Busy in China

Oh, Hong Kong. So different from Japan, though there are many things that are similar. I find the same products, sushi, and some of the same kanji, but other than that everything seems very different. So far I have pretty much been working every day, and then in the evenings wander around and fall to my bed. So much to see, but also so much time!

Quiet street in the afternoon
Quiet street in the afternoon

It seems odd to compare Hong Kong with Japan, since they both have their own characteristics. This place seems more international, yet also very traditional Chinese at the same time. So far, I have got my home-fix from Ikea, but also seen pig faces on dirty concrete ground, turtles piled in a cage with frogs, and the various Chinese medicine shops that sell bunch of smelly stuff.

Geese drying up on the street
Geese drying up on the street

Every day is an adventure, and I believe there will be new things to discover after few months. It definitely is an advantage, that I am accustomed to the Asian cultures before coming here, since now I know most (well, at least some) of the weird foods. My goal here is to eat as much fruits and study as much about mushrooms as possible, since it seems like they are pretty big deal here (and of course FSF plays a role in that…today I tasted shiitake, originated from Oita! So, I guess I can’t leave Beppu behind.

This could be Japan!
This could be Japan!

Now that the Chinese New Year’s is upon us, I believe that will give me something to write about. At some point I will also reveal you the Paul Yee Mansion penthouse – and of course some of the things I experience with the shrooms and Four Sigma Foods.

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Bye bye Beppu!

Last night party with friends in Izakaya, followed by hours in karaoke, too little sleep and room clean up in the morning.

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Tears and goodbyes in AP house, panicking and running around like a headless chicken.

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Best last meal with great friends: 100y sushi, once more!

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Tears and goodbyes in the ferry terminal.

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Feeling like in a Tallinn cruise, though not quite.

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6.30 next morning: Osaka. 9.15: Kyoto. Now, 23:21 in a hostel bed, with ridiculously soft mattress and pillow. Two Chinese “ladies” don’t care that there’s also a common room for gossiping.

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The future is near

My time in APU is getting close to its’ end. Today was the final report submission deadline (no more school for my bachelor’s degree!), and my check-out is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. After cleaning my room, I will be spending the night on a ferry to Osaka, and from there I will hopefully find my way to Kyoto. This short trip of mine will end on Monday night, when I finally move on to my next destination, Hong Kong.

Small version of my next home
Small version of my next home

I have been waiting to go to Hong Kong since coming back from Tokyo – I have had quite enough with this Beppu experience already. The mountain doesn’t quite suit me the way a city does (evidence of this: each time I go downtown, I come back with enormous headache that ruins the rest of the day).

Bye bye campus
Bye bye campus

For the next 5 months, I will continue what I already started here: my practical training in Four Sigma Foods . Not bad at all! I highly recommend to check out their video about Hong Kong and other locations; they’re rather inspiring, to say the least. So, I will continue this blog with topics probably more related to health and overall well-being, since I believe I will be getting into more holistic and healthy environment than here. I believe my time in Hong Kong will be at least as unforgettable as my time here in APU – at least it will be completely different. I can’t wait! But before leaving, it’s time to go to izakaya and karaoke one last time, and see the ancient capital of Nippon. But Hong Kong, here I come!

Bye bye AP house
Bye bye AP house

Oh onsen!

In the promised town of Onsens, one simply cannot spend half a year without entering at least few of them. Today I visited rather different onsen than the natural ones I went last month.

 

Family onsens in Myoban

The original plan for today was to walk to Myoban, which is 5km from APU. Since the day was so lovely, we kept on walking past the family onsens and tourist attractions to Kannawa, the most famous onsen area in Beppu.

(Perhaps) rice drying in a hut with clay ground, Myoban onsen area

 

We found our onsen almost by accident, after deciding not to go to a public 100yen bath.

Onsen in Kannawa, no idea what it was called

 

This onsen featured a sauna-like room, where we wore a yukata and went to lie down on floor covered in strays. There we were for 10 minutes, it felt almost like being in a sauna at home (though our weeds are birch, and usually we don’t have rocks under our heads)!

Door for midgets, leading to the hot chamber with stray floor

 

After the steam “room” (height was about 1,2m), we went to bath in the super hot ofuro. 750yen for this fun, I guess it’s about the average price or a bit higher than others. My skin does feel softer than before!

It’s good to have visual instructions

 

Next time maybe the most famous “8 Hells” onsens, who knows?

Take a hike

Rice fields forever

Apparently winter is coming, but at least last week it was still warm and sunny enough to take a walk down the mountain, to Kamegawa and downtown Beppu. This time I took a different route than usual: few surprises were on my way!

This worm seemed picture-worthy

Even though the walking directions here are rather limited, the scenery at least is variable. And there are many new things I encounter each time.

The second worm was a lot longer than the first one

You never know what comes around the corner.

Oddly enough, this hebi (snake) was just sun-bathing on its’ back

It takes roughly two hours to walk to downtown Beppu. I prefer the route along the habitation, since there are nice plantations where people grow their vegetables (no wonder, since they’re so expensive in the stores!), beautiful small gardens, architecture and interesting encounters.

Lady selling fish from her cart, I’m guessing this is local entrepreneurship at its’ best!

My next goal is to walk to the nearest onsen, on the other side of the mountain. It is easy to go down, but I would never walk up here (to “Hogwarts”).

Not even nearly there!