May 6

Hakata Port to Busan

I left Sharely Style at about 5:55 AM and by the time I’d dealt with my trash, deposited my key and borrowed LAN cable, and wrestled all my bags onto myself, I left the building around 6:05. Walking just past Ijiri Station, I left the pocket wifi in the red Ijiri Station Post Office box, and a short walk back to the station left me plenty of time to load my Suica with ¥1000 more and wait for about ten minutes in the waiting room, where I got to sit!!!

(Sitting is a big deal when you are weighed down with heavy bags.)

The train for Nishitetsu-Fukuoka Tenjin station was almost empty, so it was easy to find a seat. Tenjin is the last stop for that train, so we all got off and I followed the signs for the north exit, stopping only to confirm directions. Past the ticket gates, I left the building, turned right, and there it was: Solaria Stage Mae 2A bus stop. I got to sit down again since the bench was empty, and when bus 90 came, I quickly got a seat again! Praise God. ;v;

We arrived at Hakata Port International Passenger Terminal a little after 7:00 (the last stop for the bus) and I immediately sat down inside to get my bearings and wait because although the building opens at 7, nothing inside the building opens until 7:30. Still, I noticed people already starting to queue for the Beetle check-in counter, so after a few more minutes, I got up and joined them. I was maybe the fourth or fifth person in line and it gradually queued up behind me.

I was concerned about my lack of e-ticket, and wasn’t sure about my confirmation number because I couldn’t find it online when I checked their website. I had my email pulled up with the confirmation number just in case I needed to prove it to them. But all she asked for was my passport. Reservation found! Yay! 

She asked me to pay ¥1200 for the port tax (I guess it’s the tax and fuel surcharge?) and then gave me the embarkation and customs forms to fill out. She also said to go to one of the ticket machines and buy a terminal use ticket (¥500 for adult ticket).

I bought one and then went to the SBJ currency exchange counter, where I exchanged ¥10000 for won. Then I headed to the second floor, where I sat down to fill out the forms. I wanted that part done so I wasn’t worried about it on the ferry. Just then, I noticed that there was a little pocket wifi booth set up literally right in front of me.

After filling out the forms, I left one of my bags in the queue line and asked about the pocket wifi. It turned out that it was specifically for use in Korea, and I could return it to the booth on my return ferry ride to Fukuoka. So no mailing! It was around ¥1800 (for some reason the guy didn’t give me a receipt so I don’t remember exactly) for three days of use.

I thanked the Lord! Before leaving, I already had pretty much all of my necessary to-dos taken care of!

As I was going through that process, the queue line left without me! I quickly picked up my bag, got my terminal use ticket stamped, boarding pass checked, and headed onwards.
Although departures is on that floor (2F), you have to go down again through another way (there are signs) to get to the Beetle boarding area. I left one bag in the queue line again and sat down. It wasn’t two minutes before boarding started (around 8:15) and off we went.

My window seat was on the second level right by the stairs—a female-only section–which was again a blessing because I was so tired of lugging my stuff and was happy to plop into the seat. I wrestled my backpack into the floor space in front of me, and put my shoulder bag and umbrella on the overhead rack. I wasn’t sure how full the Beetle would be, or if I would have a seat mate or not, so I wanted to be prepared.

Distracted by the discovery that the Beetle provides free wifi, I used it to text my mom, and suddenly I realized we were already pulling out of the port.

So my bags went into the seat next to me and I got some leg room. (Actually, I used the foot rests that pull down from the seat in front of you, which I think help to stabilize you somewhat; I definitely felt a little more stabile using it than when my feet were flat on the floor.)

Not too far into the journey, they started playing a video about the power of flowers. At first I thought it was a Korean movie with Japanese subtitles, but I’m really not sure because the on-screen text was Japanese and almost all the time, the picture matched the subtitles (in lip movements; I didn’t plug my headphones in to hear the audio lol). I was trying to not watch it because I didn’t entirely care, but the scenery out the window pretty quickly became nothing but water in the form of rain and sea, so in between texts and snacking and looking around, I half-paid attention to the movie.

It was about some guy that did ikebana for his superiors and others who wanted his services, and I think he taught the art form as well. He just sort of weirded me out because HE LOOKED LIKE SPOCK BUT SMILED THIS CRAZY HUGE SMILE THE WHOLE TIME. *shudders* One master (or teacher maybe) of his returned from a long journey and served him tea, and then this other guy who hated flowers and boring tea bowls and the success of this guy (apparently) killed him, and some others who were part of the ikebana class.

Then the main character rallied his peeps and went to this murderer guy and surprised him with an epic ikebana and talked to him about the beauty of flowers and mundane things and stuff and there was a happy ending.

Then they showed a live feed of a baseball game.

(I ate my kashiwa-mochi that I bought the day before.)

