Feb 4, 2012

Hiking in Japan

Last night I went to a business dinner at a really nice Japanese-style German restaurant. I enjoyed some sushi, beef, schnitzel, and a ridiculous amount of Saki! Dinner was just so much fun! This was the first time I’ve had Saki and I enjoyed it. I’m constantly learning customs on this trip. When it comes to Saki, you never pour your own cup (cups are shot glass size) and when your carafe is finished, you lay it on its side. By the end of the night, there were carafes on their sides all over our table and many red-faced laughing people. Everyone had a great time!

Afterwards a few of us went out on the town and I didn’t make it back to my hotel until 4:00am! I woke up at 11:00am with a pounding headache and a smile on my face. I had a really great time last night. I enjoyed trying to communicate with people everywhere we went. I bought one fellow a beer and he then showed us to a few great bars. We laughed all night and well into the early morning hours.

Not wanting to waste the day sleeping in, I took a hot shower and hit the streets with my camera. There are some beautiful mountains to the north of Kobe. They stand out against the cityscape and have been calling to me since I arrived here. I bought a hot café au lait from a vending machine (you can buy hot cans of tea and coffee as well as cold cans of beer at vending machines on the street!) and then headed for the hills!

About a mile from downtown Kobe, I found a trail head and was soon in the woods. The trail was steep and well groomed. Steps lead the way to the summit where an observation tower stood. You’re not supposed to climb the tower and there’s a fence to keep you from doing so. I contemplated climbing it anyway, but then decided that it would be disrespectful to do so. The view from the mountain top was nothing short of amazing. Wispy snow fluttered down through the trees and I took some time to meditate in comfortable solitude. I only saw two other hikers while I was in the woods and we exchanged konichiwa’s and smiles as we passed.

After hiking down the mountain, I was pretty tired and very thirsty so I popped into a convenience store and bought a bottle of orange juice. I did a little shopping on the way back to my hotel and had lunch at a crepe stand owned and operated by a friendly married couple. After looking at the menu I picked what I thought was a pastrami and lettuce crepe. I was a bit surprised when the man handed me what I ordered. The bread had the texture of a waffle ice cream cone. The top layer was melted mozzarella with wasabi mayonnaise. The next was pastrami and iceberg lettuce, then came the shocker: noodles and spaghetti sauce! It was a little difficult to eat. It was almost as if they packed an entire days set of meals into one crepe. But it was good and only cost 450 Yen. I asked if I could take their picture and they were very happy to let me.


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

That camera takes excellent photographs! Looks like a successful trip on all accounts. Thanks for sharing.

phattire said...

RCT: Thanks! At risk of sounding cliche; it's not the camera!