A New Hobby

My favourite Hakata ramen  [Ippudo]

My favourite Hakata ramen  |  Ippudo

I’m getting used to urban life again, but there are still some moments when I do double-takes.

For example, a couple of nights ago a colleague and I went for ramen at a shop near our school. He stands out as a Caucasian male, but city people don’t stare as much so it proceeds as a normal dinner would. As we were paying at the register, the cashier suddenly asks us if we are ALTs (assistant teachers in Japanese public schools) in beautiful. perfect. English.

I don’t think I really looked at the guy until after he said that. Actually, I may have stared with my mouth open. This guy was tall, young, kinda good-looking, and he spoke with the slightest of accents (it wasn’t Japanese, but I couldn’t place its origin). Completely my type — if only I were 5 years younger… Sigh.

Anyway, the point of this was to illustrate how strange it (still) is for me to live in a place with people in my age group who can speak fluent English. It was something I sorely missed in my three years out in the inaka; two months after moving to Kobe, I am still surprised by the contrast.

My cafe guide

My cafe guide

Another thing I’ve picked up in these last two months is a new hobby: cafe-hopping!

I’m usually tougher than this, but there are some restaurants that you just can’t seem to walk into by yourself. Fast-food restaurants in Japan — which are far healthier than in N. America — tend to be clustered around train stations (which are not near me).

Cafes fill in that gap for me nicely. There are many possible types of interiors and food options that fit under the term “cafe”, so it’s never boring. The best part is cafe hours are usually long, so it’s easy to drop in whenever I feel like it and indulge in some me-time (without having to clean up after!).

Shrimp Salad with a selection of bread baked in-house  [Triton Cafe]

Shrimp Salad with a selection of bread baked in-house (very healthy!)  |  Triton Cafe

Baumkuchen with Caramel & Fruits  [Ma Couleur]

Baumkuchen with caramel sauce & fruits (it was yummy, but it would’ve been hard to finish by myself)  |  Ma Couleur

Of course, like many other hobbies, this can get expensive fast so I’m trying to limit myself to 3 cafes per month. So far it’s working, and the bonus is that I will always have some new Instagram content, haha. Speaking of which, I’ve added my Instagram feed at the bottom of this blog, so feel free to take a look! It gets updated frequently, so there will be more Kobe pictures there!

The pretty sunroom annex of Ageha Cafe

The pretty sunroom annex of Ageha Cafe

Orange Chocolate Tart + Green Tea Ice-cream Soy Milk Float  [Ageha Cafe]

Orange Chocolate Tart + Green Tea Ice-cream Soy Milk Float (what a mouthful to say! I would go back for the tart, but the float was only so-so)  |  Ageha Cafe

The secluded entrance into Greenhouse Silva Cafe

The secluded entrance into Greenhouse Silva Cafe

Dining inside an actual greenhouse

Dining inside an actual greenhouse (this place has the best ambience so far!)

Omurice!  [Greenhouse Silva Cafe]

Omurice (It was decent, but I’ve had better. Their chocolate cake was good though!)  |  Greenhouse Silva Cafe

I’ll share some pictures of Rokko Island in my next post! Until then!

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