We took the red-eye flight to Fukuoka tonight, which departed at 1:20 in the morning. Most of the Cheng Ballet students who were going to Japan for these ballet competitions were in this flight, so we bumped into many of Aina’s friend while walking around Changi Airport.
Ari came along with us to see us off, and left to go back home before midnight. Aina was a bit sad to leave her dad behind. This was not her first time traveling without her dad, but a bit teary-eyed drama seems to be the routine when traveling sans dad.
This was our first time traveling for ballet competition outside of Singapore, so packing for it was very different than our usual holiday packing. There were costumes, a tutu bag and a tiara box to be hand-carried because they were too fragile and delicate to be put in the baggage. And also, we can’t afford to lose them, especially when it was only a few days before the competition! We had to bring shoes (soft and pointe) and leotards in our hand-carry too, just in case the baggage got lost or arrived late. So, on this trip, we had 1 extra hand-carry luggage to take compared to our normal holiday set-up.
We landed in Fukuoka around 8:15am. Sophie’s family, Shi Ying’s family and ours were the last ones coming out of custom, I guess because we were not Japanese, we were held up at the long line of the immigration. Once I got out, I picked up my wifi modem and was ready to go. Fukuoka Internation Airport is very tiny, so it was easy to find the pick up place for the wifi.
After everyone had gathered, we were rounded up and boarded 2 minivans, heading to the the Residential Suite Fukuoka, the hotel/serviced apartment that we would be staying in for the next 5 days. Since the check-in time was at 3PM, it was decided that we would drop off the luggages and take the taxi to the Tenjin area to do some ballet shopping, led by Mr. and Mrs. Cheng!
But before going shopping, we stopped by Kego Shrine to pray. Kego Shrine is located in the middle of Tenjin, which is pretty much the center of business and shopping district in Fukuoka. So, it was very convenient to visit.
Aina also bought an omamori (a lucky charm sold in shrines and temples in Japan) for competitions/exams and a fortune reading in a shape of a boar, her chinese zodiac.
After praying, we went to a nearby mall called Solaria Plaza and had our lunch there. On the 7th floor, there were various restaurants which were quite affordable. We chose to have some don lunch sets with the kids.
After lunch, we all met up again and took off for some ballet shopping.
First stop was the Chacott store. The store is huge! Three floors of ballet and gymnastics stuff. Everyone seemed to be going crazy, because there is nothing like this in Singapore. Some of us didn’t bring the things we needed for the competition, so they had to buy them here in Fukuoka. Kotomi got her body foundation confiscated at the Changi Airport, because the bottle was more than 100ml, so she had to buy another bottle. Others, including Aina, took this opportunity to do some pointe-shoe-fitting. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for me?), she couldnt’ find anything that she liked.
After Chacott, we stopped by Sylvia which was a few blocks away. The store was much smaller than Chacott, but they sell brands other than Sylvia, so it felt more complete. And they also had so many cute little trinkets, too! However, it seemed that I was allergic to something in the store. I kept sneezing and my eyes got so watery that people thought I was crying. Since I couldn’t stay inside the store for too long, we ended up not getting anything.
After all that shopping, it was finally 3PM, which meant it was time to check in to the hotel. We all went back to the hotel, and got into our rooms… which was HUGE! I have never stayed in a hotel room this big in Japan! I guess since this hotel is actually a service apartment, the room was much bigger than the normal hotel rooms. Not only it was spacious, it had a kitchen and a bath with washing machine!
We were exhausted after the flight and the shopping with no breaks inbetween, so by the time we got to our room, we immediately fell asleep… and didn’t wake up until 7pm! Oh no! I forgot all about dinner!
Aina was still sleeping, so I messaged Hui Lin, Shi Ying mom, and we both went to the grocery store (yep, there was a fancy grocery store next to the hotel! How convenient!), and grabbed some dinner there.
After a short facetime call with Ari, we went back to bed… what a long day!