Kitakyushu Strange, Part 4

I hope the barrage of Kitakyushu Strange isn’t getting tiresome, because they’re easy to write and I haven’t had a lot of time lately.

Welcome to another neighbourhood temple, this time in the Showa-machi (昭和町) area of Yahata Higashi-ku. It’s within walking distance of my school, and is home to a 2-storey bell tower complete with pigeon-resistant green netting. I found the place on an overcast day in late January this year, while I was out wandering around on my lunch break. There I encountered a down-on-his-luck otherworldly hero moonlighting as a security guard.

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Kitakyushu Strange, Part 2

I think I’ve mentioned before the ubiquity of vending machines in this country. After dark, many are the solitary machines casting their neon glow as they stand in mute servitude to shift workers, motor scooter gangs, and petty criminals who ply their trade in a fitfully slumbering city. I knew she was trouble from the moment her feet, clad only in black fishnets and red pumps—the kind you see in Kokura on a Saturday afternoon—appeared in my doorway and hijacked my post. A group of vending machines installed together and operated by the same company or individual are usually called a vending corner.

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Kitakyushu Strange, Part 1

Rather than show photos of the rest of the major tourist attractions in Kitakyushu, I’m going to post pictures of some of the stuff you’re unlikely to see in a tourist guide. A What They Left Out of the Kitakyushu Tourist Guide guide to the city, as it were. This is the first installment.

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Creepy Crawlies

Math according to Ed: Bugs, and Lots of ‘Em + Thailand + Food week on the Bog = culinary mayhem. Q.E.D.

As some of you know, we went to Thailand for our winter vacation. Given that information, the title of this post, and the fact that it’s still food week, I can understand your anticipation of a story about cockroaches scuttling around the food markets and restaurants. Sorry, but if that’s all you can come up with, your imagination isn’t working hard enough. You won’t get roaches—well, ok, a few—but you will get an anecdote about questionable restaurant sanitation. And more.

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Cheap Like Borscht

Borscht. What is it? It’s beet soup. It’s Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and generally eastern European in origin. As far as I know I’m missing most of the required bloodlines so please forgive me if I screw up the rest of the description. I do have most of the aforementioned regions covered through marriage, though.

Why am I going to subject you to a long treatise on the primary sustenance of Slavic peasants? Simple. We had perogies for supper tonight. I’d made—and frozen—them a couple of months ago when I wasn’t spending all my time duct-taped to the computer, composing novellas about single images from my photo library. Yes, I made the dough myself. Yes, I made the filling myself. No, Henny Penny, I did not grind the grain myself nor did anyone help me and yet still I shared the fruits of my labour. No, I have never seen perogies for sale in Japan. Nor dill, but that comes later.

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Apartment Numerology

This started out as a rant about how cold it’s been lately. Yes, it is cold enough here for someone from Saskatchewan to be complaining about it. Anyway, my rant morphed into an explanation of Japanese Apartment Numerology. I got rid of the rant and left the numbers. But I’ll post my lovely rant as soon as I’ve finished it.

According to Japanese superstition, four is an unlucky number for housing. Fourth floor, apartment number four, etc. Anyone who’s looked closely at our address will see where this is going. Those who don’t know our address, keep reading. All will become clear.

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Sinister Hair

Hair salons are really common here. I don’t know if it’s because of the population density or because schools have rules about hair length. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that everyone has the exact same hair—thick, straight and black—and wants to do something with it to make themselves look a little different.

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