Or maybe I should title this ... Wandering, Eating and Drinking in Kobe ...
Yesterday morning I met Rose, a colleague from the GBP and now a good friend, for a wander around Kobe. We met at our favorite coffee house near the ShinKobe Shinkansen station. We had happened in to this place two years ago and discovered they offered "big size" drinks with a free simple breakfast (an egg and toast). I was sitting so that I saw the waiter approaching and when we saw the size of them I started to laugh. Then Rose saw what I saw and the two of us chortled for a long time. The mugs probably held at least quart of liquid, or about a liter for you metric people. It was only fitting that when we got together this trip, we should start at the Big Size Coffee house. But this time we were prepared and asked the waiter for the English menu specifically so we could take pictures.
After our "big size" breakfast we walked to the Sannomiya Station area. Along the way I learned that Kobe's official flower is the hydrangea, and along the major street called "Flower Road" there were a many, many flower boxes with ornate designs on the sides. Many of them were being cleaned up and replanted as we walked by. And like most cities Kobe is tearing down and rebuilding. An open square near the station, which was the site of an interesting Yuki Shintani sculpture, is going to be rebuilt with a tall building. Don't know what's going to happen to the sculpture but I liked the fact that the construction worker saw me taking the picture and stood there and "posed" for me.
Next was our trip to the UCC coffee company. I don't associate coffee with Japan ... only green tea ... but coffee has been big in Japan since the Edo period. There's a museum at the company with a lot of interesting information about coffee but the best part was having a chance to roast our own beans. Fun. Similar to making Jiffy Pop.
Despite the injection of caffeine, by this point in the day, I was tired and damp. It has been raining here steadily since I arrived so it was back to the hotel for a rest before heading out to dinner in search of a yakitori place I had discovered two years ago. There are lots and lots of restaurants along and under the many railroad lines in Japan. They offer good food at very reasonable prices. Friends and I were out in search of dinner and had ventured down a narrow alley and into a place frequented by business men in blue suits. And so it was this time too ... but again ... lots of delicious yakitori (and why don't we have good yakitori places in the US?) at a very reasonable price.
So no deep thoughts today ... just a full stomach and good memories of a great day.