Mamma mia, it’s dancing water[loo]!

It proved impossible for us to leave the hotel before midday. We woke up too late for the free breakfast and then washed our clothes in the hotel coin laundry. Eventually we made it to Hakata station, where we visited a travel agent to try to book some hotels for the 20th and 21st. It’s a long weekend in Japan and I had no luck booking anything online for any of the places I wanted to go.

So it’s two nights in Yamaguchi, but unfortunately it looks like no internet access for that period.

We attempted to reserve some seats on a train to Kumamoto, but when we looked at the arrival time we realised that it was too late for us. So we decided to see more of Fukuoka instead and walked down to Canal City.

On the way we stopped by a “sweets” store and ate a sakura rce cake wrapped in a cherry tree leaf and a couple of “mochi” (glutinous rice cakes) filled with red beans and strawberry. Next ws a lunch of pasta at a branch of the Pronto chain. It was spaghetti Japanese style with sakura shrimps in a tomato sauce for B and chicken and perilla leaf for me.

Near the entrance to Canal City was a store selling a wide variety of outfits for dogs, mainly chihuahuas judging by the size of the clothes. There were strollers for lazy dogs too. Don’t think that Kita would appreciate any of it.

Canal City is a shopping centre so named for the artificial canal that runs through it. On the hour water jets shoot out of the canal synchronised to music. Alex was captivated by the shows, especially when Raiders of the Lost Ark played. The syncronisation with Mamma Mia was also very amusing.

The canal area also had a number of topiaries and flower arrangements, with more under construction.

We made use of one of the free strollers to take Alex around Canal City. He lasted a little while, but in the end preferred daddy’s chest with the Baby Bjorn. There were all sorts of interesting shops, from international chains like Zara and Gap to others selling tiny decorative plants and Japanese print t-shirts for children. I purchased a couple of things for Alex, including a battery operated toy Shinkansen train set for under $10!

One of the Dipper Dan gelato shops was selling soy sauce flavoured gelato. No thanks!

From Canal City we crossed over to Nakasu Island. Alongside the river, by some blossoming cherry or plum trees were a series of Yatai, with decorative lanterns. We squeezed into one and while B had yakiniku skewers I had another bowl of tonkotsu ramen, this one better than the first. It’s such an atmospheric way to dine, though not particularly comfortable.

Further across, the shops of Tenjin were closing, though I did get a soundtrack from Tower Records. We started to walk back towards the hotel, but by Nakasu again had given up, and we caught a subway back. My shoulder was sore from carrying Alex, daypack and shopping.

He did make up for it by laughing and playing with me once I put him down in the hotel room. We’ll try to get up earlier tomorrow and catch one of those cool looking trains to somewhere else.

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