Category Archives: Asia

Japan – Kobe City (3 of 10)

In addition to the island, I also took many photos of the Kobe mainland.


At night, the main streets are brightly lit with advertisements and decorations.


In this photo, I walking towards the North part of Kobe, towards the mountain. This area is known for its modern Western style buildings. As you can see, the weather isn’t too good. It started raining shortly after I took this.


That’s a real tight fit!


Sannomiya Station. This area is one of the busiest areas of Kobe with lots of different train stations located near each other. The JR lines runs through the middle (left to right) and connects Kobe with the rest of Japan. The inner-city Portliner line is to the right of this photo. A “police box” (station) is located in the middle-right.


Travelling West in Kobe next to the JR line. Unfortunately for Japanese culture, McDonald’s restaurants are everywhere, and very well identified with signage. Many are even 24 hour locations. Also take note in the lower left corner, there’s a very funny looking car… or truck..


A close-up view from a pedestrian bridge, which are very common in Japan’s city areas. Road markings are painted directly on the road, including a marking that informs you that making a U-turn is definitely not allowed.


Finally for today, Kobe also has a bustling Chinatown. I walked through, though never managed to buy anything in the area. The architecture is unique and quite interesting.


Looks real good, right? Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this green tea float so much.


My hotel room was the smallest I’ve ever seen. There’s not much more to it than what you see here except a small desk to the right, a small bathroom to the left, and a rather long hallway behind me to the door. This particular hotel also offered a small fridge, and a water jug that was refreshed daily.

That’s all of my Kobe photos. Check my gallery for the rest of the photos I took.

Japan – Kobe’s Islands (2 of 10)

I am now back from Japan. As it turns out, I took a lot of photos, so it’s a challenge deciding how to sort them and share them with you.

I’ll start from photos from Kobe’s Port Island and Harborland area. Port Island is a man-made island that is home to their international convention centre, and also the airport. The Harborland is the mainland area right next to the harbour.


At night, the Harborland area is a beautiful sight.


Kobe’s unofficial symbol, Kobe Tower, dominates the area. I liked how this photo turned out at night. My camera takes excellent photos during the day, but the night poses more of a challenge.


The conference which I attended (and will talk more about later in another post) took place at the Kobe International Conference Centre, which is right next to the flagship Portobia Hotel. As you can imagine, it is very expensive, so I didn’t stay there.


And now for a close-up. The Japanese respect the elderly. It looks like this person is out for a stroll, with the help of a younger person. Both are protected from the sun by an umbrella. The one in the chair is also wearing a mask to protect against the flu. I’m just wondering what the guy is doing behind the giant stone sign.


The Harborland is a classy area, but also one where things are close together, like everywhere in Japan. A tennis court is visible in the middle-right amongst the tall buildings and parking garages, all at the edge of the harbour.


The fancy Oriental Hotel sits at the harbour. No, I didn’t stay here either. Kobe Tower is nearby.


There’s lots of activity on Kobe’s waterfront. This is only one small part. The port is very large and seems to stretch forever into Osaka eventually.


There’s a tourist area with gift shops and an amusement park. The palm trees are easily supported by Japan’s very warm weather. I found it a bit too warm and uncomfortable coming out of Canada’s winter.


Video games are big everywhere in Japan. Namco is one of the big companies involved, though their North American presence has dwindled over the years. There’s lots of establishments everywhere filled with gaming machines.

Japan – First 2 Days in Kobe (1 of 10)

I am writing to you today from Kobe, Japan. I am here for 2 weeks attending a conference and making a presentation at Osaka University. I am posting a few photos that I’ve taken so far, though I may not have much opportunity to many more updates while I’m here.


Welcome to Japan. Wow. This view is not far from my hotel. Before arriving, I didn’t even know they drive on the left here.


Here, you can see a major terminal in downtown Kobe. It’s interesting to note that while most Japanese speak only Japanese, there is little bits of English everywhere and many company names are written using Roman letters that we use.


In this picture, you see the tracks for one of the many train lines snaking through the city. During my one hour shuttle bus ride from the airport to Kobe, the first thing I noticed was an extreme amount of transportation infastructure, and industry. This is actually a large shipping area with a very busy port, although it was busier before 1995 when a devastating earthquake shook the city.


Japanese cars are everywhere here, obviously. Some look quite different, but others are quite similar to the designs being sold by the same companies in North America.


Vending machines selling drinks are everywhere, but get ready for the smallest servings of Coke you’ve ever seen. Even in McDonald’s, a North American kiddie size is the Japanese medium.


This spot isn’t far from the conference venue. People on bikes are everywhere on the sidewalks and it’s a bit difficult to avoid a collision with one.

These are the some of the best photos I have so far. I am attending the conference in Kobe all this week before moving on to Osaka next week, and then back to Calgary afterwards. Amazingly, I haven’t really experienced a jet lag despite a 15 hour time difference. I slept at normal times so far.

I have no full photo gallery yet, because I want to decide which photos to include based on what I end up with later. I’ll try to squeeze in more blog updates as time allows.