We left Tsuwano at about 11 am and headed back over the mountains to connect with our train...the train that would take us off the island of Honshu and south to the island of Kyushu. We were headed to Fukuoka, previously known as Hakata. Once we got off the local train, which stopped at every single little town, and where we unexpectedly met up again with our French/Japanese friend of the night before, we booked it onto the bullet train again.
We got into Hakata station at about 3 pm, found our hotel, and settled into to our modern (!) rooms...meaning no traditional Japanese toilets but the high-tech variety with a heated seat, bidet, shower (?), and other assorted gadgets.
John settled in for a nap and Bonnie and I wandered off with our books to a coffee shop close by. Where we whiled away the afternoon in supreme caffeinated happiness.
For dinner, our new-friend-from-the-night-before, Jean, had us told that Fukuoka was known for their 'yatai', which are little open trailer stalls where they cook noodle dishes and where you pull up a stool and eat, right there on the sidewalk. Cool. As some of these stalls could be found near Canal City...a Japanese super-mall where I wanted to go...I was thrilled.
The pictures below are of John looking into the stalls for food ideas, and of our stall owner/cook (who was a 'big fan of Jack Bauer...bang, bang' as he told us). Beside him is his assistant cook, and out on the street was his brother, who was like a carnival barker...his job was to stand there and beckon folks in to eat. You can't tell from the photo, but our cook had a long ponytail and tattoes, and also had a love of Harley Davidsons (once again, his limited English was all he needed to tell us everything he loved about America...Jack Bauer, guns, motorcycles).
I ordered the 'Many Pork' bowl, while John and Bonnie both had the 'Many Onions' bowl. Both had noodles, pork broth, pork slices, and green onions, but mine had tons of pork, while theirs had less pork and more green onions. And they were all delicious.
We finished dinner and headed into Canal City, which had about 5 levels. Entertainers worked an outdoor stage in the center. Water shows, Vegas-style, came and went. We were entertained at the Cold Stone Creamery there by 3 enthusiastic female employees, who sang 'Camptown races', including all the doo-da, doo-da's in English (though they didn't speak English).