The check-in time came and we went to the hotel.
We were staying at the Kitanosaka Hotel. I arranged for the hotel because it’s not very expensive. The room rate including breakfast was only 6300 yen. I thought that it would be enough for us just to have a place to sleep and I didn’t expect much, but Kitanosaka Hotel was clean and comfortable. Beside that, the bed in the room was a double bed although I reserved two single rooms. I was lucky.
After we checked in, we continued sightseeing and went to the Kitano area. Kitano is a famous tourist site in Kobe. There are many Western style residencies built for Westerners in Japan in the Meiji period in this area. You can enjoy a beautiful cityscape there.
However, for otakus like us, there was another enjoyment.
In “Rhine-no-Yakata” Haide-san said;
“Wonderfull! This is just as if we were in Joster’s mansion!”
(Jonathan Joester is the protagonist of Jojo part 1. His father, George Joestar is a British Nobe. The part 1 story is set in Victorian England.
Strictly speaking, “Rhine-no-Yakata” was built in 1916, a little bit after the Victorian period. The owner of the house was also from France. However, who minds such a slight difference?)
Kitano: “Look! You can take a picture sitting on the sofa. Let’s try to sit there like Dio-sama.”
Haide-san: “Like this? (with an air of great importance)”
Kitano: “Good! Stay there a second, I will take a picture.”
Looking at the beautiful silk flowers, Haide-san said.
“Hey, I want to see Jotaro holding this bouquet.”
“Good idea but the one I’d like to see is Josuke.”
Our opinion was in harmony that beautiful flowers fit Josuke and Jotaro .
Josuke is the protagonist of Jojo part4. Both Jotaro and Josuke are macho men like this. Ordinary people couldn’t understand our thought that flowers fit such big macho men.
We are not only otaku but also “fu”(腐) The direct translation of this word is “rotten,” but I think that the more suitable translation is “filthy.” I won’t explain about this word here because it will be very long. I only say that we are members of the otaku family, fu genus “Deka-Macho-uke” species.
We were overjoyed when we found the bathroom.
“You definitely have to take photo!”
Then we visited some other famous tourist spots, like Kazamidori-no-yakata, and Moegi-no-yakata and thenwe noticed that it was nearly dark.
Leaving Kitano street, we went to china-town.
I am usually lead around Kobe by my friend who lives there, bur this time I guided Haide-san as though I was full-fledged Kobe expert. The first sight seeing spot was “Kitano-Kobo-no-Machi.”
“Kitano-Kobo-no-Machi”is an old beautiful building that was originally an elementary school. There are many cool and stylish shops there now. It was the second time for me to visit there and I found a newly opened Japanese sake shop. Kobe is a famous brewery region. The shop was selling many kinds of sake from various breweries in Kobe and it seemed that we could sample them. However, between other stylish shops for young women, the sake shop was deserted. We entered the shop. I’m a sake fan, especially Kobe sake. I intended to buy something if I could find a good one. The shop clerk was a young woman. I asked her if I could sample them. She said, “Yes. What kind of sake would you like?” “Lets see… I prefer sweet sake.” (In my opinion, Kobe’s sake is sweet comparing to other area.) “There is no sweet sake here. (coldly)All of them are dry.” “…..! (at a loss for word”)
(eye contact conversation between Haide-san and me) Haide-sann “What is she saying? That’s her personal thought but, she should suggest something for her customer without saying such a thing, shouldn’t she?” Kitano “Wait, she probably think that we are just window shoppers. I will try to show her that I’m a big fan of Kobe sake.” So I said; “Oh! This is a sake from Izumi-Shuzo brewery. I’d like to try it.” She reluctantly let me sample it. While sampling, I said to her; “If I remember right, the brewer master of Izumi-Shuzo is former brewer master of Takinokoi which was closed last year.” I thought that I give her a topic that she could use to start a sales pitch, but she never reacted. There was nothing else for us to do but to leave. After leaving the shop, we told each other; “I’ve never meet such a clerk!” “Exactly! Wasn’t she taught that she should make an effort to sell something even to window shoppers?” We were perfectly surprised rather than angry at her attitude, and worried what would happen to her. Next we went to a chocolate shop. There was a very cheerful clerk and he invited us to sample many kinds of chocolate. Haide san bought some of them although I didn’t buy any since I don’t much like sweets.
