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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Disneyland of Food



A couple of weeks ago, we took some of our students to Costco in Fukuoka. My mom and the dogs came along for the ride. We piled into three vehicles and Miyuki was in the lead car. She knew how to get there. She did a great job of getting us there and back safely. Thank you Miyuki! We let Noriko in the lead car use one of our cell phones. English was the only requirement for using the phone. On the way to Fukuoka, I received a call from Noriko, asking that we pass their vehicle. I was puzzled as to why they wanted us to lead. The traffic was heavy and we were afraid to change lanes. I quickly handed the phone to Erika for clarification. Yep, sure enough, they wanted us to pass them. Miyuki wanted us pass safely so that we would end up in the correct lane while she blocked traffic…pretty clever thinking on her part.

Fukuoka is a two hour drive from Tsukahara. There are many full service rest areas along the highway. The roundtrip cost to drive on the highway from Yufuin to Fukuoka is about 5000 yen. Considering it would have taken a lot longer on the smaller side roads, it was worth it. The speed limit on the highway is 80kph, but I think the posted speed limit is a mere suggestion. Most of the cars were flying past us. I finally figured out why some Japanese own very expensive sports cars. They like to drive fast on the highways. We were passed by a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsches, BMW’s, Jaguar and a Maserati just to name a few. I often see cars like these in Tsukahara, but I couldn’t figure out why. The top speed on our country roads is 60kph. Why would anyone need a car like that to drive so slow? Now, I know the answer.



The highlight for the students was a chance to eat a Costco pizza. I had a couple of slices, but I satisfied my craving for junk food with a couple of foot-long hotdogs smothered in ketchup, mustard, and relish…yummmmm. The general impression was that Costco was huge, they had a lot of stuff, and the stuff they had was big. I guess that sums it up. Even the carts were huge. Judging from what I saw at the check-out lines, people visited Costco for the experience rather than actually buying a bunch of things. I saw many carts with just a couple of items. It was interesting to see the long lines of people patiently waiting to taste free samples. Each person would take only one sample knowing that the person behind them had been patiently waiting in line also. In the U.S., it’s not that uncommon for someone to eat all of the samples and leave nothing for everyone else.



The parking lot was filled to capacity. I glanced at the license plates and I was amazed at how far people traveled to come to this store. Erika reminded me that only two Costco warehouses exist in Kyushu. “A Disneyland of food,” is how I described Costco to the students before they traveled to Fukuoka. After the trip, I concluded that Costco is like a taste of America without the hassle and cost of jumping on an airplane. I hope our students came away with that impression too.     George

2 comments:

  1. Hi, George san. Thank you. I’m flattered. I had really interesting time. I hope to go to Costco together again!

    ReplyDelete