Christmas time is a funny time of the year. Yes, I say funny. My own family does not celebrate it. Not in recently year at the very last. Growing up in an Asian family with hardworking parents, you end up working along with this. The so-called celebration for me was generally at the family restaurant and meals eaten not at a table but a fridge top. On a handful of years, my family had gone to a Christmas buffet at a restaurant down the Gold Coast. But, this year, I celebrated Christmas and New Years in Japan. It isn’t the first time I spent such occasions in Japan; but a crucial difference is I managed to spend it with some goof folks I’ve met on the JET programme, A and I.
We spent a few days in Kobe followed by Osaka. It was my first time visiting Kobe and some of our Brisbane JET friends allowed us to stay at their apartment. My first impression of Kobe wasn’t much, but as the day went on, I learnt to realise that Kobe is one lovely little town. It is very close to other well-known towns like Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. All these towns are within a reach of a couple of hours train ride.
In Kobe, friends and I visited Kobe China, Sannomiya area, Herbs Garden and Mount Rokko. Herb Garden is a rather gem of a discovery on a hill close to the Shin-Kobe Station. It has a bit of a European touch and a focus on herbs and fragrances as such. You take a rope-car up to the garden and you may choose to walk down or take a round trip back down. At the last stop is where you reach the herb garden. Walking down the hill you see an atrium which is filled with all sort of plants and flowers. It is quite a romantic walk and very all catered for it, because there are stands where you can put your camera or iPhone on the stand to take photos without the need to bother others about. As you walk through the atrium, you head towards an outlook area which allows you to see a breathtaking view of Kobe. You can also walk to a little bell that you are lead to by following a path off the outlook, which is actually a bell to be rang by couples. Yes very sweet indeed. Other parts of Kobe didn’t fail to please. On our last day in Kobe, we went and visited the Port of Kobe and saw Kobe Chinatown. As it turns out, I quite liked Kobe Chinatown and even was game enough to try the Peking Duck here.
Straight after Kobe, we headed out to Osaka. It was one straight train ride and a minor transit and we moved from a friend’s apartment to a hostel near Imamiya Station. I had already visited Osaka while we were staying in Kobe and we headed to Universal Studio Japan but we didn’t explore around Osaka. Spectacular time where A and myself wore our Christmas sweater. We got to experience the infamous Harry Potter attraction and the ride was amazing. I would recommend it to anyone.
During our stay in Osaka, we managed to explore more of Osaka. I had visited Osaka before, but during this trip, we headed out to places that I had never seen before. We went to Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium and Dontonburi. Osaka Castle was nice but too bad we didn’t get to go in and it wasn’t as big as Nagoya Castle. At the Aquarium, like all aquariums, we see all types of fish; but to top this off, we went on a Ferris Wheel and managed to pat some cute pets. Before I headed to Osaka, lots of people told me that Osaka has lots of nice people, but, surprisingly,I didn’t quite like the people there. The owner of the hostel was rather kind, but weirdly, people in Osaka I found to be rather unkind. Also, I think they got it wrong with standing on the right hand side of the escalator. I had visited Osaka before and found it quite enjoyable even though it was a short stay; but perhaps when you live in the country itself, you discover more of the inside outs.
But no matter where you go, if you can travel with good company, it makes the adventure quite a precious. Thanks to I’s hilarious jokes and A’s crazy snoring, it make this trip for me a very delightful one no doubt. Feeling very grateful to have such good folks to travel with. Unfortunately like all things, good times end and I headed back to Tokyo before the new year. I will be heading to Shibuya tomorrow to welcome the new year. Stay tuned for more updates on that experience. I did take a few lovely shots over this trip. I also started my new instagram (thelittleme01) over this holiday as well. Inspired by my friend A – Thank you :).
More pictures of my adventures here!