Fantasy Fukuoka

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Japanese people are really excellent when it comes to the illuminations. Everything is conscientiously decorated, cities are full of lights, colors and the shops BMG are Christmas songs! Fukuoka is not an exception. A lot of places were filled with tons of laughs, but, as every year, it is the front of Hakata station which was the most magic.

Exceptionally renamed,  this"city of lights" (光も街, hikari no machi) is decorated with more than  700 000 LED. This year, thema is "otoiro" (響彩) which means"echo". People in charge hopes that, as echo does, happiness will spread in the heart of people who come to see the illuminations.

It is pretty a success because the front of the station is crowded every night. There are hundred of curious taking pictures, even late in the evening, even on weekdays.
As for me, as soon as I arrive near the station and see the lights, my smile and my eyes are full of stars. I have the sensation to enter a fairy tale. It is just magic and, as every year, I fear the day when everything will be removed. But this day is not coming yet, so let's enjoy!


Hakata Fukuoka Illuminations 2014

Christmas afternoon tea at Moomin Cafe

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This sunday, I spend a lovely time at Fukuoka's Moomin Cafe !

Moomin Café, Fukuoka

In Fukuoka, we are privileged to have one of the three Moomin Cafe of Japan, the other two are in Tokyo. it is very well located, in the Canal City shopping center, which is half way between Hakata station and Tenjin.
Fukuoka's Moomin Cafe is not just a cafe, but also a souvenir shop and a bubble tea stand.

Nanzôin's great reclining Buddha

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I came back to Sasaguri town at the end of November to enjoy the last maple tree leaves and visit one of the local famous spots: Nanzoin temple and its giant reclining Buddha.

Nanzôin, Sasaguri, Fukuoka

Nanzoin is a huge temples ensemble. Everything was taken from Mount Koya (Wakayama prefecture) to Sasaguri town in 1889. It is the starting point of the Sasaguri Shikoku 88 temple pilgrim, inspired by the famous Shikoku 88 temple pilgrim. Smaller than its big brother (45km only), only 25 temples are "real temples".  The other ones are just little altars lost in the wood.
Sasaguri Shikoku pilgrim can be achieved in 3 days and every year more than one million people come to do it. It is the perfect place to try a pilgrim, don't you think?

Akizuki, Kyushu's little Kyoto

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Akizuki (秋月) is a small town in Asakura city, in the south part of Fukuoka prefecture and just near the Oita prefecture. The town is one of the numerous Japanese castle towns, but one of the oldest ones. Akizuki 's main sightseeing spot is the ruins of its old castle.
The town is also called "Kyushu's little Kyoto or "Chikuzen's little Kyoto". Each year, around 500,000 curious come to admire cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.

Megane-bashi, Akizuki, ville d'Asakura, Fukuoka
Megane-bashi

Momiji at Nomiyama Kannon Temple

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Last sunday I had a great time looking for ... momiji in the woods !

Momiji

Autumn season in Japan is famous for its trees but especially the maple trees which gradually turn colours from green into yellow, then orange and finally burning red, all of this from September to December depending on the area. In Fukuoka, it usually happens from the beginning to the end of November, the best time being around the 20th. But this year, it seems to be a bit late.

The little japanese things that I couldn't live without anymore

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After a bit more than 2 years in Fukuoka and 6 trips to Japan, I thought I had seen everything and nothing could still surprise me in terms of the daily Japanese life. From supermarket's opening times to the train announcements, every single thing is made to make your daily life easier and nicer. All these little things, that seemed to be so insignificant at first, actually became things I couldn't live without.

kotatsu panda
my winter's best friend : panda kotatsu

Sunday at Umi no nakamichi

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Umi no nakamichi (海の中道) is a huge complex in the northeast of Fukuoka. It includes a large park, a zoo, a rose garden, some play areas for children, attractions, gardens, an aquarium and a swimming pool (open only in summer). This is a fantastic place where you can spend the day without getting bored.

After we payed 410 yens entrance fee, which allow to enter the complex (swimming pool, aquarium and attractions excluded), we started looking for the badging workshop which was offered for free this day. Unfortunately, it was already over so we headed to the big wheel (500 yens), where we admired the seasonal floral decorations .

Umi no naka-michi toboggans

I became a magical girl !

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Last month I served as a model for my old school Aso College Group students. Students had seen in a competition from the United States to train foreign to style hair. When I was contacted by a person working at my school, I immediately accepted. We were 3 foreign girls (4 the following week) expecting to have our hair done. In fact we were treated to makeup, a dress session and we have to carry a huge and heavy wig. All that in only 3 hours !

We all were send to different teams and each style was really different. I was luck enough to be sent to the team who did the style that I prefered : something between Pretty Cure and KyaryPamyu Pamyu with pink, white, glitters and hearts. I became a real magical girl... for few hours!

My team consisted of 3 people and is well distributed work. Students who did my makeup was really talented, skilled, fast and accurate. I found the result very nice despite the very dark foundation she put on my face . This was also my first experience with false eyelashes. I had a little trouble getting used to ( and I am sure to never wear that again) but they were pretty, with strass and colors.

On the hairstyle side, the two students had a little more trouble, especially on the first day because the wig kept to leaned. They have improved the following week, capping me a bonnet which helped secure the whole thing.

Palettes de maquillage et dessin de maquillage

Muromi-gawa's lanterns festival

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All Japan lovers know the Nagasaki, Tokyo or Kumamoto Lanterns Festival. But did you know that Fukuoka has two (smaller) festivals too ? There is Hakata Tomyo Watching and the Muromi-gawa Tomyo Matsuri . I went to the second one on Saturday night after two unsuccessful attempts in 2012 (canceled due to rain) and 2013 (I already had plans for the evening).
Festival des lanternes de Muromi-gawa

Two years in Japan

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2 years ago, day per day, I was just landing at Fukuoka's airport. Two years... Time flies and I feel like it was yesterday. I can see myself again, on September 19th in 2012, carrying my only suitcase in Fukuoka's streets, looking at the beautiful sunset while being surprised not to see so many people in the subway whereas it was peak-time. Lots of things have happened, and I have changed a lot. Let's take a look back together !

- First picture of Fukuoka / September 20th, 2012 -

Atago shrine

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Atago shrine

It's been raining for almost two month in Fukuoka. Thanks to El Nino, the summer in Japan was less harsh than usual in many areas but in return, the weather is awful (at least in the south). In Fukuoka, summer is simply never happened! So I welcomed the nice weather announced by the weather and I took my half-day off to go to the west part of ​​the city and specifically the Atago Shrine ( Atago Jinja /愛宕神社) .

Being French in Japan

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Being French in Japan is facing a lot of stereotypes. Since I set foot in Fukuoka, my life has completely changed. Unlike in Tokyo or Kyoto, there are very few French tourists and even fewer French residents. In Fukuoka, Korean, Taiwanese and other people from countries of Southeast Asia are the most frequent so it makes being French even more exotic and unexpected.

Béné no Fukuoka ! - a French in Japan

A sweet February morning

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This morning, I wanted to enjoy one of the most recent beautiful day we had in weeks. I decided to get up early to enjoy the still sleepy and quiet city and go wandering around the largest park in Fukuoka Ōhori Park (大濠公園). 
It is 7am, the sun is up for a few minutes, I rode my bike and go to the park! I began with a tour of the lake.
 Ohori-koen