Having been here over a month now I felt as though I had seen the major tourist attractions of Kobe. I was feeling ready to explore more of the Kansai region. My first adventure took me to Osaka. I had heard great things about Osaka in terms of its nightlife so I was excited when a colleague said she wanted to go there for her birthday.
Shinsaibashi (the main strip in Osaka) was full of neon lights and what felt like millions of people. I felt like I was on the main strip in Phuket ( but less seedy) and only then did I realise how laid back Kobe was. I’d love to say that the night was debauched and I had my first encounter of missing the last train and spending the night in a karaoke box but it was in my eyes very civilised.
We ate kushikatsu which is renowned in Osaka, it’s basically fried food on a stick that is dipped in a communal bowl of sauce. They literally deep fry everything: ginger, , egg, beef, chicken, fish and cheese, the list was endless. The most important rule is ‘NO DOUBLE DIPPING!’ It’s highly frowned upon and unfortunately one of the women we were with forgot!!
After filling our arteries with fat we went to a few bars, I still can’t get over the fact you can smoke inside so I didn’t have the best time. One of the bars was called ‘The Drunken Clam’ and had English style karaoke but I didn’t participate. I desperately wanted an espresso martini to revive my energy but it was literally impossible to find a place that would make them. I’m still on a quest and I’m hoping that I can find a bar in Kobe.
As if I couldn’t get enough of the bright neon lights and hoards of people I went back to Osaka the following day and sampled another of its infamous dishes ‘okonomiyaki’ which is a savoury pancake topped with a variety of sauces and fish flakes. It was lush! I didn’t realise that Sunday is also the only real ‘day off’ people have so it was busier than a Saturday night!
My second adventure took me to Japan’s first permanent capital – Nara. It was a bit of a journey to get there but it was worth it. I was pre- warned about the deer in the park so I was excited about being able to get up close and interact with them. As well as the deer the park has temples which you can also view and look around. I’ve come to realise I’m not that interested in the temples. I appreciate the architecture and if a ceremony was occurring I would love to be able to sit and observe but personally I’m not that interested in looking around.
The highlight of my time in Nara was feeding the deer and the landscape of the park. I bought deer crackers to feed them and although the deer were a little intimidating at first it was fun despite one deer biting my bottom!
It began to snow whilst I was there and it was so pretty. As cold as it was (and I’m still getting used to it being freezing) the delicate drops of snow falling on the trees made the park seem magical.