After five days of camp, we were really lucky to have 5 days off. I thought we’d be stuck at the facility all day, but it turns out that one of my friends from Oshkosh, Mayumi, lives in Fukuoka and was more than willing to take us around the island!! (I owe her a million thank-yous!)
So the first facility day we had was the 15th of July, aka the release date of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. I’ll let you take a stab at guessing what it was I wanted to do that day. Needless to say, Mayumi picked up my friends Sara and Erin (both UW River Falls students) and me, and we went to Aeon Mall, about an hour’s drive away. Once at the mall, we ate lunch (Ramen), and then Erin and Sara went shopping while Mayumi and I saw Harry Potter.

Erin, Dana, and Sara in front of Aeon Mall!

On our second and third days, all of the American Counselors decided to venture on an excursion to 7/11, a convenience store about 45 minutes away by foot. So, we walked and killed some time, as well as got some exercise. There we bought food, drinks, and also retrieved money from the ATM (7/11 is one of the few places with an ATM).

Casey and me in front of a house

One afternoon we ventured to an area called YouMe Town

Awesome Glasses store in YouMe Town

We took an entire day to go to Tenjin, the biggest shopping area in downtown Fukuoka. It looks a lot like Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Tenjin has an underground subway style shopping arena, which is just blocks and blocks of stores underground, and old town Milwaukee brick style cobble stone pathways, as well as a ton more stores above ground. I got to meet Mayumi there, and we hung out all day.

Downtown Tenjin

Vivre ❤ Department store

Homeless person claimed/decorated a statue, equipped with clothes, an umbrella, and half eaten food. Whilst we were here we had the chance to observe a homeless protest, claiming their rights to jobs.

Whilst we were here we also met the director of the program, Guy Healy (an American from Washington). He said that Japan is the safest country in the world; both times his wallet has been stolen, he has found it returned to him with all the money and cards. Awesome eh? I guess homeless people here are lucky when it comes to their possessions.

Shantal (age 23, from Los Angeles) and Casey (age 20, Burlington, Wisconsin) happy to be away from Global Arena!

One of my favorite parts of this day was eating Ramen. Real. Ramen. Seriously it was amazing and such a unique cultural experience. Here are some photos to help you.

Restaurant Sign

Me in front of the restaurant, peace signs and all

This restaurant is found in an alley-way hole in the wall. I would have never found it had it not been for the fact that team 1 ate there a week ago, and Mayumi knew about it.

“Ichiran has been serving noodles for 39 years. Unusually, customers eat at individual cubicles, and fill out forms requesting precisely how they want their noodles prepared. Flavour strength, fat content, noodle tenderness, quantity of special sauce and garlic content can all be regulated. An English language request form is also available.” – lonelyplanet.com

Alleyway where the restaurant is located. Lots of weird men in suits. LOL

From Left: Julie, Steven, Mai Chao, Jimmy, Andrew 

So basically, you place your order vending machine style, and it gives you a ticket.
Then you are led through this sketch door that only opens when it lets people in; it makes you feel like you’re getting sold into the sex trade. (like in Taken!)

Mayumi helping me!

Then you are led to random hallways, where you get your own booth, with a little doggy door thing on the front; when it is ready, someone pushes your ramen through the door. Each booth also contains a water dispenser! It was so awesome.

Mayumi and me; notice how we have our own separate booths!?

Julie in her booth- notice the water dispenser and doggy window?

My Ramen- yum! (Window in front)

The boys in a separate booth, enjoying their meal

The rest of the time, we shopped!

Rest Area in the middle of downtown Fukuoka

This is me in a dressing room: Shoes off, provided disposable head attire on, in order to prevent contamination, lice spreading, etc.

Underground shopping in Tenjin

Skyscrapers similar to the US

I was so happy in the city!



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