A Packed Day in Ashiya and Kobe

22 12 2015

On my recent trip to the Kansai region, I stayed with my cousin and her family in Ashiya for a couple of nights but since she had multiple chores to take care of on the Sunday I was there, I was on my own to spend the day as I pleased.

When I left the house, cousin was sweeping the streets as part of her neighborhood's duty. The husband was of course not helping.

When I left the house, cousin was sweeping the streets as part of her neighborhood duty. The husband was of course not helping (nor the kids).  He never does anything remotely related to house chores.

Walked to the JR Ashiya Station, bought a set of discount tix out of a vending machine situated outside the station and unrelated to the railway company as I was taught to do which is very typically Kansai and I would say is never done in Tokyo, and headed to Motomachi, Kobe to the famous Tor Road Delicatessen to try its roast beef sandwich.

Alas, the “sandwich room” was temporarily closed until January, 2016…  😦

Had to come up with plan B so did some searches and found a modern Spanish restaurant nearby but what I did not know was that it is so popular you have to book three months in advance IF you succeed in making a reservation.  I went to the restaurant and asked but was politely told they were full.

I decided to visit the very nice looking lifestyle store next door though and stayed there for about an hour, chatting with the owner about Bhutan and over very good green tea from Kyoto she offered me.

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I bought a few things for myself and as gifts.  She gave me a lunch recommendation as well for a Chinese restaurant where she said all local Chinese-Japanese families go (there is a big population).  So off I went and sure enough the small restaurant was packed with families having their Sunday lunch.  I shared a table with a semi-local Japanese couple visiting it for the first time.

I counted a dozen oysters in my oyster yakisoba (pan-fried noodles), quite unheard of in Tokyo.

My next destination was the main store of Hontakasagoya, a confectionery shop founded in Kobe in 1877 to try its “kintsuba” soft serve.

After which I walked around the neighboring “Nanjing” Chinatown and saw more appetizing food mainly sold out of stalls set up by restaurants for a quick bite.

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I had a 2:40 pm or so reservation to see a film in Sannomiya so off I went to the theatre leaving the very busy Chinatown for a BBC Films movie, My Old Lady.

Oh my how Maggie Smith has aged or knows how to act aged…

So time to go back to my cousin’s but since no one in her family drinks, I go and buy myself a nice bottle of Italian white.  I arrive and cousin’s mother, my aunt, my mother’s younger sister, is there to join us for dinner.

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While my cousin is an excellent cook, her husband is the most disinterested person I know in food and he will only eat certain things so by now she has lost interest in cooking anything different and interesting (but not even!) or time-consuming.

But for Monday lunch time, we had something to look forward to.

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