deprecating wit was appreciated and refreshing, to say the least.
Amanda and I had chosen Fukuoka largely due to the area's historical connection to Kuroda Kanbei, subject of this year's NHK Taiga Drama. We laughed our heads off when we read that Unagiinu was NOT going to watch the show because she was sick and tired of hearing about it constantly.
She knew all she needed to know about the military strategist, and she thought maybe other potential viewers had also been turned off by the excessive ad campaign, because the ratings were not impressive. For our part, when we did come to Fukuoka Prefecture we thought the city of Nakatsu had a much better exhibition of all things Kanbei than Fukuoka city.
Unagiinu wrote how she had visited the Fukuoka Zoo for the first time in thirty years, and she posted photos with commentary. We laughed again. The zoo was exactly as Unagiinu described, but unlike Amanda and me, she was able to get clear photos of those swimming otters.
An estuary was pictured on Unagiinu's blog and we ended up there too, walking during low tide on the beach and marveling at the hundreds of crabs scuttling sideways and hiding in holes in the sand, save for one brave soul who stood his ground and brandished his claws aggressively. Additionally, there were many inhabited auger shells, grouped in clusters so numerous that we could scarcely walk between them.
We concluded that Unagiinu liked both cats ("cat picture of the day") and sweets. We could definitely relate as fellow cat lovers, and also as snack aficionados always looking forward to the next coffee and cake cafe or stopping by the pastry shelf at Lawsons.
Unagiinu's blog is current, written in the here-and-now, unlike the abandoned blog of a long-gone JET instructor.
If you are planning a trip to the lovely island of Kyushu and you would like to visit Fukuoka and its environs, you might enjoy reading "The Least Useful Guide to Fukuoka" at this link: leastguidefukuoka.asablo.jp/blog
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