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.
There is a Sakura-masamune sake shop on the floor under the restaurant.
We sampled some sake while talking with the shop staff.
He said that Sakura-masamune’s sake is a purveyor to the Imperial family. The sake is offered at the Imperial garden party in spring. Also he said that the one for autumn is Kiku-masamune. Sakura(cherry blossoms) is spring flower and Kiku(chrysanthemum) is autumn flower. It’s like a good tale, isn’t it?
We left Sakura-masamune and went to Kiku-masamune commemoration hall.
There is a very good exhibition explaining the process of brewing, but we we looked at it five years ago, so we skipped this time.
We visited only a section for sake-tasting. We could sample unpasteurized sake and ume-shu.
Next was Sawanotsuru museum.
I bought a grass of Daiginjo Mineme-no-ura 大吟醸 敏馬の浦.
The bottle on the right is “shunko” 30000yen. I wished I could by it.
The last place was Kobe-Shushinkan.
This brewery makes sake called Fukuju 福寿.
We sampled many kinds of sake. They were selling sake by measure. I bought a bottle of Dunmai-ginjo (meaning careful distillation of pure rice)
There was a restaurant and a sake bar too. I’d like to try the restaurant the next time.
This is English website of Shushinkan.
Since it was time to go back came and we left for Rokkou-michi station.
We said good bye at the station and the short trip in Kobe ended. The trip was rich with experience was much enriched trip even though it was only two days. Thank you Yuki!
After going back to my patents home, my parents and I drank the sakes which I bought at the breweries with Osechi.
Osechi is traditional Japanese food for the new year celebration. I think that sake is the best alcohol to have with Japanese food. All of them were very good!
The next day was a day to drink. It was because the second day’s plan was to tour Sake cellars in Nada.
Nada is an area along the shore of southeastern Kobe. This area is famous as the largest sake producing region in Japan since the old days. Many sake breweries stand in a row. You can visit Sake breweries and Sake museums which were created by major brewing companies.
I’m a little fastidious about Sake. If it ever has any smell of bran, I don’t want to drink it. I had been convinced that I could not drink sake when I was young because I was able to buy only cheap sake those days. After getting to know nice sake, I started to like it.
When I came to Kobe five years ago, I visited two places, 浜福鶴Hamahukutsuru Brewery and 菊正宗 Kikumasamune Brewery. I especially liked Hamahukutsuru.
However, this time, some breweries had already been closed because of the new year’s holiday and so had Hamahukutsuru. So we visited other place that were still open.
Firstly, we went to Uosaki station by the Hanshin line, and walked around the brewery area. On the way, there was a tofu maker.
I bought some ganmodoki（fried tofu balls mixed with vegetables) as a souvenir for my parents. The lady of the store gave thick deep-fried tofu as a free gift.
Takinokoi kuramoto club and Museum of Hakutsuru sake brewing company were closed.
I only took pictures of them.
Nada’s Sake breweries are divided into five go (郷 villages). The upper right photograph is a sign in which the Uosaki go and Saigo go are shown.
There were many huge tanks on site at the breweries.
“It’s great that the all of those tanks are filled with sake,” said my friend thoughtfully, showing her quiet enthusiasm for drinking.
Then she said, “sake was pumped directly out from some tanks, when there was the great Hanshin (Kobe and Osaka) earthquake.”
At that time, Kobe was extensively damaged. The houses and buildings around this area also collapsed and people’s spirits were very low. Then the staff of the brewing company pumped sake out of the tanks and handed out it to the people around the area. It is a heart warming story.
We arrived at Sakura-Masamune commemoration hall.
This hall has a restaurant called “Sakura-en 桜宴.”
We had lunch there.
We ordered sake with lunch (of course).
The left one is “Shuki 朱稀.”The label says in Japanese, “from distillation by association with the first yeast
The right one is Daiginjo 大吟醸. Daiginjo is a top quality sake brewed at low temperatures from rice grains milled to 50% or less of their original weight.
Both of them are sold only in this restaurant.
Usually, the alcohol content of sake is about 14%, but these sakes have 17% because they are unrefined. The proof of unrefined sake is high.
This is the “Hanakago 花篭, lunch ” 1580yen. Shiraae白和え(salad with tofu), Otsukuri-sanshu-moriお造り三種盛り(3 sorts of sashimi), Ebi-to-Yubano-aemono海老と湯葉の揚げ物（deep-fried Soy Milk Skin and shrimps）, Sanshoku-temari-zushi三色手まり寿司(three pieces of ball shaped sushi) and 抹茶プリン（green tea pudding）.
All of the dishes were delicate tasting and delicious.
(Continued to part five)
It was growing dark and we went around Sannomiya station.
The lights of Daimaru Department Store were beautiful.
She said that Kobe people like Daimaru very much and Daimaru is always crowded in spite of the latest depression.
We went to China town.
This is smaller than the China town in Yokohama.
According to what she said, Chinatowns were usually made in order for Chinese people to protect themselves from their surroundings in the foreign countries, but this Chinatown has had good relations with residents of Kobe since the old times.
So in this china town, Chinese stores and Japanese stores are mixed.
I bought a Japanese radish rice cake and a cup of Rokkou beer. （400 yen）. I had wanted to drink Rokkou beer since I came to Kobe and drank it five years ago.
She said that there was an interesting bookstore in the Sannomiya shopping arcade.
It is a bookstore called “海文堂 Kaibundou.” The character “海” means “sea” and a “文” means text. There is a special section for marine biology, oceanography, shipping, navigation, sailing vessels and such.
These books were so specialized for professionals, that they were rather funny for nonprofessional outsiders like us. “A tide table in Heisei 22,” “How to easily understand the whale problem” “Science of sashimi” “an Echizen-jellyfish and a water-jellyfish” were just some of the titles.
Then our reservation time came and we went to a restaurant for dinner.
A French (or Italian?) restaurant called “Di-Shiner,” it was small and stylish.
After consulting with the waiter, we selected this wine.
Relish and hors d’oeuvre: olive, terrine, marinade, etc.
All dishes were set up in order for two people to share easily. It worked well.
The wine fit well with these dishes.
Since we overate before dinner, it was difficult to eat pasta. We ordered some slices of cheese and bread. The main dish was roast venison. The venison was tender and went surprisingly well with sliced kumquats. The mashed sweet potatoes on the side were also good.
After dinner, I went to her home and stayed there.
The first day in Kobe had ended. All I did that day was eat.
(Continued to part four)