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Kumamoto 熊本市

August 6, 2008

I was in Kyushu, Japan from July 22nd to August 1st.  For the first part of the trip, I was in the town of Kumamoto visiting a Canadian friend of mine, his Japanese wife and their (not quite) two year old boy whom I’d only ever met on a webcam.
7月22日から8月一日まで九州に行ってきました。まず、熊本市に住んでいるの友達を訪問しました。彼はカナダ人ですけど奥さんが日本人です。息子はさきに2歳になります。この旅行までにウェブカメだけ会えました。

Since my friends were at work during the day, I had plenty of time on my hands.  This was my third trip to Kumamoto so I pretty much knew where I wanted to go.  The only problem being, it was hot the entire trip.  I don’t think it ever dipped below 33°C and went up to a high of 39°C on one day.  The only good thing is that it isn’t as humid in Japan as it is in Hong Kong so the heat didn’t feel quite so bad.
熊本市へ3回に行ってきました。そして、面白い事と面白くない事を分かりました。いい市と思います。問題一つだけでした。天気は暑かったです。最高気温は39°Cでした。暑い!でも、日本より香港のほうが蒸し暑いです。それはいいですよ。

For whatever reason, Kumamoto was favoured by literary folk.  The two most famous being Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo to the Japanese) and Natsume Souseki (the guy on the 1000 yen note).  So, I went and checked out both of their former residences.  Sorry to say I wasn’t overcome with the need to spout prose.
竜かどうか分からない。有名な著者は熊本市好きでした。小泉八雲と夏目漱石は熊本市に住んでいました。

Food is a huge part of Japanese culture.  We went for yakiniku (bbq done at your table) and shabu shabu (hotpot style of cooking) but Kyushu is famous for ramen.  The best place to go in Kumamoto is Kokutei (sorry, the website is only in Japanese but they have pretty pictures).  Chashu ramen (pork meat in pork broth) with a cold beer and salted onigiri (rice ball).  That’s heaven.  They’ve been in business since 1925 and are not to be missed but make sure you go early or expect to stand in line.
友達とたくさん食べ物を食べた。焼き肉とシャブシャブを食べた。もちろん、九州ラーメンは有名ですね。熊本市中の一番おいしいラーメンは黒亭にあります。大正14年(1925)に設立されました。長いですね。いつもチャシューメンと塩おにぎりと冷たいビールを注文します。それはうまいですよ。毎日版ご飯時間に長蛇の列があるので早く行ったほうがいいでしょう。

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