Monday July 25th,
After kinda weird night of sleep I got up early (for me) and started working on this blog thing. Eventually it was time to start the day (hadn't found the coffee maker here so it took a little longer than usual). I haven't been suffering the effects of jet lag as much as I had thought I would, but when I started to think about it my normal schedule of going to bed at 4am in Cincinnati is almost a perfect 9 to 5 here in Kobe so no adjustment required! Where's my business suit?

The two main items on the agenda today was taking sister Holly's two dogs Sadie and Cody to the river for romping, and then after recovery from that, dinner out with Holly, Jerry and the Big Cheese from P & G who was in town from Cincinnati, a really nice Greek gentleman.

The walk to the river was through the narrow streets of Kobe (none of which are parallel or organized in any way-you probably need 5 years training to be a mailman here!). It was about 5 blocks but with two dogs in tow it felt like 15 because it was in the low 90s and humid as hell. Feels like a jungle here without all the plants! Everytime a car would come by we would squeeze up against the wall with the dogs to let them pass. On the rare occasion where you had two vehicles meeting going opposite directions, it was entertaining to first watch the narrow avoidance of the head on collision, followed by the drivers figuring how to get past each other, which sometimes entailed partially pulling into someone's driveway or a sidestreet.

We eventually arrived at the river and there was some kind of field trip with about 45 little school children, and a few sunbathers, and Moms out with kids. We let the dogs run free in the river and of course they loved it. Why do they always then want to stand within 2 feet when they shake? It was getting really hot now so after letting some of the kids pet the dogs, we headed back.

After a shower and a nap it was time to take the train a few stops down to the restaurant/entertainment/shopping district to hook up with Jerry who would guide us to the Chinese place we were eating at, picked by the Big Boss (Le Fromage Grande?)

Jerry was a bit late so we cooled our jets in a department store called "Hands". There was some amazing things there and we were only really in the entrance rows (there were 6 floors to the store).
Apparently they are big on tabletop fountains there so I took a Quicktime movie with my digital cam; I'll try and find a way to post it.
They also had mehanical insects(???) you could buy for $19 or so. No sign of mechanical insect repellent anywhere though!
I got a pic of Mom inspecting one of two COMPLETE WALLS of hand fans! There was some nice glasswork there as well.

Eventually Jerry showed up to collect us and we walked a block or so the the Chinese place. Traditional seating on cushions or tables and chairs, this place was HUGE for a restaurant in Japan: several large rooms. There was no ordering, when we got there all the food had been ordered for us in advance by "the advance team" so I hoped I was not sitting down to a meal of undead, uncooked indescribables! Turns out it was "Japanese/Chinese" cuisine, the same way we get "American/Chinese" at home. It was all impeccably presented, service was amazing (all the servers had kimonos on and PDAs for ordering!)

The food started with appetizers and just kept on coming and coming and coming. Maybe 10 courses in all... oh and did I say "beer"? Beer is pronounced something like "bieru" here and our side of the long table (4 of us, Mom included) went through at least three pitchers and I think we mooched the end of the other end of the table's pitcher as well. It was an amazing dinner all of it great (I did pass on some things like the jellyfish) but we all wobbled out of there about 3 hours later. I shudder to think what that cost ($1000?) for the nine of us.Thank you Holly and Jerry!

Crawled into bed at 10pm (when was the last time THAT happened!) and drifted off. What a great day...

Here's a slideshow of the Day Two pics: