Today we go first up a mountain on a cablecar (or ropeway), which is a lot less wobbly than first thought, although the bit where it accelerates over the edge is a bit nerve-wracking: inside, fine (obviously), flying OK, transition scary. As usual. That’s how it is with transitions.
At the top: incredible views over the city, very clear air and the herb and rose gardens, which are less than optimal (being the middle of winter, though you wouldn’t know it if your were accustomed to the Northern European climate), but a lot less crowded than they would be in the summer. There’s a tiny perfume museum, a hot house and a steep walk down and up the mountain, which is good exercise.
Down again via the cable car, then a walk through a posh-ish (and tourist-y) area of Kobe to have lunch – more Westernised food, with excellent bread and I.P.A. beer, stunning service of course, and half as much as I thought it would be. It comes to something to come to Japan and find it very cheap.
Meet up with one of Haru’s web friends, go to very crowded Vienna-style coffee house for coffee and chat. As the conversation is in English, I go embarrassingly into overdrive. Ho hum.
One thing the Japanese haven’t got the hang of is non-smoking areas, which tend to be right next to the smoking areas, so the only difference between the two zones is the lack of ashtray on the table – the atmosphere is equally smoky. I’m surprisingly unoffended, in fact I’d forgotten what it was like.
Home, dinner, I download a Hiragana/Katakana app to help me understand street signs. I’m not sure that it will, but it’s worth a shot.