Our final self-appointed mission was to find an inexpensive dessert cafe. With our return flight back to Korea not being until 8pm, we gladly were able to stroll around Fukuoka at our own steady pace. Preferably we wanted to feast upon Japanese ‘cloud pancakes’ – thick, fluffy pancakes that don’t take on an entirely solid form. To our dismay countless dessert cafés we’re charging prices of between 10,000-15,000¥/$10-15USD for one serving of fruit topped waffles or two cloud pancakes: I’m well aware that these aren’t exactly costs that will cause bankruptcy, but we decided that we needed to treat ourselves on a budget this time around in Japan (during our visit to Osaka/Kyoto last year we indulged a tad too generously).
Upon using a search engine to determine which are the best cafés to go to in Hakata, we found out that ‘Muji café’ is highly recommended by visitors who have submitted an online rating. Forgive me for my ignorance but I was unaware that ‘Muji’, the homeware/clothing store, have branches which have a section reserved for a café. By the name ‘Muji’, I should have expected the café to have a connection with the store/company. Regardless of my misunderstanding I was pleasantly surprised by the Muji Café located on the third floor of the ‘Canal City Shopping Centre’ in Hakata – which alone is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
We settled for ordering a royal milk-tea ice-cream float, a iced Matcha Latte and a dome shaped slice of Mille-Crepe cake – all of which are perfect candidates for cream lovers or people who dislike overly sweet puddings and drinks. I don’t think the café is designed for being aesthetically desirable nor somewhere to droll over exotic/detailed flavour combinations; instead it functions well as a calm, simplistic environment in which you can sit in a comfy chair with a book or laptop whilst sipping on a refreshing beverage.
Canal City Mall offers a balance of common clothing stores, places to eat and the odd few gift shops. I advise that it’s best to buy gifts from drugstores rather than obtaining them from gifts shops which may be located in an airport. Japanese tax free drugstores like ‘Matsumoto Yiyoshi’ are somewhat comparable to the UK Superdrug and Boots, in the sense that they have countless locations and sell confectionary in addition to beauty products and toiletries – said items are the most favourable gifts among tourists.
You can’t go to Japan without having Bento! – It’s a fact! Due to mainly stopping by restaurants, cafés and coffee shops during our walks we hadn’t eaten a full meal back at the Airbnb prior to the afternoon of our departure day. Unsurprisingly we headed to the nearby local FamilyMart in the search for wondrous bento boxes. I had eaten pork cutlet bento and a pasta bento dish in Osaka, so this time I headed for the Yakisoba and Karaage (Japanese fried chicken). I think I still prefer Korean Bento, but I totally agree with all the hype concerning Japanese convenience store foods.
The rest of the day was a total blur. We arrived to the Fukuoka Airport prematurely, and flew during the late hours of the night. The Pilot decided to make a detour by landing at Gimpo Airport in place of the our planned destination: Incheon International Airport. Nevertheless landing at the alternative airport worked out in our favour as it shortened our train journey homeward bound.
What did I learn from this adventure? – I don’t consider this to be an eye-opening experience, particularly because the duration of our stay was limited. However I do think every journey abroad is beneficial; you get to learn about another culture through foods, interactions and generally viewing the scenery. To those who have travel anxiety I would like to say the best way to overcome the issue would be to travel. It sounds crazy, I know. Forcing yourself will cause an initial panic, but the more often you travel the easier it will become and you may even develop a craving for travelling.