Konbanwa from Fukuoka, Japan!
And in true Agent P fashion, I got lost on my first night in Fukuoka.
The flight was uneventful – save for that seatmate that badly needed a shower, who thankfully transferred seats as the flight was not full – and I got to the hotel just fine. Everything was progressing smoothly, until I was left to my own volition to look for dinner.
My companions flew in earlier so I had to do this alone. My friend did give me specific instructions on how to go to her recommended ramen place, but since I’m terribly geographically-challenged, I didn’t find it.
I did find a ramen alley – I just don’t know if this is THE ramen alley that my friend was talking about – but I didn’t find the specific ramen place that she suggested. After traversing that alley three times, I just decided to follow the locals, gritted my teeth and attempted to use that famous ramen ordering machine. Hey, it has pictures. I know how to use the touch screen. There were little notes in English next to the machine with short instructions and warnings on how to use it. It won’t be that bad, right?
Err not really. The actual display was purely in Japanese. I just tapped on whatever ramen that looked good in pictures, inserted my money on the machine and waited for the order slip and my change to come out. That part went well.
I glanced at what the other diners were doing and saw that they just gave the order slip to the restaurant staff as soon as they sat down on their chosen seat. I did the same and waited for my food.
Meanwhile, I got thirsty from all that walking. I saw this water dispenser in front of me and attempted to fetch some water.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Now, what?
After much contemplation and inner turmoil with my throat getting more and more parched due to frustration, I finally found the courage to ask the Japanese guy on my right to teach me how to use the tap. I furtively tried using sign language, which he responded to… in perfectly good English.
What’s even funnier is, the Japanese businessman on my left was also fluent in English and was even teaching his companions – who turned out to be a group of visitors from Southeast Asia – on proper ramen etiquette. He taught me some pointers, too.
When my order arrived, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I was aiming for tonkotsu, which this? Was definitely NOT.
Fortunately, it was yummy. The broth was clear and refreshing, and the noodles had the exact chewiness that I wanted.
So I guess, getting lost wasn’t really bad after all.
After dinner, I took this photo of the menu posted outside the restaurant. I think what I eventually had was the Tanrei Ramen.
After a couple of missed turns, I managed to successfully return to the hotel unharmed and not too lost. My room has a complimentary phone which I can use to make local calls and surf the internet while in Fukuoka. I actually brought the phone with me in case I needed to be rescued by my friends. When I got back to my room and returned the phone to its cradle, I burst out laughing at what’s written on it.
TAKE ME OUT, I’M YOUR TRAVEL BUDDY. NEVER WORRY ABOUT ROAMING CHARGES OR GETTING LOST.
Well, I took it out. But I didn’t use it. Hence, I got lost.
To cap off Day 1 in Fukuoka, I had my cup of coffee before going to bed. My room has complimentary coffee/tea facilities, which I expected to be those little packets of instant coffee, sugar and cream. I took the coffee packet out, and…
Wait. This isn’t 3-in-1.
I flipped it over, and heaved a sigh of relief.
Whew! Thank goodness for tourist-friendly facilities.
I have a feeling this trip is going to be so full of misadventures. I’m so excited!