Then we visited some nearby sight seeing spots.
Muslim mosque Toutenkaku
On the first day, we met at Sannomiya station in Kobe. My otaku friend, Ms. Haide lives in Hakata. I’m from Yokohama. Kobe is about at the intermediate point. It was a little after noon, and we went to lunch first.
While eating, we had lively conversation about Jojo.
Kitano: “I like Jotaro very much, but he isn’t good as a father, is he? I wouldn’t want to have such a father.” Haide-san “I entirely agree. I feel so sorry for Jolyne.” (Jotaro is the protagonist of Jojo part 3. Jolyne is Jotaro’s daughter and the protagonist of Jojo part 6.) Kitano: “However, Jolyne is the one of Jojos protagonist. She is tough enough and can stand up to her father. The one whom I feel sorry for is Anasui.” Haide-san: “Of course, he is the most pitiful man in the entire story. Although he looked cool and dangerous at first, he became such crown role at last. (Anasui is a male character in Jojo part 6. He fell in love with Jolyne and cooperated with her in battle. However, Jolyne never knew his real feelings and also Jotaro gave him the cold shoulder when he asked for permission to marry her.) Kitano: “I think that Araki sensei probably intended to make him a cool and dangerous character at first, but he noticed that that character would be more useful as a crown roll. Because if Anasui wanted to marry to Jolyne, he must say `Please give me your daughter!` to..” Haide-san: “…to Jotaro, who is the strongest father in the world. Indeed! ”
We finished lunch like this and left the restaurant. Then we went sightseeing around Kobe.
I traveled to Kobe at the end of last November. I have been to Kobe several times because my home is in Mie prefecture near by. Also my friend lives in Kobe so I often visit her there. This time was little bit different. I traveled with my otaku friend who lives in Kyushu. We had two goals on our trip. One was to visit a Jojo themed bar in Kobe. The other was to attend a Jojo fan event in Osaka. My otaku friend is also a Jojo fan and we had promised that we would visit Kobe someday. Also I heard that a Jojo event would be held in Osaka during our Kobe trip, so we took decisive action and planned our trip accordingly. (It was a very short trip. We had only two days because we drew up the schedule according to the event date. At first I planned to take a trip another day when we could take three consecutive holidays. When I heard about the event, I asked her what kind of itenerary she prefers. This was the first time for her to travel to Kobe. I wondered if she would want to have more time for sight seeing than for fan event. She answered; “Hey! Both you and I are otaku. So you must already know the answer. What would an otaku choose between a fan event and a sight seeing? It’s a silly question!) This was a trip of Jojo otaku, by Jojo otaku, for Jojo otaku. We titled our trip “Two days in Kobe and Osaka; We reject our humanity Jojo!” tour. (This phrase is from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.” They are the words of Dio, the last enemy. He cried this out and became a vampire.)
At this point, I have an announcement to make. During this trip all of our conversations could only be understood by Jojo fans. Lots of these Jojo fan phrases will appear in this diary. I will annotate as best I can but you still probably won’t understand.
(This picture and translation is from this website http://www.mangareader.net/ A lot of manga translated in English are uploaded on this website.) By the way, I wonder if it’s also OK to translate this phrase of Dio to “I quite being a human.” I don’t have enough skill in English translation to criticize someone else’s translation, but as a Jojo fan, I felt that the above translation is too perfect and too correct. One of the attractive points of Jojo is the characteristic phrases. This phrase of Dio is such a phrase. In this scene, he says these words just like “I quit this job(or something).” Of course, it’s an unordinary way to use this phrase even in Japanese, but this “extraordinariness” is exactly characteristic of “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” and I prefer to keep the bizarreness of his wording even in the English translation. If this translation is OK, the title of our trip should be “Two days in Kobe and Osaka; We quit being human Jojo!” tour.
