The first day of Japan, we arrived in Kobe and waited in the long immigration line to be processed and set free! (Fun Fact: Through my studious research, I found out that Kobe is actually a sister city of Seattle! In fact, Seattle actually has 21 Sister cities.) Katy, Emily, Liz, Kaila, and a few other people and I hopped on the subway and headed to the main part of the city. Katy, Kaila and I decided to split off from the others because they only had a short time before an FDP. We wandered around looking for a good lunch spot and finally found a place that we saw a few SAS people walking out of and they recommended it. Although I like to find more “local” places, it looked adequately “local” and we had been walking around for a while, so I was starving. We had a typical Japanese meal, with sashimi, delicious green tea, and hand rolls. Everything was so delicious! Katy hadn’t really eaten sushi before, except for California rolls, which don’t count, so it was fun to see her trying everything very hesitantly. My mom’s friend Nancy, who lives in Kobe, but was not able to meet up because of work, highly recommended the bakeries in the city, so as we passed one after lunch, we popped in to see what the buzz was about. We found a cute, little corner bakery that had a very French aura and the bread was so good! As we stopped in a quick-mart to figure out the wifi situation (which was in fact NOT easy at all, as someone had told us, and we never ended up buying the wifi that was supposed to be everywhere and easily accessible), we ended up finding Starbucks “Seattle Lattes” which were somewhat like bottled frappucinos but even better!
After a few more hours of wandering the city, getting completely lost on the subway, and randomly ending up at a sake brewery, it was time to head back to the ship and pick up Emily and Liz. Then Fab 5 was off to Osaka! Our night in Osaka started off with figuring out the subway to get the hotel we were looking for, a usual occurrence as that is how you get around in Japan. Once we finally arrived at the correct subway station, after taking two other trains from the ship, we followed the directions we had been given by the information desk, but of course they told us the wrong place to go. Luckily, after wandering around a little more, through the skinny streets of the district we were in, we wandered right into the door of our hotel. Now, this isn’t just any old hotel, it’s a POD hotel. Yes, we slept in our own separate little pods. It’s essentially a rectangle surrounding a bed, but in your pod there is also a mirror, TV, controls for radio, lights, temperature. It’s a very fancy contraption, and fairly cheap. But definitely a must if you travel to Japan! (Unless you’re traveling in a family group, in which case I do not recommend the pods, since I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t allow families anyways.) As we checked in, we found out that this was the hotel most of the SAS kids ended up at.
We arranged our things in our lockers, because it’s not customary to leave your things in you pod since it is an open floor and opportunity for theft is slightly higher than a normal hotel, hence the lockers. We changed and it was time to explore the city. A group of 8 of us girls ended up on the second floor of a cool restaurant. Our starter was what we liked to call octopus balls, which were fried balls of gooey cheese with a piece of an octopus tentacle inside. It was as strange tasting as it sounds. We also had delicious yakisoba noodles and chicken skewers and rice. The rest of the night was just spent wandering around, checking out the interesting district we were in. It honestly felt like we were on a movie set, with skinny streets, tall buildings and not a lot of people out. Katy and I had a fabulous “Seattle moment” when it started raining as we were walking and everyone else freaked out about the rain.