I arrived in Kobe on the morning of December 30th and was met by my friend from college, Nori, and his friend from his English class that wanted to meet me and practice English. Despite the rainy and cold weather, they gave me a whirlwind tour of the city. The first stop we made was the Disaster Reduction Museum, a museum dedicated to remembering the Kobe earthquake that struck in 1995 and preventing the same destruction from happening again by educating people about disaster preparedness. The museum was one of the highlights of this trip to Japan and a must see for anyone who stops by Kobe. Unfortunately, I couldn't take photos inside the museum, so I don't have anything to show here.
After the museum, we went to Chinatown for lunch. Since Kobe is a port city at some point a Chinese population was established here, but today it's more touristy and Japanese style Chinese food. But, anyway, it was fun to try and interesting to look around.
Nori's friend knew this woman serving up dumplings, so we popped into this restaurant for lunch.
Noodles, steamed buns, soup filled dumplings ... mmm....
Not Puma, but Pork and Panda.
From there we headed over to the waterfront area. We walked through Kobe Harborland, which is a fairly large shopping and entertainment complex complete with a small amusement park. While it's not really my thing, it was really nice to see the waterfront.
Nori here is trying hard to win one of those little Rillakuma thingamabobs... 200 yen later and nothing...
We were tired of walking around, so we stopped at a funny little "American" themed cafe for a cup of coffee (and tea for me). It was full of Southwestern Native American style prints and jewelery but it was cute. And, the thing that was most fun was the waitress who brought us some books to peruse while we sat around and relaxed. Here, Nori is reading our horoscopes and giving us insight into our nature.
From there it was on to eating Kobe beef, but I'll leave that for the next post.