SAGA Prefecture is just south of Fukuoka, so still in Northern Kyushu.
You can see they are still having trouble with definite and indefinite articles or no article at all. "Take an express around the Massachusetts"? I don't think so.
Waiting for and boarding a train is a pretty orderly affair, but….
…a little more chaotic, tho always polite, when getting off.
Refueling is always orderly, polite, thorough, and efficient…and fun watching.
As for paid parking? Well, find and empty spot. After the first twenty minutes, the retractable stoppers raise and the timers starts. When one returns, find the kiosk, enter the stall number, pay the charge, stoppers retract and off one can go.
When a sea coast area has lot of little islands, they are often called "the 99 islands of …" (or is that "a 99 islands of"...?
And of course fishing boats. These seemed in good condition, so probably are still making early morning runs, but over all it is a dying industry.
Up in the hills of Saga there still are pottery towns, such as Okawachiyama, usually associated with a larger transportation node in the valleys, in this case Imari, which gets all the fame.
Pottery is also a dying industry, so, in order to attract tourists to the mountain towns, old bridges get a decorative treatment...
…historic artifacts get refurbished and, in this case, water powered pestles endlessly crush the same mortar of clay.
The streets are tidy, as are...
…individual kiln's windows, or...
For those with limited time (before the tour bus departs for the next town), stores display products from many kilns.
And, for those with more time, offer clay to be pinched and played with.
But, when you go behind the main streets and see a shelf empty of LP gas tanks and being used as a bonsai plant shelf, one can guess production isn't what it used to be.
Hopefully is isn't as bad as it was for immigrant potters, mostly Korean, who came, voluntarily or otherwise, from the late 16th Century. Having no ancestral temple to be buried in, and no ancestors to tend their memorial stones, at some time they were piled together in this pyramid, topped by a Buddhist figurine.
Now for something new: a slideshow: sit back and watch, hit pause if you wish, go back or forward with the arrows.
Shopping arcade streets are common, but...
…open air ones, with traffic down the middle, are not. This one in Sasebo...
…provided daily food stuffs to the neighborhood. This lady has fresh quick fried items, such as, "Today's discount item, Heavenly Vegetable, five pieces for 400 yen ($4.00).
Next door, fresh vegetables.
A bakery of western inspired products.
Or a sushi shop, when lunch, or a snack, can be taken home, or...
…eaten right then and there.
And some times, laundry needs to be done in machines larger than the typical one at home.
No shortage of information on just how to use these machines!
Takeo is more known as a hot springs town, than a pottery one. A town with a long history of providing travelers accommodations, they used Chinese architectural elements (especially the red/orange colors) for the original inn.
And it became the town logo, used on everything, such as its utility covers (decorative covers are found all over Japan).
The inn features distinctively Chinese elements of the bowed roof with "temple bell" window above.
The hot tubs inside are no longer used, just on view to tourists.
But that's ok, since today's visitors often prefer to have their bath in their en-suite facility at the hotel.
What? Starbucks and Library on the same sign??
Not only a Starbucks, with indoor and outdoor seating, but a bookstore branch as well.
And of course books, magazines, tables and chairs.
Not only the library is up-to-date, but the barber shop is pretty much out of the tradition.
However, the owner's enthusiastic welcome, is not.
Darth Vader's hot springs holiday house?
And a hot topic: electrical production. The melt down at Fukushima has created another tsunami, this time of solar electric panel installations. Residences all over Japan have panels on their roofs, or having the installed, on western inspired houses, and...
…on traditional designed ones as well.