Friday, January 19, 2007


From Himeji, on Wednesday 20th September 2006, we took a train on to Kobe.

I was unsure how I'd feel about Kobe. A pre-internet pen pal from Yokohama had died in the earthquake of 1995 whilst visiting family. I felt an inert sense of reservation the whole time and had some strange fears to confront, like worrying I'll laugh at a funeral.

Our first port of call was the port area. After a morning of history, it seemed fitting to have an afternoon of amusement, although Makiko, my old pen pal was a constant thought.

The above roller-coaster, dear reader, is intended for children. Phyllis and I are, thankfully, young at heart, so decided to take a ride.

It was fabulous. I'm sure our screams and laughter could be heard for miles around. The men in charge of the ride certainly seemed to find a certain joy, by the looks on their faces when passing them, at our hilarity.

Next was the big wheel. I hate big wheels, but buoyed up by the thrill of the roller-coaster, I decided to take the plunge.

Ian enjoyed it.

I was a mess.

From the amusement park, we walked on further around the port area. The above boat filled me with delight. I couldn't find out much about it as the vast majority of information provided was in Japanese, but I could work out that it was a prototype for something fast on the oceans! And very Thunderbirds.

The above image, dear reader, was taken at the Earthquake Memorial Park - a section of the port area left untouched after the earthquake. Very moving. I thought of Makiko. Having no idea how, I pondered the end of her life.

Isn't life cruel and simply a series of shitty messes? It begins with strife and always ends the same way.

I took a photograph of this bizarre tower. I've no idea what it is.

And also have no idea what this drink is or why I photographed it. Life, dear reader, is a mystery. Everyone must stand alone.


Anonymous said...

Great photoblog as always. Sorry to hear about your friend :(

Anonymous said...


The expression on your face is priceless!

Minge said...

It was a strange day.

Anonymous said...

It would have been with your memories of your penpal.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! You make me want to go to Japan.

Anonymous said...

dont' tell me that's a beer hiding in the background! Have you gone all straight on us?

Minge said...

Yes, JAG, it was all about Makikio. It wouldn't have been so bad if we'd ever met. Walking along the street, I sometimes wondered if I was planting my foot where her foot had been and if I was looking at the things she'd seen.

You should go, Anjou. It's like nowhere else on the face of the planet. I'm going for a third time in May/June. Won't you join us?

Alan! The beer was Phyllis' drink! Mine was sake and that's the bottle in the foreground!

Anonymous said...

Wow - what a great post. Wonderful pics and commentary.

Minge said...

It seems like only yesterday, Rand.

matty said...

Great pix! Am most jealous! I wanna go!!!

And, you don't look a mess! You look cute!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Fabulous on an international scale!

Minge said...

Can't wait to go back!