Kobe, Japan

We just spent 8 days in Kobe, Japan, a small city known for its beef (better tasting, because the cows are treated nicely, even massaged, we're told) proximity to Osaka (the third largest city in the country and just half-hour away by train) a fabulous waterfront and a popular Chinatown area. 

The city itself isn't wild and crazy, like Osaka and Tokyo, sensory overloads, but a mild-mannered, business oriented city, where few residents speak English and many come to shop. 

The Motomachi mall was right next to our REI hotel, a mall that seemingly went on forever, and unlike US malls, is thriving with customers. 

Look closely and you'll see that the male mannequins are displayed in a bowing position, because in Japan, it's all about the bow. The mall eye doctor's show off their glasses over a mask, because many citizens, especially this time of the year, are fearful of germs, and thus, go out with a mask over their face. 

The multi-level Daimaru department store anchors the city. 

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Beyond traditional Japanese fare, like sushi and noodles, bread is really popular in Japan--something most Westerners would be surprised at. 

We ate breakfast every morning at the French bakery Isuzu and loved our little find of a Japanese burger place on a quiet side street. Sunchago Burgers is worth seeking out. 

The burgers were great--they were made from Kobe beef! And when you a Ginger Ale delivered in a Cool Cat glass, you know you've arrived at the right place. 

And Chinatown is brimming with street food, all day and night long. 

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