I wrote last year in my diary that one of my hobbies is gardening on my veranda and I am only interested in edible plants, so there are only herbs and vegetables on my veranda.
However, I have to tell that recently there was a little change regarding that.
Now, flowers are propagating on my veranda.
It started around November of last year.
I visited a cyclamen farmhouse at work and bought a small pot of cyclamen.
At first, I was not going to buy it, but my coworker bought one, so I also bought one. This is a traditional custom in Japan called “giri”(social obligation) or “tsukiai.” I am a typical Japanese.
The master of the farmhouse gave me another pot for free, so I have two cyclamen.
I didn’t intend to have a long relationship with them.
I heard that a cyclamen season is short and it’s difficult to make them bloom yearly although it’s a perennial plant.
I only cared for them halfheartedly, thinking that I wouldn’t mind even if they withered.
However, they did not wither.
Although it is said that a cyclamen flower usually blooms during winter and last until spring, my cyclamen still continues blooming and budding one after another and continues even today, April 13.
While developing a relationship with them, (I also drew picture) I became attached to them gradually, and became interested in flowers in general. When I go to a florist, I started looking at not only vegetables and herbs but flowers as well.
First, I bought red and yellow ranunculus. With this as the start, jasmine, marguerite, and miniature roses joined my veranda garden.
Recently, I also took on the challenge of flower arranging. My “moe” for flowers is likely to continue for a while.
I went walking in the nearby park “Shikinomori Koen” in Nakayama. The sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms) in the park were at there peak and there were many people who were doing “hanami (cherry blossom viewing).” While walking, I thought, “I really envy them. I wish I also could do hanami.”
You might think, “You were also able to watch the cherry blossoms while walking in the park, weren’t you?” Yes, I watched the cherry blossoms, but I could not do “hanami.” Because in Japan, a word “hanami” does not just mean looking at cherry blossoms, but to also have a picnic (if possible, with alcohol) under cherry blossoms.
Natsume Fusanosuke, who is a reviewer, asserted that on a certain TV program, that hanami in Japan is a divine service to unite with the spirit of cherry blossoms. I think that his opinion must be taken with reservation, but I usually say the same thing following his opinion when I was asked why the Japanese get drunk during cherry blossom season.
By the way, I read that in the West, people have improve species of cherry blossoms trees to make cherry trees bear edible fruit. While in Japan, people improve species of cherry blossoms trees to bloom with more beautiful flowers, so Japanese cherry blossom trees do not bear edible fruit. Though there are edible cherries also in Japan now, they are the sort from western hybrid trees.
Sakura fruit is not edible, but the flowers themselves are delicious. In spring, sweets using sakura come on the market in Japan. There are not only traditional Japanese sweets, like sakura mochi but also resently sakura sweets like sakura cookies, sakura ice cream, sakura dacquoise, ect…
Sakura-cha(tea) goes well with sakura sweets. This is picled sakura bud. Pouring hot water, the buds bloom in the water and give off a fragrance of sakura. Why is the sakura flavor so tasty? Although I have to go on a diet, I cannot defeat the temptation of sakura sweets.
November 3rd was a public holiday, Culture Day.
That day, it was very lively in the streets near my home, since a festival called the “Nakayama matsuri” was being held.
I don’t usually like festivals. I cannot enjoy these kinds of events because I don’t like crowds. Also, the food stalls at festivals are mostly not good.
However, the Nakayama festival is an exception.
The nearby restaurants and shops set up stalls at this festival. Some of them are my favorite shops and restaurants. The food at those stalls is fairly good.
The picture to the left is of a stall of a Chinese restaurant called “Ichiban.”
They sold steamed dim sum in a traditional bamboo basket.
I bought some crispy spring rolls and a chimaki(rice-dunpling wrapped in bamboo leaves.)