Sunday, July 03, 2005

Half way...

Officially half way through our trip now. I actually didn’t feel like writing when I first got on the Shinkansen to Tokyo, but I suddenly got a bit of inspiration while listening to some (rather unlikely) music. So instead of all those lazy picture posts lately I’m going to actually write something.

I was staring out the window at the rather gloomy looking scenery speeding past when I actually thought about the lyrics of the song I was listening to… You see, in the last two days I’ve managed to catch up with two good friends I met last year during my exchange: Satoshi yesterday and today, Sohei. And I was sort of thinking it might be quite a while before I will see either of them again for quite a while. Both of them live in Kansai at the moment, and for the rest of my trip I’m going to be in Kantou (where Tokyo is). The song I was (am) listening to was ‘Summer Rain’ (the remake by Slinkee Minx; go listen to it if you haven’t heard it). Which I always thought had kind of silly lyrics. I mean, how often does it rain in summer in Australia?

‘Whispering our goodbyes waiting for a train,
I was dancing with my baby in the summer rain.
I can hear him saying “nothing will change, come dance with me baby in the summer rain.”
I remember the rain on our skin;
And its kiss is harder than the sand and the wind.
Whispering our goodbyes waiting for a train;
I was dancing with my baby, in the summer rain.
I remember laughing till we almost cried there at the station that night; I remember looking in his eyes…

Oh my love, it’s you that I dream of;
Oh my love, since that day.
Somewhere in my heart I’m always dancing with you in the summer rain.
Doesn’t matter what I do now, doesn’t matter what I say.
Somewhere in my heart I’m always, dancing with you in the summer rain.’

But today listening to the words suddenly brought a smile to my face. Not only had I just hopped on a train after having to say goodbye, it is summer here in Japan at the moment, and it’s been raining plenty too. While perhaps I’m taking the lyrics a little out of context here, I thought they seemed to hit pretty close to the mark. It was sad to have to say goodbye again but then it was so much better than to never have had the chance to meet up again at all.

Anyway what did we get up to today? We actually got up and were ready to leave the hostel right on schedule this morning. We even had time to leave a couple of photos for the hostel people to put up on the wall as memories of us ^^. Oh and by the way Asli, I requested for them to be put up next to your photo there hehe.

We (naturally) got to Shin-Osaka station on time after hopping on the 9.21 Shinkansen from Kyoto and met up with Sohei there. After a bit of deliberation we decided that we’d spend some more time in Kobe since we didn’t get that much of a chance to see it yesterday (we went by ourselves for about an hour or two after Osaka). The city has a really comfortable sort of feeling. It’s sort of similar to Yokohama – and as Soehei pointed out, that’s not so surprising since their histories are quite similar in the sense that they both began as port cities and are kind of auxiliary to a larger nearby town. We walked through Kobe’s China town down to the harbour, which probably wasn’t as pretty as it would have been were it not raining… In China town we got to try some really nice 肉まん (like Japanese char-siew bao kind of thing) from a famous store down there. I guess because it was raining there wasn’t even much of a line outside today. Sohei also stopped to get some bubble-tea (which seems only to be sold in China towns in Japan and not anywhere else). I think Japanese pearls are somehow stuffed up because everytime someone has bubble tea the straw gets fully clogged up with them… ^^

Inside the shopping malls around the harbour things were as normal though. Kobe is known for two things when it comes to food: Kobe Beef (which is especially tender) and its wide range of tasty international cuisine. We originally thought we’d try the beef but it’s quite expensive (around AUD$100 per head for regular sized sets) so we ended up having something ‘international’. At least the name of the restaurant sounded international. The actual food was kind of rather Japanese, but good none the less. Was an オムライス place (‘omelet-rice’ = rice wrapped in an omelet with various sauces and toppings). I had some sort of seafood tomato sauce mix with cheese; Sohei had white sauce thing; and Mel had a ‘grattin’ (which is apparently a French omelet cheese thing). My lunch set came with a drink too which I rather unfortunately added the entire cup of syrup to, making it almost unbearably sweet. After adding a cup of water and letting most of the ice melt it was okay though…

After lunch we wondered through the northern part of Kobe as well as 異人街 (foreigner town) which is where there are a lot of European style buildings/houses and restaurants. There wasn’t really enough time to do more than walk by but it was definitely worth the walk through the rain for the break from the concrete and neon lights of most Japanese cities…

Anyway tonight I’m not quite sure what we are planning to do since I haven’t been in contact with the Tokyo bunch but I will soon find out… Till then, take care all.

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