After all the chaos from the Balls was over and done with, Jeremy and I escaped the base and traveled south to Fukuoka. Ever since we arrived in Iwakuni, I had wanted to go see the German Christmas Markets in Fukuoka but never had the chance to see it the previous Christmases. There are two Christmas Markets in Fukuoka, one at Hakata Station and one at Tenjin Station. Since the one at Hakata Station was bigger we decided to go to that one. Jeremy and I like to travel cheap so we took the back roads from Iwakuni to Fukuoka and it took 8 hours to get to Fukuoka. Had we taken the Sanyo Expressway, it would have only taken 3.5 hours but it would have cost us $60 one way. The drive was nice though and we only got stuck in traffic once.
Once we got to Hakata Station, we had to walk around a bit before we found the Christmas Market. It was so cool once we found it. Everything was lit up in Christmas lights, there was a live band playing, and it felt like Christmas. It was perfect.
There were a few different vendors selling different German things like candle holders, furs, chocolates, pottery, and ceramic houses. Everything was so bright and colorful.
Scattered amongst the vendors were the various food vendors. There was long curled sausages, fries with cheese sauce, pasta made in a giant wheel of cheese, pizza, hot chocolate, steak, and fruitcake. My favorite was the mulled wine. It was delicious and hot (which was needed because Fukuoka was surprisingly colder than Iwakuni). Thankfully the alcohol ban had been lifted so I could try some. I went back for a second cup after splitting a sausage and french fries with Jeremy. The second time I went back I bought a chocolate cookie which I put in my bag for later.
After spending a few hours at the Christmas Market, Jeremy and I decided to go check into our hostel for the evening. Jeremy and I had stayed in a hostel before in Japan and enjoyed the experience. Since we were traveling on a budget, I opted for us to stay in a hostel in Fukuoka. It was 10 minutes from Hakata Station. This hostel was perfect for our needs. It was quiet, had individual rooms made of plywood that had bunk beds that could sleep four people comfortably, and best of all, free onsite parking. For the two of us, it only cost $47. The beds were really comfy but if I go back, I’m bringing my own pillow because I need a thicker pillow. If you want to check it out please check it out on AirBnB.
The next morning we decided that we were going to try and find the Pinkberry that we heard was down there. It had been forever since we had frozen yogurt. We pulled it up the first address in Google Maps and drove to the location. It was a mad goose chase that led to a literal dead end. So we pulled up the second location. It looked like it was in a mall so we drove around the mall looking for parking. As we drove around the block we realized that we had ended up by Tenjin Station where the other Christmas Market was. We decided to go check it out. Most of the vendors were closed up because it was early in the day. We still got a kick out of all the Santa’s hanging around and the random Nativity scenes set up.
As we walked around we heard music from a live group. We made our way over to the stage area to see three young girls performing. This was my first time seeing Kpop or Jpop (I’m not sure which it was) in person. The group is called Kuusou Moment or Fantasy Moment. They were so much fun to watch but the audience was just as much fun to watch. They really got into it. I didn’t realize it while recording this but if you watch the bottom of the screen, you’ll see an audience member make out with one of the Santa Claus statues. LOL
After the show, we went backstage to meet them. Jeremy got a picture with them. I didn’t realize that we were supposed to pay $10 for the photos. (Oops!) When we realized that we paid for photos but accidentally bought a ticket for the wrong group. (Double oops!) I still don’t know who the second group is.
Since seeing them perform at the Christmas Market, we have driven back down to Fukuoka to see them perform again. We love seeing their shows. It was really cool to see them the second time because they recognized us. I have a feeling that we will be going back to Fukuoka more often to see their shows before we PCS. We are trying to squeeze in as much as possible in our last few months here.
This is one of Kuusou Moment’s videos on Youtube.
Come back Monday for Part Two of our trip. While this was a short four-day trip, we packed it as full as we possibly could. Way too much for just one (or two) posts.