Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mojiko, Shimonoseki, Kitakyushu and Ferry Suo

Here's the latest of what will be many postings about my recent three-week trip to Japan. We begin in Mojiko:

The view from the waterfront at Mojiko towards Shimonoseki (above) and an old shipping line headquarters building, looking a bit like a Mechanics' Institute or public library in Wigan (below):

Mojiko is full of shipping-related signs:

A once-proud Scottish shipping company:

On the fast ferry to Shimonoseki:

Statues commemorating sword-wielding thugs - sorry, I mean warrior heroes:

A new A-Line ferry is born in the shipyard at Shimonoseki. Adjacent is the former nuclear-powered test ship Mutsu, nowadays diesel-driven and used as a research vessel:

Cranes for handy-size bulk carriers:

Ferries from Shimonoseki to South Korea - a long-established and important route over the Sea of Japan:

Heading for Shimonoseki:

Another building in the English provincial manner; apart from the roof garden, it could be a bank in Derby:

Downtown Shimonoseki:

Food Holes Hallo Day:

Police station pictogram:

Shimonoseki waterfront:

Sword-wielding thugs re-enactment:

Fast ferry back to Mojiko:

Kyushu Railway Museum:

The type of whizzy 1960s electric train we like to see:

A Gekko train, which can be converted for night-time use as a sleeper - very ingenious:

The luggage racks open down to form upper couchettes, while the seats can be pulled together to make beds:

As demonstrated by this vintage publicity image:

Old Japanese train headboards:

Staff insignia:

More headboards:

My favourite bit - a big exhibition about catering on Japanese trains:

A selection of food packaging:

Menus and advertising images:

Old uniforms, worn by alarmingly ghoulish waxwork figures:

And so to Kitakyushu Ferry Terminal - a fine example of the Japanese neo-vernacular:

While terminal 2 favours the post-modern symbolism of a Hanku Ferry's funnel:

Trailers awaiting loading:

City Line and Hanku Ferry departures and arrivals:

Our next ship, the splendid Ferry Suo, which will take us back to Kobe:

Japanese ferry terminal check-in desks thoughtfully provide pairs of glasses to aid the long-sighted when filling out the requisite forms. These are not in frames that one would be tempted to steal, though:

The embarkation waiting area for checked-in foot passengers:

The Ferry Suo's entrance foyer, with a typically Japanese grand staircase:

Leaving Kitakyushu:

A wide choice of delicious-looking dishes to select in the cafeteria servery:

My dinner - mmmm!

My three travelling companions:

The cafeteria:

Post-dinner captain's uniform modelling - by now, a shipboard ritual:

Ferry Suo pictograms:

Second Class dormitory accommodation, requiring the removal of shoes before entering:

Capsule cabins - compact and bijou:

A karaoke room for hire:

Please don't get drunk:

Japanese passengers in their kimonos showing the correct usage of a ferry's grand staircase:

Next morning off Kobe:

Breakfast service:

Me with a charming young lady who was travelling to Kobe especially to visit the hairdresser:

A man in the Scenic Grand Bath admires the bridge:

The Ferry Suo's foyer:

Arriving at Kobe:


More to follow shortly!

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