Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kansai, Ojamashimasu. [Part 1]

Note: "Ojamashimasu" is what Japanese people customarily say when entering someone's home. Try it.

        So a lot of people have responded enthusiastically to my photos of Kansai that I released on Facebook. This is the push I needed to come out with this post quickly  - before the trip becomes too distant of a memory. Thanks, guys.
To keep things in attractive chunks, this update is the first of a trilogy! Enjoy! 

3 Locations In 3 Days
Day 1: Kobe
          Kobe is a city known for its expensive beef and its historically significant ports. I didn't get to experience the beef part unfortunately, but I did get to embrace the portcity aspect. The first site I visited right after leaving Kansai International Airport was the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge . It is otherwise called the Pearl Bridge, but this makes no sense unless you visit at night when the 2000 bulbs light up like a string of tinted pearls.  TIP: I would recommend checking out the bridge twice on your Kansai vacation - during the day and during the night - because the daytime is good time to take pictures on the deck and to learn about the bridge. I'll spare you the information you can just read on Wikipedia and tell you the most interesting fact about the bridge off the top of my head: the bridge was literally stretched 1 meter by the Great Hanshin Earthquake of '95. Other than that, there were no damages. Now, imagine that. 

          The next stop was to Kobe Harborland. This place is like Bangkok's Asiatique or a smaller version of San Fran's Fisherman's Wharf. Again a great place to take nautical pictures. But this time, also a great place to dine and shop, adding even more photo opportunities. In my opinion, it is an ideal place for a date. There are purposely placed romantic landmarks you can take pictures with or just admire together. There's an array of vintage stores to explore. You can even opt for a ferry ride or view all of Kobe from the top of a ferris wheel. 
          TIP: If you have an analog camera, such as a polaroid, don't miss the opportunity to use it here! Vintage photography for a vintage backdrop.

Furniture or art?
Complimentary fortunes. These were very comprehensive btw. 
In case you don't know how.

          After 2 port attractions, it was time for a change of scenery. In the afternoon, a bus took us up to the highest peak in Kobe, Mt. Rokko. The best thing I can say about this experience, given the time of day and season, is that the wind was perfectly cool. Add a can of honey latte - purchasable via vending machine at the rest spot at the peak - and you get a fine moment to reflect on your day. TIP: come here during autumn.

The Honey Latte, there you go.
Not photoshopped. Even if you tried, you couldn't find a single withered leaf or petal.

          I actually spent the evening not in Kobe, but in Osaka, since I would be staying at a Universal Studios hotel (which would turn out to be the most convenient arrangement one could imagine). For me, the evening was more of a chance to map out Osaka for the next day than to fully explore it. So I'll save the meat of my adventures in Osaka for the next post. I will however leave you with one experience of Osaka I had that night: trying out a McDonalds. I have this hobby for checking out the McDonalds of every country I visit, just to compare tastes. I convinced my dad (my travel buddy on this trip) to join me for a McDonalds dinner that night, and here's what we ordered: 

Left: chicken. Right: shrimp. Very satisfying.



  1. Looks like a really interesting trip. And professional pictures, too! (Does the Shaking Hand machine just teaches you how to...shake hands? Also what does your fortune say? :) )

    1. Haha, the Shaking Hands thing was some kind of interactive modern art... I think. My fortune was actually really good. Apparently I got the "highest luck" card... Hoping it all comes true then. It comments on the major aspects of your life, suggesting what to move towards, what to stay away from.