As soon as everyone finished beating up the security guards, we began to stroll to our next, improvised destination: China Town. Yes folks, there are only 3 Chinatowns in all of Japan and one of those just happens to be in Kobe. It is basically one long street with vendors peddling Chinese décor, food, and toys. Maybe a few fake brand name products if you look hard enough.
[ Side story: At the pub quiz (trivia event) a couple weeks ago, I pulled out a very sketchy looking chair wondering if it could hold my weight. This was a very tiny chair, much like one would find in a kindergarten classroom. I asked everyone, “You think I’m safe to sit in this chair?” Someone answered, “That depends, is it made in China or Japan?” I held my breath and sat in the chair. Nothing happened, the chair was fine. All at once, everyone answered “Japan…” hehe]
Every food vendor was selling the same meat buns, fried chicken, shaved ice, etc. I guess even in foreign countries, the Chinese restaurants still buy from the same company. We stopped midway to check out a random (I say random, because I had no clue there was event going on) performance in the main square. We stayed for about 5 minutes while 5 older women danced with fans. After our ears began to bleed from the annoying Chinese music, we moved on, envious of the deaf.
Close to Chinatown, is the Kobe Port. There is lots to do at Kobe Port. We first checked out the Earthquake memorial. A large earthquake wrecked Kobe Port in 1994 and decimated the local economy because imports and exports were halted as a result. A small piece of devastation has been left in its original shape in memorial of the disaster. Bent lampposts, cracked and uneven concrete, and other debris litter this small area.
Japan even put up some columns with pictures of the destruction and snippets of history about its effects. A small video played nearby with clips from the local news stories 15 years ago. It was actually kind of a humbling experience.
As the sun went down, the lights came on. Port Tower looked gorgeous at night. The colors are constantly changing so it looks really cool. In the distance, one of the Nara JETs noticed more light across the bay. There was a small theme park across the bay, a sight that made everyone very excited. When we arrived at the theme park, we saw motorcycle-sized furry, robotic animals ripe for riding. For 200 yen, each of us hopped on top of them and battled at 1 mph. Imagine: a group of gaijin (foreigners) riding robotic large animals toward each other yelling “CHARGE!!!” We don’t attract attention, we DEMAND it. We also rode the Ferris Wheel, which, by the way, is not much fun. Ferris Wheels are lame. The view of Kobe from the top of Mt. Roko was way better.
For dinner, we ate at a Hawaiian restaurant owned by a friend of one of the Nara JETs (he did a study abroad, so he knows people). The dinner was AMAZING! I ate teriyaki loco moco which is: A beef steak over rice covered in teriyaki sauce, served with homemade potato salad and normal salad. I ate everything and even asked the chef for more potato salad. Yum! The owner also makes peanut butter ice cream in house so that was a real treat too. . The owner even taught me a song on the ukulele. I can now play 2 songs on the “uke.” Awesome. The best part? It was about 3500 yen ($35) cheaper than the Kobe Beef place.
This concludes Part 3 of my adventures in Kobe. I hope you enjoyed. I’ll try not to break up the posts in the future, but this was a big one.