Monday, October 10, 2011

Kobe: Day Two

My first full day in Kobe was action packed. We started the day off on a rather somber note. We went to a The Earthquake Museum in the middle of the city. I didn't know much about the earthquake - I was in the 5th grade when it happened and can safely say that my major concerns in life were along the lines of not freezing to death in an Illinois winter.

    What I didn't know, I learned pretty fast. On January 17, 1995 at 0546 there was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake.  In about 20 seconds, it completely devastated the city and the lives of its citizens. Over 6,000 people lost their lives. Since I've grown up primarily on the East Coast, I'm not that familiar with earthquakes. Japan has a lot of them. Okinawa has had a few since I've been here. I've never actually felt one, but I don't ever really want to.

    There isn't any photography allowed in the actual museum and, for the sake of my blog, I really wish there were. The beginning of the tour starts with a movie that was completely in Japanese. While I didn't understand all the dialogue, the video footage was overwhelming. After the video, we toured through and were happily greeted by tour guides eager to practice their English. We walked through rooms of relics and personal stories - able to read them with the help of a translator. The second half of the museum was my favorite. It detailed Kobe's efforts to rebuild and repair. We watched demonstrations of securing buildings through better framework and how the city came together during it's time of need. It was a very humbling, very moving museum.

We took a few pictures of the outside of the museum:

Our next stop was Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. You can't go to Japan and NOT have sake (Unless you're underage, I suppose.) and so it felt a little silly to be celebrating our anniversary, traveling through Japan, and NOT going to the Sake Brewery Museum.  It was fascinating to watch the steps involved in the making of sake and we did get free samples at the end! We ended up bringing a little sake home with us.

After the museum, we rested for a bit, enjoyed some dinner and then headed to the Port. The Port Tower was my favorite excursion. We rode the elevator up and enjoyed some AMAZING views of the city!


 The Port is hopping at nighttime! It's beautiful and full of interesting new foods, people, and things to see. My all time favorite thing was the giraffes. For about 200 yen, I fufilled my lifelong dream of riding a giraffe off into the sunset (err...around the outdoor shopping center) and have picture proof. I could go on and on about my love of all things giraffe, but I'd probably sound a lot like this guy.

What does a dream come true look like, you ask?

After a long, eventful day, we were so excited to head back to our hotel. Here's a few photographs from our walk back:

Another giraffe on the way back to the hotel. Kobe, I dig it.

How can you not fall a little bit in love with Kobe?

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