Almost a week has passed since I took my first exploratory walk around the immediate area where I live in Fukuoka. I posted the pictures I took of my adventure on my Hilary Scott Facebook page. There was a lot of activity going on last Sunday as I walked through Canal City. There had been concerts going on all day on a stage near the hotel, and when I started out on my walk there was what appeared to be a game show going on. Black or White by Michael Jackson was blasting out of the speakers, three women were standing in the center of the stage clapping and cheering and trying to get the crowd involved, and about twelve young men were walking around the outer edges of the stage in a circle. I had no clue what was going on - some version of musical chairs? When the music stopped, however, the men lined up across the back of the stage, then one by one stepped forward to introduce themselves and, I suppose, to say a little about who they were, etc. I figured perhaps it was some sort of "bachelor" style game. Not understanding the language sure takes the fun out of a game show, though, so I continued on my way.
Amidst all the Japanese brand stores, I ran into a Barbie store and a KFC next door to each other and was curious if I had been transported back to America somehow. :) I've noticed that in Asia, the main fast food brand is KFC, not McDonald's, and some Asian countries also have Pizza Hut. I haven't, nor am I planning, to try any of them, though!
I found a veritable "kareoke palace" across the street from the Canal City, and it's on my list of things to do. Also on my list of sight-seeing must-do's: Japanese temples, the highest building in Fukuoka, the famous baseball stadium, a club that is apparently quite the rage called Infinity, and if possible, taking the high speed train to Hiroshima.
The Japanese do everything with attention to detail, and they do it well. While I usually appreciate this very much, when it comes to Halloween decorations, I wish they weren't quite so creative! :) I took a series of photos of the "pumpkin-head men" that stand outside the hotel along the canals, and they just scare me! I know it's because of my traumatic childhood experience with horror movies, but, really....They also have some very cool light statues of skeletons that are poised over the water right next to where the dancing fountains go off.
Work this week was fun - although I caught a little bug and felt sick for a few days. The staff was wonderful to me, made me a ginger tea that has now become my favorite and they have ready for me every night (the bartender said it is his special recipe just for me - apparently he had not made it before) and continually ask after how I am doing or if I need anything. The crowds were bigger this week, and will continue to grow as we near the holidays. An interesting difference between American and Japanese culture is that whereas Christmas in America is usually a family holiday, in Japan it is considered one of the foremost nights each year for couples to go out on the town, very romantic and celebratory. And whereas in America New Year's is seen as a go out and party night, in Japan it is a stay-at-home holiday with family.
AJ comes to visit me in less than 5 weeks, and I'm really excited! For now I'm mostly buckling down working on original songs for the recording in Italy next year, and constantly trying to learn new songs to perform here at shows. One nice side-effect of having a lot of time on my hands is that it usually means lots of time to be creative...we will see what songs come out of this time!