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Sunday, March 27, 2011

*FUKUOKA TO NAGASAKI


Every day brings new shocks to Japan.  This one today was that the radioactivity measured around Fukushima #2 is 1000 times higher than the leaked water in the basement, but 10 million times higher than the usual cooling water for the reactor.  I fear this omission, but I wonder why there is never a mention about any plutonium leakage from Fukushima #3.  The deaths are just at around 9,500.   However, click on some photos of pets at the tsunami site.  Incidentally, Shanghai now has a one dog per family policy, but they're considering relaxing the one child limit.

I've noticed that you rarely see a beggar in Japan, but you do see teams of Japanese students collecting money for the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster.




They scream their pleas as loud as they can to get your attention.  I don't see much money, though, being donated. They need to re-think their strategy, for people are trying to avoid them.










It is a pleasant two hour train ride from Fukuoka to Nagasaki.  The JR Kyushu Hotel Nagasaki is right at the station.  Very convenient.

After check-in I asked where was the best spot for tonkatsu today and the premier Nagasaki restaurant for lunch tomorrow.  Seiyoutei was by acclamation #1 for pork cutlet, but it took them half an hour of calling, where they found out that the top establishments have a minimum sitting for two, that something was found just across the street in the New Nagasaki Hotel.  Somehow, I'm not impressed that this can be the best.


I quickly left the hotel at 1PM hoping to get to Seiyoutei in time for lunch.  Here is another tribulation of travel:  not knowing how to pay on the tramway.  I got on okay and noticed the cost was 120 yen.  However, I only had a 500 yen coin.  So, while I was trying to determine what to do, I neglected to press the button for the stop, so the car went whizzing past.  On a Shinkansen, you can miss by a 100 miles, but I stressfully walked another 15 minutes, which brought me to Seiyoutei at 1:40PM.  Thankfully, it was still open.  Amazingly enough, this was the same place that Pearl and I had our first Nagasaki tonkatsu.

There is something different about Nagasaki pork cutlet.  The panko (Japanese bread crumbs) is so light, that the effect is like eating crispy air.  Eddie Flores of  L and L needs to visit this restaurant to make their cutlets more edible.

As you can see to the left, there is a huge pile of sliced cabbage, rice and miso soup.  I had a beer and hot sake.  Like in 95% of the restaurants throughout the Orient (Singapore, Thailand, China, South Korea, Japan), the background music was American, and this is usually soft jazz from the 50's, Frank Sinatra, or something similar.  Absolutely fabulous lunch.  At 2:45 when I left, the place was still filled.

I noticed there was an outdoor seafood grill your own restaurant, which smelled great, and is something I should try someday:


These restaurants are located at the Nagasaki Port tourist complex:


Nagasaki is a prefecture (like a state, with a population of 1.2 million) and city (446,000), not too dissimilar from Hawaii and Honolulu, and someone should look into a sister city relationship. This has long been a cosmopolitan harbor and remained somewhat accessible to Europeans even during the closed period of Japan's history.  The Portuguese first came in 1543, with the Netherlands dominating a century later through the Dutch East India Company, but this was all of two ships per year.  They copied the craft of Japanese porcelain, who themselves borrowed the technique from Korea.  You've of course heard of Imari porcelain, where a bowl can cost $2,000.





On the way back, I noticed a pachinko parlor called:


Tomorrow I visit the historical one where Fat Man fell on 9August1945.  There is something eerily parallel about Nagasaki/Hiroshima and Fukushima 65 years later.  I'm here to make that connection.  The Peace Park is especially memorable with the Sakura at full bloom.  While they are blossoming in DC, I wonder if they will be there to greet me where the Atomic Bomb fell.

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