In any case, we arrived in Busan around 11:35 AM, and after piling all my stuff back on top of myself, I headed out, following signs and trying not to slip on the wet floor. First was immigration, where I they got my fingerprints and headshot photo (glasses off). Next was security, where I unloaded my bags onto the conveyor belt (minus water bottle, umbrella, and documents in my hand), and went through the metal detector.

It beeped and the staff just stared at me, attempting to use their X-Ray vision. After I lifted my shirt a bit to show my belt buckle, they let me through.

I had no issues with any of my luggage, so next I went to customs, handing them my customs paper, and they waved me on. Through the frosted glass exit doors lay the rest of the arrivals floor of the terminal, and I immediately found a seat and sat. XD

Notice the frosted glass doors.

It took a minute to get the pocket wifi working. With this model, you press down a button on the side, and then in three seconds, it turns on. The light indicators go crazy for a bit, and then it settles on the middle three: connectivity, power, and signal strength. What took a minute was my phone trying to find the thing. I was concerned for a bit, but thankfully it found the router and was able to connect!

The ceiling decorations were really interesting. And shiny.

After getting a map and a recommendation from the tourist information center behind where I was sitting, I decided to leave via bus since it was raining buckets. The lady said that all the buses were shuttle buses that would get me to my hotel, which was right next to Busan Station; I would just have to get off at the station.

The man standing outside the bus (which was more like a large van) confirmed that it would be going to the station, and held his umbrella over me as I got in. The fare was 1200 won upfront, which I gladly paid. Three Japanese got on as well, and not long after we got going, they announced a stop at the station, so we got off. The thing is, it was on the other side of the station, the back side.

My mom sent me this picture since she was helping me navigate from back home XD It looks so simple but once inside the station, I got so turned around… ^^;

So I took the elevator to the second floor, which was where everyone was getting off anyway, so it had to be right, and basically just kept walking straight. I kept stopping to check to see which direction I was headed via its little location indicator, and texting my mom who was looking up info for me. But at last, I met some stairs and went down.

Low and behold, Exit 1 was where I needed to go. I could see my hotel from inside, right across the street! So I popped my umbrella out and made my way there, dripping into the entryway.

So many people had used the umbrella bags that the remainder was shoved to the back and I cut my finger trying to get one. 😞 And then it kept falling off Dx (The bag, not my finger.)

Regardless, I successfully paid for my stay (again, all she asked for was my passport, even though I had my confirmation number ready) without bleeding on anything. She asked if I wanted them to hold my bags until check-in at 4 PM, but I said I would just be staying in the lobby, and sat down quietly at one of the only two tables in the room.

It was a little after 12 PM, so I had quite a wait, but between texting, working on some business stuff I hadn’t had a chance to, and snacking some more, the time passed pretty well. Of course, one of the first things I did was buy a bottle of water from the vending machine. (500 won)

One thing that surprised me (maybe it shouldn’t have) was the high amount of Chinese and Korean I heard the other guests in the lobby speaking. I mean, Korean is a given, but I only heard Japanese a few times (some from the people who had been on the bus with me), and English once. Being that Toyoko Inn is a Japanese hotel, I had expected a higher number of Japanese guests.

I even got to see the cleaning crew (mostly females; the one male had the same uniform, which I found interesting) come back from their shift–or maybe it was their lunch break.

Then I saw some people getting room keys from the front desk even though it wasn’t 4 yet, so about 3:30 I went up and asked, and she said that those people were club members, which makes sense. Half an hour later, I went back and this time, I successfully obtained a key!

The first order of business was filming a room tour, and then letting people know I had arrived safely. Next was dinner, which God had provided in advance thanks to my miscalculations last time I was at Aeon Max Value. I arrived in Busan with:

  • a partial bag of corn flakes
  • 100 ml bottle of olive oil
  • pink himalayan sea salt
  • one apple that I ate in the lobby
  • one container of peach yogurt
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seeds (from home)
  • seasoned nori (taken from Iki Island breakfast)
  • two containers of precooked rice
  • two bags of shredded cabbage/cole slaw mix
  • and one kashiwa mochi that I ate on the ferry

Also!! I realized that while I had considered Korea’s voltage and figured out that my devices would be fine, I didn’t think about needing a plug adapter. Thankfully, God had nudged me to buy that pocket wifi in Japan already, so I had a charger I could plug my phone into!!!

Unfortunately, my laptop was not going to work that way, so I just used the charge I had on it for major typing and used my phone for everything else–until I found a U.S.-compatible outlet hidden in the desk!!

Foreigners are able to get a tax refund, but I ended up not having the time to deal with it.

That evening, and the next day (Monday) had no obligations and no need to deal with anyone; I was able to just rest.

Praise the Lord. Everything went so smoothly today that I can honestly say it is 100% thanks to God. None of my traveling has gone that well!

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