Weekend in Kobe and More!

Hello to all of my fellow Bulls! I hope you are enjoying your fall semester as much as I am. It is hard to believe that it has been almost two weeks since my last blog post. Time really does fly when you are having fun!

Last week I took a trip to Kobe which is about an hour and twenty minutes from Hirakata shi train station (the closest station to Kansai Gaidai). This was my first time to Kobe and I absolutely loved it. The night scenery was breathtaking and brought back memories of Yokohama. Ever since I came to Japan, I have wanted the chance to go back to Yokohama but due to train expenses, it is a little strenuous on the wallet. Unfortunately, I have had some very bad luck with posting pictures on this site lately. I will try my best to get some of the Kobe photos uploaded.

The first day I was in Kobe, I mainly traveled around the city to famous sightseeing areas and famous parts of the city. I went to a very famous “western style” part of town and wandered about for a good hour. I found it fascinating how interested Japanese people are in western architecture and art. People were always talking about how beautiful all of the houses were and taking pictures from various angles. For me, they just seemed like plain houses but that is just because I grew up in Florida. If it was a traditional Japanese part of town, I would have been the one taking the pictures from all angles.
The food in Kobe was so delicious and not so expensive. After I ate lunch I went to some shopping districts and walked around for a good two hours. It is always interesting to look at what the shops are selling because usually everything is different from what you would find at a store in the US. Around 4 pm, I decided to go check-in at my hotel. When I arrived, I was astonished by how nice the hotel was considering the price I paid for it. Not to mention, I was put in a room on one of the highest floors that had an gorgeous city panoramic window. The rest of the night, I took it pretty easy and studied for my test that I had the following Monday morning. However, around 7:45 pm, I ventured out to a really famous spot in Kobe that is near a harbor. I ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant. I explored the surrounding areas after dinner before returning back to the hotel. I stayed for one more day in the same hotel and did some more exploring and shopping. I would recommend anyone who plans to come to Japan to visit Kobe and stay at the same hotel I did.
Reality came back with full force Monday morning as I had to rush back from Kobe to school. I did some last minute cram studying on the train and until I felt comfortable with the material. I ended up receiving a 46.5/50 on that test. I was really upset after I got my test back because I realized I forgot to answer a question that was worth 3 points. I cried a little on the inside as I saw that blank space that could have put me at a 49.5/50. With that test aside, I had one more unit test on Wednesday. I have yet to receive my grade for that test but I am confident that I got above a A or A+. I should be get my test back tomorrow morning.
Today I decided to bake Banana bread for my host family. My first task was going to the store and getting all of the ingredients which was not so difficult (aside from shortening). I checked two grocery stores for shortening and had no luck. I found a baking shop relatively close to where I live and thankfully they had some! I also could not find a bread pan so I just bought a round pan. My next challenge was trying to convince myself that I can successfully bake bread in a microwave…wait what?

Yes, that is right, a microwave.

Apparently in Japan, almost no one has an oven in their house. If you want to bake something, you change the microwave setting to oven and you can select the temperature and set the time. I had my doubts that this would turn out correct because there was no pre-heat option. I figured once the timer rang, I would just add another10 or 15 minutes. Well, I will be damned…it cooked perfectly in the set amount of time. Not only that, when I open the microwave, it was not even hot inside? I have no idea how it worked but the bread turned out great and tastes delicious!

It is getting pretty late over here so I am going to call it a night. I should have some interesting things to talk about next week for my blog!

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