The part of Japan where I have spent most of my time since I moved here, is the Kansai area, which is natural, as I live in Kobe. I’ve got to say that my impression of Kobe is very good, from my first day here I knew that I liked it. It’s a great place, and even though I had read that there’re a lot of foreigners here, I don’t see that many, which is a good thing.
There’s Rokko Island though, a man-made island outside of Kobe, where a lot of international companies have their offices and where a lot of foreigners live. There’s even a German school, and a Canadian high school. The Japanese say that «Rokko Island isn’t Japan», and I agree with that – it doesn’t feel like Japan, with all the american housewives having coffee and gossiping at Tully’s Coffee, Germans going for a jog in neon colored outfits, and teenagers complaining about this and that in a loud voice, even on the train.
As ironic as it may seem, my university is at Rokko Island. The students at my uni are mostly Japanese of course, but there’re also a huge «population» of Chinese students, and many Vietnamese students. And then there’s me and my friend Didrik. We are the only Norwegians, and also the only non-Asian people at the whole uni, which can be both a good and a bad thing, I think. But more of that in a later post, what I wanted to write about is Rokko Island, since it’s a modern and nice part of Kobe. I like the buildings, the fake river that runs through the Island, the Rokko Liner track which goes around 10-15 meters above the ground, surrounded by flowers and trees. They even have festivals there, which are actually very fun, because the Island is so international.
When all that is said, I’m glad I don’t live at the Island. It’s a bit isolated. I don’t like being around other Western foreigners that much, unless they are here for the same purpose as me, which is studying, and most of all learning the language. I don’t have any interest in getting to know ignorant people who are here only because they were «forced to» by their company, and who has no interest in the Japanese way of life whatsoever. I can still enjoy the modern architecture and the nice sea breeze at the Island though, and the occasional coffee at Tully’s. *haha*