Last weekend Dan and I had no big plans and initially lent towards a weekend under the Kutatsu table. We had been doing a little research into local cafes and things to do, and came across a place called Mojiko, which is just across the water on Kyushu. We pulled ourselves out of our warm stupor and I put on my two down jackets ready for an adventure.
We had read up on the Retro Quarter in Mojiko and a tasty looking pizza and craft beer restaurant, deciding this was our adventure winner. After a classic Hayman detour where we ended up in Moji not Mojiko (only ten minutes apart by bus luckily!) we found a top floor restaurant with a beautiful view over the Kanmon straights, looking back to Shimonoseki. A very quick drink there and it was time to explore further. Turns out it was a posh lobster restaurant, so they weren’t overly impressed with the pair who, around tea time, wanted to come in for a beer only and occupy the best seat. Three beer gulps later and we exited in a beer gas haze.
We walked around the Retro Quarter discovering old and new buildings that looked like they were modeled on Tudor designs. This would have been more a surprise if we hadn’t already done our research on Mojiko. Mojiko (which stands for Moji Port) has been an international trading port since the 19th Century, although now most goods have been located to a larger modern site, there is a still a small ferry connecting Shimonoseki in Honshu to Mojiko in Kyushu. It therefore has a history of welcoming foreign cultures and ideas. For example, the famous dish of the area is baked curry, also inspired by foreign influences. Dan sampled this popular dish later on in the evening and found that it had a great deal of spice in it! Unheard of for curry in Japan…
On our walk we discovered a moored ship that appeared to have turned into a party boat. Ahhoy, we climbed aboard and enjoyed a Budwiser! Well, Dan enjoyed it, I got a little seasick…But hey, living in rural Japan, we never thought that a mere fifty minutes away from our apartment there would be a party boat! We are not sure if it ever descends to full on party, and it seems to be more a sit down affair. Still, you can buy a t-shirt that when you take it off there is another man’s head on the inside so for a moment it looks like you are an old Japanese man. I know what I`m getting Dan for his 31st birthday…
After an enjoyable meal of baked curry, pizza and craft beer we charted a boat to take us home, for a mere ￥800 (about 6 pounds!). The ferry between the two towns is open to the public, but there were few people about on this slightly cold windy day. Thus, we had a boat all to ourselves. Fortunately, the driver wasn’t hanging about and took the waves on with no fear, so my seasick tendency didn’t have time to surface. Before we knew it we were back in Shimonoseki waiting for our bus. A mere 50 minutes from leaving the restaurant in Mojiko we were unlocking our apartment door in Ayaragi, Shimonoseki. It felt like we had been far from our country home.
The weekend was topped off by a further day of exploration on Sunday. We found the café that the cool guys hang out in, called Jet Café. We got to enjoy good fresh coffee, sitting up to a home-made table made out of a big cable wheel, whilst the guys around us (mostly in hats) smoked cigar like cigarettes. We felt suitably geekesque in our down jackets, but hey, we pull off the gaijin living in rural Japan look well. Lunch took us to a sushi bar where your food is delivered by electronic racing car…and the day was finished at our favourite place in Japan, The Beat Café. Here we got to watch another fantastic sunset and feel the privilege of living here again.