Sunday, December 25, 2011

(12/18) Kobe beef, it's what's for dinner

The next day we went to Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima which is famous for its large red gate that is out in the middle of the water (when the tide is in) and also for its wild and friendly deer. It is one of the top three views in Japan. We had to take a short ferry ride to get there and then went with a tour guide to check out the area and take pictures of the gate and deer. We were also able to go shopping for souvenirs and there was a good deal of interesting stuff, though most of the stores had the same things. Also, on this day especially, there was always someone who was late, missing, or almost late so Mr. Nagashima and some of the students got pretty frustrated.

After that, we took a shinkansen (bullet train) to Shin Kobe, famous for its Kobe Beef. The bullet train was quite fast and comfortable and you could turn the seats around to face each other if you wanted to. Mostly I just walked around with Julia, Dai, and Mr. Nagashima and spent time in a touristy place with a ferris wheel, small rollercoaster, an arcade, and a bunch of stores. As usual, Mr. Nagashima and Dai spent a good deal of time in the arcade, but we also went to a Studio Ghibli store, rode coin operated animals, and found a restaurant that had relatively cheap Kobe beef. Unfortunately, the restaurant ended up being a little stressful because of food constraints, unexpected service fees, and not very good service. It still tasted pretty good for the most part though.

At the hotel, it had been a problem both this day, the day before, and all future days because we only had one room key between three people and the three of us usually wanted to split up and return at different times. We left the key at the front desk so that the first person back could get it, but if I wanted to go to sleep, there wasn't really a way to let people in unless I left the door open a crack. To remedy that, I left the door open a crack, put the TV on to make it obvious someone was inside the room, put a piece of paper outside the door saying "security device enabled" and put a metal trash can right in front of the door so that anyone opening it would hit and wake me up. It worked pretty well although I was still awake when Dai came back anyway. And we were just about to go to sleep when the foot light switched itself off and another light switched itself on and we heard a ringing alarm coming from out in the hall. Sure enough, there was a power-outage for some reason and none of the other lights would work. The elevator still worked though, so we stupidly took that down to the lobby to check what was going on. As soon as we got down, a guy said that he was working on it and would have it fixed soon but that we shouldn't use the elevator to be safe so we immediately headed back up using the stairs, to the 13th floor. It was more amusing than anything though.

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