After 8 months, my final week in Japan

Last time I wrote about my plan for my final week in Japan, before heading to South Korea.

In the end, I decided to get a night bus from Takasaki to Osaka where I would stay one night. It was difficult to say goodbye to all my friends in Minakami. Aya was kind enough to drive me to Takasaki to see me off, but it was definitely sad to say goodbye. I arrived in Osaka around 9am and went directly to my hostel, Hotel Toyo, where I stayed previously.

I was pretty exhausted so booked my bus ticket to Hiroshima for the following day and then had a nap for 3hrs. Later that day I went with a friend, Haruka to the waterfront for the sunset, where we also saw a big crowd of people chasing after some pokemon.

The next day I checked out of Hotel Toyo and caught the Willer Express bus to Hiroshima, where I spent two nights at K’s House Backpackers Hostel. My time in Hiroshima was very quiet, the hostel wasn’t very busy, so after the first night there I went and visited the A-Bomb Dome, peace park and Memorial Museum.

The scale of destruction caused by the bomb was far greater than I expected. Almost everything within a 5km radius of the bomb was completely destroyed, and surface temperatures in this area hit up to 3,000 degrees Celsius. People were literally burned to death by the heat rays and shadows burned into stone. The survivors described the flash as like a second sun. After seeing images and stories of destruction no visitor could ever wish it on their worst enemy.

I am now writing this from Fukuoka, where I arrived from Hiroshima on Friday (September 2nd) by bus (4,000yen approx.). My first night here I went out with a Japanese girl to an Italian restaurant, where I somehow managed to order a bottle of wine instead of a glass (it was terrible wine too), which looked particularly fancy, luckily it was only 2,500 yen.

The next day I went to Fukuoka International Ferry Terminal and bough my ticket to Busan, South Korea for Tuesday the 6th September (MY BIRTHDAY!). After booking the ticket, I sent a message to Hidemizu, a Japanese guy who had sent me a message on couchsurfing a week earlier, and he suggested we go driving to a shrine in Dazaifu about 30 minutes from Fukuoka city. After the shrine we also drove out to a mountain at the edge of the city where you can see all of Fukuoka City, pity about the typhoon casting grey skies over the whole area.

The next day we met up again at Hakata station and we went to eat some famous Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen, before driving out to Shiraito Falls and Sakurai Futamigaura. Sakurai Futamigaura has a Tori gate on the edge of the ocean, leading out to two rock islands symbolising gods of man and woman in marriage.

Later that night I met up with two German guys using Couchsurfings new Hangouts feature. Jonas and Julius were actually a barrel of laughs and we fumbled our way through ordering some Ramen at the famous Ichiran, went to a british pub for an expensive beer, and then ended up at an Aussie Bar I had read about on the internet, called Oz Roo.

We stuck our heads inside Oz Roo at about 10pm, it looked closed, but we called out ‘Hello? Are you open?’.

Then we poked our heads around further and saw a group of five locals sitting in the small room. The japanese owner replied, ‘well no, we’re not, but you know what, come on in anyway’.

So we got a VB each and started talking with the owner (Ben) and his friends about Bungy, Australia, Japan and it was a lot of fun. Ben invited us back for the following night for a small party.

So now, it is Monday 5th September and my last day in Japan, after 8 months. It is surreal. Today I had to jump through three hoops to get my money transferred into my Australian bank account, as my Japanese account would be inaccessible after leaving the country.

I had asked my parents to help me on the receiving end at Western Union (while on their holiday in Cairns!) and luckily they agreed to receive the transfer and deposit it in my account. First I went to the Bank and asked if I did in fact need to send via Western Union. Though there was an extreme language barrier, the old woman at the counter assured me I could, even though I didn’t have a my number card. Long story short, she was wrong, and ended up calling her daughter on her mobile in the bank to ask me in English what I wanted to do next, that was some excellent Japanese hospitality!

I withdrew all my money and closed my account, then took it to Western Union who told me I still needed a ‘My Number’ card to user their service!! So they directed me to the City Office where I applied and received a temporary My Number card, took it to Western Union and from there everything went smoothly. My official My Number card will now be posted to my old address in Gunma!

So the plan tonight is to meet up with the German guys again and head back to Oz Roo one more time. Tomorrow I’ll get up early and catch the Ferry to South Korea at 9am!


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