Friday, August 14, 2009

Minke and Eelco in Kobe

Kobe is Japan’s sixth largest city and the capital of Hyogo prefecture (where Yasu lives). Kobe is a port city and was one of the first cities to open for trade with other countries. These day it’s famous for being cosmopolitan, its Chinatown and the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.
First place we checked out was Chinatown, with it’s many interesting looking building and gates and with loads of interesting things for sale on stalls. Minke and Eelco bought a mountain of souvenirs for their friends at home there, and a few for themselves, like a Frosties bag for Eelco.
At the square in the center of Chinatown we found statues of all the Chinese zodiac animals, so of course we all had to take a picture with our zodiac signs. Minke is a Fire Snake, Yasu is a Water Boar, Eelco is a Water Ox and I’m a Metal Monkey!
Of course, Chinese food had to be eaten in Chinatown too, and we tried most of it, ramen, gyoza, dumplings, fried shrimp cake, flavored rice, pork burgers, almond jelly and best of all nikkuman! All that food in the burning sun made us thirsty so we got some drinks from the ¥100 Sangaria (Japanese beverage brand) vending machine, which inspired Eelco’s Sangaria dance (with two fingers in the air) which we had to keep on the dancing the rest of the day.
We paid a visit to Kobe’s Meriken park to learn more about the devastating earthquake of 1995 that killed so many people and destroyed most of Kobe. They have kind of a open air exhibition there with a small part of the harbor left untouched since the earthquake to show its effect.
We wanted to climb (by elevator) Kobe’s Port tower and enjoy the view, but it’s Obon so it was way too crowded. We had to skip it and instead we had fun taking pictures at some mosaic art bell tower and having drinks in Harborland.
Before going leaving Kobe, we took the Dutchies to the best ¥100 store I’ve ever seen in Japan, Seria in Harborland. I’ve been to many Serias, I used to live next to one in Inuyama and they’re always good, but this one is totally amazing! Of course we were way too busy shopping to take pictures!

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