Twitter weekly updates for 2014-07-23 – 2014-07-29

Daruma (Hide-Chan) Ramen and Il Forno del Mignon

Dinner at Daruma ramen. I agreed to hold this sign after Maria assured me it didn’t say “another gaijin sucker”
Dinner at Daruma ramen. I agreed to hold this sign after Maria assured me it didn’t say “another gaijin sucker”19-Jul-2014 17:03, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 2.7, 4.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 800
 
Fresh croissants at Il Forno del Mignon (photo from fukuokadreaming.com)
Fresh croissants at Il Forno del Mignon (photo from fukuokadreaming.com)08-Sep-2009 18:17, Panasonic DMC-LX2, 2.8, 6.3mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 320
 

After finishing our day at the Sunshine Pool, we headed home on the subway. We had to transfer at Hakata station, so we decided to stop there for dinner, at the Hakata Deitos center, which is part of yet another huge Japanese shopping complex built around a busy subway station. We went to the information desk and asked for a recommendation on their “noodle street” floor. We were steered to Daruma ramen. I didn’t realize until I looked it up afterwards that its owner, Hideto Kawahara, is something of a minor celebrity. After inheriting his father’s shop in Fukuoka, he’s opened up several more, in New York, Hong Kong, and other locations.

When the waitress saw me take out my camera, she immediately offered to take the picture for me, and handed me the sign I’m holding in the photo. I decided to hold it up only after Maria assured me it didn’t say “another gaijin sucker.” ;-) The whole staff stopped and gave a big cheer when she took the picture.

It was the best ramen we’ve had so far in Fukuoka, so Kai was especially pleased. We followed it up with an unexpected dessert – some very fresh, delicious mini-croissants that we saw for sale on our way back to the subway entrance, at Il Forno del Mignon.

“…never pass through Hakata Station without buying some Croissants from Il Forno del Mignon. It is an institution way before Hakata Station was renovated. You may have to wait awhile because of the long lines throughout the day, but these lines are but testament to the treat that awaits…”

The Uminonakamichi Seaside Park

The kiddie pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside ParkThe kiddie pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
The kiddie pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 10:49, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 8.0, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 

Last weekend we ventured north of the city, to Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, via a half hour bus ride. It’s the kind of place that has something for everyone:

The park offers an impressive array of seasonal flowers, lush greenery and refreshing ocean views… There is also an 18-hole professional quality disc golf course… Children may also enjoy the Wonder World amusement park, which has a giant ferris wheel with sweeping views over the bay, as well as other attractions including go-karts and a roller coaster. In addition, the massive Sunshine Pool complex…[offers] six different pools for the whole family to enjoy. There is even a small aquarium… which exhibits a wide assortment of fish and holds dolphin and sea lion shows.

- From the Finding Fukuoka guidebook

On our way into the park, we made a short stop at the giant, curvy trampoline landscape for some serious running and jumping. I’d never seen anything like it, and I have to say I enjoyed it at least as much as the boys. After that we got lost trying to find the Sunshine Pool area, but with the help of an attendant we eventually got there (the attendant kindly walked us almost halfway there).

The giant curvy trampolines at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
The giant curvy trampolines at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 10:02, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 13.0, 9.324mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
Enjoying the giant curvy trampolines at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Enjoying the giant curvy trampolines at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 10:00, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 5.9, 21.5mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Enjoying the giant curvy trampolines at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Enjoying the giant curvy trampolines at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 10:02, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 13.0, 8.285mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
 

The boys had a great time – it was definitely their favorite outing so far. I enjoyed it too, but unfortunately came home with my first sunburn in about 20 years. Right after Maria and the boys put on sunscreen, a recorded announcement in English was made, asking that no one use sunscreen, as they don’t want it “contaminating” the pool water. So I refrained – in retrospect I should have put it on anyway, as the next few days were painful! If we go back I’ll make sure to buy a rash guard shirt beforehand.

Families came to camp out for the day – literally – with tents. There were also plenty of covered areas, many with tables, for families to set themselves up for the day with some shade. As an American, I felt nervous leaving our things unattended while we were in the water, but Maria reminded me I didn’t need to worry about it.

I have to say the place was managed with a level of fastidiousness that’s extreme even for the Japanese. Every hour, everyone had to get out of the pools for 10 minutes, so the staff could conduct a “safety inspection.” But it was really more about cleaning – they went around with little butterfly nets to get debris out of the pools. Of course at the end of each inspection their nets would be almost completely empty, because the customers are just as obsessed with cleanliness, so there’s never a chance for anything to get dirty.

We took the subway home to Tenjin, which involved switching lines a couple times, so the bus is definitely the simpler way to go. Being on a more remote line (the JR Kashii Line) outside of the city, it was one of the few times I’ve been on a Japanese train that didn’t feel shiny and new, but it was still very nice by American standards.

The giant ferris wheel at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
The giant ferris wheel at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 09:53, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 5.0, 10.367mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park's Sunshine Pool
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park's Sunshine Pool19-Jul-2014 10:50, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 8.0, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
The lazy river pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
The lazy river pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 10:51, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 4.5, 8.804mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
Part of the kiddie pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Part of the kiddie pool at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park19-Jul-2014 11:13, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 8.0, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Maria and the boys in the lazy river
Maria and the boys in the lazy river19-Jul-2014 11:50, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, 8.0, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 

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