Two weeks in Japan have now passed, and they went by too fast! I have some very good news though: I confirmed my A-1 Japanese beginner level and I’m very proud of it! I can now express myself in Japanese and understand a bit of it – it’s a big progression 🙂 This immersive experience in the language while staying with a host family is absolutely unique and incredible. During my language stay in Kobe, I became much closer to my Japanese family and met amazing people. To close these incredible 2 weeks, here’s a recap of what I loved about Japan and especially about Kobe and its surroundings:
My favourites in Kobe:
- Merikien Park and the view of the ocean
- The lively area of Sannomiya
- The kawaii photo booths and other crazy Japanese games
- The snacks with cream filling (delicious… you should try them asap!!!)
- Okonomiyaki (kind of savoury crèpes) and Kobe beef
- The stunning Ikuta Jinka temple
- The activities organised by Lexis Japan, to have a full Japanese experience: tea ceremony, calligraphy, temples guided tours, visit to a saké factory, sushi class, approach to Japanese culture
- And of course, learning Japanese at Lexis Japan is the best way to have a special experience with an amazing educational team (especially Mio, who made my 2 weeks absolutely great!)
The secret spots that I discovered thanks to Mio and her team during my language stay in Kobe are the following:
- The Kobe City Hall for it’s unique view of the city
- The Venus Bridge for a night view
- The Akaishi Kakyo Bridge – the world’s longest bridge!
- A secret gastronomic restaurant in Sannomiya, where you can see another side of the Japanese cuisine
My favourites in the Kansai region:
- The crazy KitKat flavours (melon, matcha tea, wasabi, cheesecake…)
- The very traditional Kyoto (1h from Kobe), with its beautiful temples (my top 3: Fushimi Inari Teisha, Kinkaku-ji, Kenninji)
- Japanese women wearing kimonos make you want to wear them as well! Then you realise how difficult it is to fit and wear them.
- The city of Nara (1h30 from Kobe) for its Great Buddha temple and the free roaming deer that you can feed and pet
- The crazy city of Osaka (30-45mins from Kobe) for its grandiose aspect
What surprised me:
- Rice and tea almost in every meal
- Japanese bathrooms
- Sleeping on a futon bed: this is a good reason to go back to Europe, as it’s hard to adapt to that!
- The plastic food presentations in front of each restaurant
- The cleanliness and organisation of trains and metro
- The kindness of Japanese people, who are always very respectful and helpful
- The fact that speaking and understanding Japanese didn’t take me that long
My least favourites:
- Owl bars: don’t go! I didn’t know that animals were attached (it’s basically hell, for birds that are supposed to fly!) and I’m still very shocked by this experience. I hated it and I still can’t believe that these kinds of things are tolerated.
- “Mochi”: made of rice cake and very… slimy! But you should try it anyway, because it’s very traditional.
If I could, I would totally go again on a language stay in Kobe! Japan is an amazing country and spending some time there to learn the language and live with the locals is a unique experience. Go for it!