This was an elusive day trip that we finally succeeded in having this time around. My first year nobody took initiative to make it happen, then my second year it was cancelled due to typhoony weather, but finally it was Matt Katch who got on the horn and made it happen. The trip itself consists of little more than riding a boat and going to a restaurant, but the people you go with and what you make of it that justifies the outing. Some people went over on the 6am ferry, but about half the crew thought ourselves somewhat less ambitious than that. Heading over at a more reasonable 3pm, a number of us enjoyed the beautiful views of the inland sea and took part in some upper deck chatter.
The Jumbo Ferry makes the four hour journey between Takamatsu and Kobe a few times a day and at 3000 per round trip it is easily the cheapest way of getting to Kansai. So for us to make a day trip where we leave on a ferry, arrive for dinner and shortly thereafter leave for home isn’t so totally lucrative.
With my hair getting longer, this was a drastic but necessary measure against the sea breeze.
Once docked, we jumped over to the Harbor Town area and met the early-bird crew in front of a restaurant simply named ‘Brazilian’. This restaurant has always been a part of this event on account of the unique nature of the menu. In addition to the standard assortment of buffet options, a Brazilian crew would come around with skewers of exquisite meat that they would then carve off onto your plate. Japan knows how to make some delicious meat, such as what’s available right there in Kobe, but there are certain aspects of the meat experience that they miss altogether. At this restaurant however, I was absolutely reveling in the sirloin, tenderloin, chops, steaks, chicken hearts and pineapples that they were effortlessly slicing away from the Flintstones sized cuts. This too was a buffet and I was sure to make the most of it. I’ve probably never enjoyed meat to this extent while in Japan.
We stayed for nearly two hours bandying wit, laughing over drinks and getting to know each other. It was a good chance for me to catch up on getting to know some of the newer teachers too, since I had been gone for all the social month of August. We were the last patrons to leave the place but before we left I was able to put in one last order of the night’s best meat.
From Harbor Town, we walked over to a bustling park where we awaited the 1am return ferry to Takamatsu. We probably spent an hour chatting with the locals and dancing with the street performers, but it all good fun.
As soon as we were on the boat back, I was overcome with exhaustion and took to the concrete floor. It was not the best of sleep though. From there Gary and I rocked out to a little Dave Matthews Band, erroneously ordered a couple Egg McMuffins (which come with ham, rather than the superior sausage option) and then despite the rays of the rising sun, I slipped deep into sleep. The Kobe Ferry Trip had finally taken place and it was everything I had hoped for, my only regret however was that there weren’t more people along to experience it.