Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kobe, Side Trip

Typical countryside as the train neared Osaka.

Today I headed on a side-trip to Kobe, mostly to see a school there where I had a teaching contact. I ended up buying a ticket the night before and then going directly to the train platform to wait for my train to arrive.

The view from my train seat as we passed through Kanazawa's outer suburbs.

The train wasn’t even 20% full, and although I had a reserved seat, in fact I had my choice of wherever I cared to sit.

I basically scooted from one side of the train car to the other, depending on which one offered the prettier view.

I wasn’t expecting to see so much countryside – farms in the beginning, and then small collections of fishing villages as we neared Osaka Station (where I had to change trains to go to Kobe).

As usual, once I arrived (one station too early, unfortunately, which meant dragging my luggage for about 2 km through the streets and a covered mall) I had to wait for the hotel’s 3 p.m. check-in time, so I decided to grab a quick ramen down an alley off the street where my hotel was located.

Sparked by a memory of char-siu ramen in Hawaii, I ordered a medium-sized bowl of ramen with red miso, onions, seaweed, and char-siu.

The broth was creamy but light, and the char-siu, which looked mostly like fat, dissolved on my tongue the way that expensive chocolates might. It was a bit rich in the end, but absolutely worth the ¥650 ($7.60) it cost.

Shortly after lunch, a quick stop for coffee, I was able to check into my room, where I fairly collapsed for an hour, dipping in and out of sleep between sumo matches on TV.

As you can see if you scroll down from the first sumo shot, this match didn't last long -- only long enough for one guy to lunge at the other, miss (whoops), and land on his face.

Aside from taking a walk around the area where I was staying, and grabbing a shower at some point, I didn’t do much with the remainder of my day. I did, however, walk down the street and ordered a kind of dinner bento (¥900/$10.52) and beer from a machine at the restaurant’s entrance. (Basically, you press a button with the name of the meal you want, put in however much money it costs, then take the ticket it coughs out and hand it to a waitress, who proceeds to bring your meal to your table.)

Again, I wasn’t very hungry, and it was all I could do to finish my meal.

What do we have here? There are boiled veggies, mackerel, pork tonkatsu, cabbage, a small salad, oysters with bok choy, and tofu with bonito flakes. Oh, and miso soup, all-you-can-eat rice, and a glass of draft beer.

After that I walked around the back streets some, then came home to nurse my aching stomach and get some work done. I know, it wasn't an exciting day from a blogging standpoint, but I did get to enjoy a nice train ride through the countryside and ate pretty well along the way...

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1 comment:

  1. looking at your blog this past days makes me miss japan more and more everyday . i am so jealous.