The Kobe Journey

[Photos are all taken by me and edited by me]

I didn’t think I would like Kobe that much. I didn’t even put it as a priority on my itinerary. All I know was, “Ok, Let’s put Kyoto on the itinerary so Mom will be happy” and everyone kept on saying “You’ve lived in in Japan for more than a year now and you haven’t checked out Kyoto?”. I’m sorry.

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So I did go to Kyoto. And it was everything that everyone had said. It was beautiful, mesmerizing. It was crowded. My vision was 40% people walking in their rented kimonos and 60% the exhilarating temples, the colors, a feast for the eyes. 10000000 Torii Gates out of 10 I would go there again.

Ok, so Kobe.

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The contour of the roads were up and down, very hilly. My mom took a photo of a medium-sized street art (ok, there’s me in it too). These all reminded me of San Francisco.

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I prayed at the Kobe Mosque and walked around the area, found two American kids in their halloween costumes, then another foreigner bringing a dog inside a cafe.

(very. rare. in. Japan. at. least. in. Tokyo.)

“Where Am I?”

The feeling or the “kanji” as Japanese would say, is very… foreign. It didn’t feel like Japan!

I walked along Kitano-cho, Kobe’s European District. The houses were all designed in European styles. Each house having its own history. And one turned into a… Starbucks.

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This is slowly turning into a list of how Kobe didn’t feel like Japan… but I guess we’re doing that.

The number of outdoor seating in cafes were a surprising amount too. I saw a French woman smoking at a terrace of a cafe, with her Japanese friend.

I don’t see a lot of that in Tokyo. Both the terrace and the smoking. Outdoor seating in Tokyo are tiny chairs that don’t fit my buttocks and smoking? You have small smoking areas, alleyways, and Shin-Okubo and… Shibuya at night for that.

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I ended my Kobe journey near the Kobe Port Tower. The parking building near the Mosaic Shopping Mall had “PARKING” in English Alphabet instead of a Katakana text. And wow, a parking building? You don’t see that a lot here in Tokyo.

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I don’t know what to take from this writing. I didn’t spend enough time in Kobe to know everything about it. The history of the city itself, the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. I do want to learn more. The notes above were somewhat like footnotes in my head during the day I went to Kobe. I didn’t even write about going to Kobe’s Chinatown and eating the ever glorious Kobe Beef. But yes, I also did all that.

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I went back to Tokyo a few days afterwards. For a second I had a thought of “With the joy I felt in Kobe, would I like to go back to Tokyo?”. But I was welcomed by a beautiful sunset in Shinjuku, the sun setting near the Yodobashi Camera building. I took a photo of it too. Is it asking me to stay? I really don’t know.

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