※ This article discusses Sunday, 15th of January 2017.
Yes, we had snow yesterday. That does not occur that often. Well, there is a kids-playing-in-Kobe-snow video of 2013. However, at sea level and with increasing climate temperatures it is just becoming more and more unlikely. Some international students have been on Onsen trips during the winter and visited Onsen at higher sealevel. There, they saw monkeys joining them in Onsen. There are plenty of videos about them online (e.g. "Snow monkeys soak in hot springs of Japan" by Guardian.
I had to take care in the city. Staircases were slippery.
I started off in the morning after warming myself up in bed. Yesterday in the afternoon we briefly noticed snowflakes for about 10 minutes. In the evening (after sunset), it snowed for quite some while. The reported snow height was about 2-3cm. This sunday, I went to Sannomyia by Portliner and went south. I guess I could have left the train one station before, but I preferred the long walk. The general outline of this event day was a casual walk along the coast with the Kobe Port Tower as last destination.
First, I saw Higashiyuenchi Park ( 東遊園地 ), which I already visited once. I saw some pots with frozen water, but water fountains with moving water were kept ice-free. I continued south passing the Kobe Customs Museum. At the Harbor, I observed working people. Trucks were bringing goods to the ship. I still have to point out that few people were there and it seemed like a quiet day. I followed the paths underneath the highway to reach the next port.
A huge metal fish is on display when entering the next port from north. We know this fish. My Kanji teacher and Martina’s Japanese teacher on Friday is part of a dance group. They meet regularly to dance to traditional music and invite (international) students to join. This fish was pictured on the map illustrating the meeting point for the dance session. Next to the fish, a house is designated for a dance studio. I assume our teacher is affiliated with this dance studio.
Close to the fish, a memorial site can be found. Remember that the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 hit Awaji Island and therefore the Harbor of Kobe was closest to the epicenter. The harbor got majorily destroyed and the toppled Harbor highway is the image associated with this event in my mind. The "Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park" shows pictures of the event and the reconstruction afterwards (e.g. temporary harbor sites during reconstruction). It also referenced Luminarie which I attended in December. Also recognize that picture #31 shows the same site like Wikipedia, but towards south, not north.
I continued westwards to reach Kobe Port Tower. I need to point out that it was really cold and taking the hands out of my pockets to take photos hurt. At this port many families were outside and going along the harbor. It was funny to recognize that I associate huge scarfs (size of blankets for your upper half of the body) worn by Japanese women with Japanese fashion. But it really is a just a mean to protect yourself from the cold in- and outside houses. The Kobe Port Tower has 3 floors at the ground. They are freely accessible and provide an air conditioned view outside. For 700 Yen, you can also go the top. The view is certainly more beautiful up there, but first I didn’t bring my glasses with me and second at night the view might be more interesting. In the east of the tower, the Kobe Maritime Museum can be found. For 1000 Yen, you can enter it. I wasn’t interested enough into this either, but I took lots of pictures of its white grid-like roof construction. In the west at the next port, I saw the Ferris Wheel. This Ferris Wheel is illuminated at night and can be seen from Portliner when we go back from university.
South of the Port Tower is the Meriken Park Oriental Hotel. I expected to go the Meriken Park first, but it is currently locked up. They seem to be renovating and the grasses condition also does not seem great. The Hotel is very distinctive. The roof resembles (in my imagination) a wave. At the ground floors, cars can be parked whereas the top floors provide hotel rooms. In front of the Hotel a "Marine Hall" can be found. Based on its shape I thought it is a small church, but the name indicates otherwise.
I finished my walk by taking a picture of the huge poles of the Harbor highway and the entrance of Chinatown. Ah right, I haven’t been to Chinatown yet. Anyways, it took me ~25 minutes to go from the Hotel to Sannomiya and I went back home. Martina waited with a warm lunch for me. Great!
Conclusion: A pleasant walk in fresh air!