Friday, January 8, 2010
A quick stop in Kobe
After the picturesque bizarroland that was Hakuba, we headed for somewhere a little more metropolitan, and in fact one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Japan, Kobe. Kobe was one of the first cities in Japan to allow foreigners into the country after the Edo period and is a major port city, so the population, architecture and food are pretty diverse, as you can imagine.
We pretty much instantly loved Kobe. Everything seems really central, there's a beautiful waterfront on one side and hills on the other, and the streets are dotted with cool sculptures. Basically it's a bit like Wellington, except with more ramen shops and karaoke bars.
The main catalyst for our trip to this particular city, as with Hakuba, was for hang-outs and catch-ups, this time time with our good pal Darlene, who moved to Japan a couple of months after us.
First on the sight-seeing agenda was a trip down to the waterfront, but on our way there, Darlene took us through a big The Warehouse-like department store for a bit of a look around. The crazy thing is they have a whole pet section at the back with heaps of really quite exotic animals! Sadly, they're caged up in pretty cramped conditions, so it was a bit bleak, but check out the beautiful big owl, and the freakin' iguana!
Once we made it to the waterfront, we decided to take a little cruise around the harbour, and due to a spot of luck, we managed to time it right for a lovely, hazy sunset. Nice one, team!
I took over the controls for a while and made sure we were on course and ship shape (not really).
Later we explored Kobe's Chinatown area, and ate a pretty delicious Chinese dinner, followed by cute, panda-shaped anman (steamed red bean bun) for dessert. Kawaii!
Later still we found a nice little lounge bar called Radio Days and drank cocktails and listened to smooth jazz. I swear I had a much manlier drink before these ones came in, but look at the lil' garnishes on these guys. Kawaii!
And, of course, it wouldn't be hangouts with Darlene without some House of the Dead shoot-em-up action.