Kobe, Japan
As we approached Kobe, a little boat put on a water show for us.
When we pulled up to the dock, a band was playing American marching music, causing 600 passengers to cheer wildly. It was truly exciting to see the reception we received.
Our own ship responded to the music, with Scott MacLeod's excellent bagpiping. The band cheered and clapped for him in return.
When we got off the ship, our first stop was an all you can eat sushi bar (1000 yen for women; 1500 yen for men!). The sushi tantalized us as the little dishes went past on a conveyer belt, and we got full quickly.
Here is an exceptionally nice family from Utah sharing our Semester at Sea (and sushi) adventure: the Kigers. Gary (Kiger) and Deborah (Byrnes) and daughter Elizabeth (9 years old) are showing how many plates of sushi Gary can put away. Actually, there is a secret: he had lots of help from his family. The mom and dad are both teaching in the Semester at Sea program, and Deborah has even organized an innovative Kid Core program that she holds after the college students' required "Core" world geography course.
Some drummers performed, and danced and fought while playing!
Here's Lauren standing outside the incredible Golden Pavilion shrine.
At several shrines, you are invited to drink and wash with some water that is supposed to bring good luck. Here are Carole and Lauren trying to get some.
Here are some smaller folks trying their luck with lucky water.
Children are so very friendly here. They jump at the chance to get photographed. It's hard to take candid shots because they are so eager to smile and wave.
Here are more of them hamming it up!
At a Ryokin, we were treated to several authentic Japanese experiences. Here is how we looked in our kimonos. One student asked several times if we could wear them to dinner and begged at least a few others to try. The result: EVERYONE wore them! It was a great suggestion.
We had an entire dining room to ourselves and we were treated to a wonderful sukiaki dinner. One of the students said it was one of two of the best meals he's ever had.
This buddah was huge--easily four or five stories high or more.
We visited a tall building in Osaka called the Floating Garden, and this escalator ride afforded us an incredible view as we hung dozens of stories in the air.
Lauren and Emily had fun with this Golden Retriever in a pet store in Chin Kobe.
One of the most touching moments for me was when this Japanese student sang opera to us as we left. She had a strong operatic voice that boomed across the watery gap between the ship and the pier, and rose above the din of the motors. The sign said it all!
Our operatic treat was followed by a gymnastic treat as she leapt into the air and the crowd on the ship cheered. There were indeed some damp eyes as we drifted away from the pier.

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Photos copyright 1999, Dennis F. Galletta