Going through our photos from Fukuoka, I discovered there weren’t many that didn’t someway involve Canal City. The rest of the city wasn’t really that photogenic.
Here in Fukuoka we’re staying at the Grand Hyatt (strictly in honour of our anniversary; we can’t afford three weeks of it), which adjoins Canal City. Canal City is a shopping mall such as only the Japanese can create: flamboyant, luxurious and bewildering. Instead of an information desk, information robots (infobots?) patrol the centre, automatically stopping and entering info mode if you walk up to them. A series of fountains rising out of the canal (which flows through the centre of the arcade) does a choreographed routine to music every hour on the hour: on our first day we were present entirely by accident when ABBA started playing.
I think it’d be fair to say that Iron Chef had quite a bit of influence on our decision to travel to Japan. After seeing some of the amazing (and strange) creations on the show, the idea of eating some of this food ourselves was rather appealing.