Kobe has changed almost completely beyond recognition. There are so many new, large buildings, in part because of the earthquake, and nothing really looked as I remembered it. When we got off at the JR station in Rokko and headed up the hill, the only thing that really looked like it did 23 years ago was the local shrine.
I decided that I would try to find Sansui, the dormitory in which I lived when I first came to Kobe. With everything changed, I was sort of uncertain, but finally came to the spot where I was pretty sure it should have been. Should have been, but it wasn’t: it had been torn down and new luxury apartments were being constructed on the spot. I briefly talked to the construction area guard and confirmed that at least some building had been torn down to make way for the project, and I can only think it must have been Sansui. No great loss, it wasn’t in that great of shape – I just wonder if the former landlord, the yakuza who owned the place, is making money in the development of the apartment project.
We then went to Sannomiya, where David encouraged me to find the place where Leroy’s was. I used to moonlight at this bar, Carribean-themed, on Friday and Saturday nights. I was surprised that I could instictively find my way through the warren of narrow streets in the entertainment district north of the station. Of course, Leroy’s is no longer there; Leroy probably drank himself into his grave a long time ago. I then subjected the rest of the family with doing a little bit of walking around Sannomiya. Again, it is completely unrecognizable. I think it is not only the quake, but a general economic improvement. If you think of what, say, First Ave used to be like in downtown Seattle, and what it looks like today, well, the same thing has happened in Kobe. For example, the little second-hand shops and flea-market type stalls under the railway tracks is now a slick shopping arcade, with throngs of shoppers and trendy shops.
Convinced I would never find that great sushi bar that used to be in Sannomiya, we returned to the hotel. After some walking around the area around the hotel, we ended up in a small neighborhood sushi bar, where we took up the remaining four seats out of the dozen that were there. This turned out to be a great choice. Emma was dubious about sushi, but turned into a great sport, having one piece of exotica after another. Rose was
seated next to a jolly older man in his sixties who got a great deal of fun out of attempting to communicate with the girls. He gave them little pieces of some sort of clam to eat. He also bought a glass of iced sake for us, which Emma thought was a glass of water. She took a big gulp and turned the place inside out with laughter when she choked and sputtered on it. (David ended up finishing it.)
It was really quite a bit of fun; we had a great time, Emma now eats sushi, and they got an excellent cultural experience of sitting at the counter over a couple of hours interacting with everyone.over 5 years ago