They didn’t say, “No.” They said, “Go!” My Mom and Dad are incredible. I am so appreciative of them. I am traveling the world. I can’t believe it either. When I step into port, the first thing I think of is my parents. I am so blessed to be their daughter. Mom and Dad, arigato!
Currently, I am sailing to China on the East China Sea. It is quite rocky. I am doing well, but it will be nice to be on land again. The East China Sea is not pretty, in my opinion. It is a greenish in color due to pollution.
When I think back to my experience in Japan, the following words come to mind:
Although there are more, those are the most important.
I disembarked in Kobe on January 24, 2017. The first day, I traveled by foot around the city with four of my friends. We went to Chinatown, sampled green tea, bought a Starbucks (of course!), had dinner at an Italian restaurant (lol), ate a snack at McDonald’s (hahaha) and went up the Kobe Port Tower.
My favorite part about Chinatown was the puppy adoption shops. I saw so many cute little Yorkies in the window display! It was highly suggested not to hold them, but I wish I could have. I got to try real green tea. It was way different than I had expected. To me, it was not as tasteful. At Starbucks, I got a localized Chocolatey Banana Cocoa. Super good! Sorry, I haven’t heard of it arriving to America anytime soon. But, no worries. My happy meal at McDonald’s was exactly the same as if I had gotten it in Saint Louis. Yes, there were other menu items specifically for Japan, but I didn’t try them. At the Italian restaurant, I got a margarita pizza. It was super thin. A cracker was thicker. I enjoyed it! Lastly, we ended at the Kobe Port Tower. We saw the entire city from above. We watched the sunset. Amazing!!
Day 2, I spent my time in Hiroshima. My two friends and I traveled by bullet train-The Shinkansen. The Shinkansen has maximum speeds of 150-200 mph. Mom, I’m fine. It was a great experience. I never felt us going that fast. Mind-blowing. As we arrived in Hiroshima, I noticed it was quiet. Very quiet. Not exactly sure where to go, we asked a local. A man and a woman, not speaking English, helped us. The woman guided us to the correct bus station where she notified the bus driver where to drop us off. She stayed and waited at the station with us until we stepped foot on the bus. The only word we told her where we wanted to go was a “museum.” She was on her way to something or someone, but she dropped everything for us. She didn’t know us. Friendly. We observed the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum. This was a very emotional experience. Overall, I have a better understanding and appreciation for the Japanese culture. It is definitely a must-see. Next, we walked to the Hiroshima Castle. We got to go all the way up and see the whole city from above. To end the day, we had a late lunch at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I can’t tell you what I ate, but I cleared my plate. It was a combination of lettuce, pork, egg and a sauce. Exhausted, we headed back home via The Shinkansen.
Day 3 and 4, I was in Kyoto and Osaka, respectively. Mom and Dad, you’re probably wondering where I slept. I had my first Airbnb experience. In Kyoto, we spent most of our time at shrines. I tried green tea ice cream with edible gold foil. Yeah, Dad, I had to get the gold foil. I also sampled and then bought a variety pack of nuts. Dad, you would love these! For lunch, I had real Ramen noodles and Mister Donut for dessert. No more Ramen noodles in a bag for me! Running on four hours of sleep, we made it to Osaka. Our Airbnb had a heated toilet seat and bidet included. This is normal in Japan. I am spoiled now. At night, we walked where bars, restaurants and shops lit up and lined the streets. One of my favorite things to do is simply walk and observe. Stuffed with shrimp tempura, I was ready to head back to the ship the next day.
Day 5, I returned to the ship, relaxed, grabbed last minute snacks at one of the many 7-Elevens and walked around the remaining parts of Kobe I had not seen. I was excited to be back in my cabin.
But, I will never forget the cleanliness of Japan. I saw maintenance personnel vacuum concrete. And, there are no trash cans. Everyone is responsible for their own trash yet the cities are spotless. Ah, and the phrase, “Big in Japan,” is true! My group and I got asked by several individuals and families to take photos with them. We were honored! It was super fun.
From a marketing standpoint, the amount of vending machines around the cities are impressive. I got an iced coffee. It dispensed as if a person at a café had handed it to me. It was delicious too!
Enjoy the photos!
Cee at Sea