|And so it is. For the third straight year, the city of Kobe put up this
light spectacular and invited a few close friends (about 3 million) to view
it . We weren't intending to go as we still hadn't recovered from the crowd-mauling
we received last
year, but one recent Saturday, while Christmas shopping at Toys 'R Us
in Harborland, we met up with Friend Don and New Friend Masumi. Well, that
called for a beer. And so we headed for the new beer hall in the Mosaic
part of Harborland. Turned out to be a branch of Don's and my favorite hangout
in Sannomiya, the Meunhen Beer Hall*. From there, we went to the new Danny
Boy* pub in the HarborCircus part of Harborland for their famous Irish coffee.
(Have I ever mentioned how much the family likes Harborland?) And from there,
we went to Dubliner's (by the new Daimaru Dept. Store*), where the friendly
Irish staff served us Guinness and Kilkenney's from the tap. Finally, physically
primed and mentally prepped, we stepped outside and, fearlessly, painlessly,
and quite happily, flung ourselves head first into the Luminare crowd. And
lived to tell this tale.
* All of these places -- Meunhen, Danny Boy, and Daimaru -- were destroyed by the earthquake, and only this year have come back on line.
This is the start of the madness, just down the street from the Dubliner's pub. And these are a few of the people we met along the way. (Hello, there! Didn't we meet all of you up in Kyoto a few weekends ago?)
From this point on, I turned on the handycam and, pushing Michelle's stroller with one hand, held the handycam over my head with the other hand and walked down the street. Here's a tiny clip of that perilous journey. (QuickTime)
We're on the train and heading home, but Yoko is already feeling the effects of the night's pub crawl. Brian, Calvin, and Michelle (off-screen, strapped into her stroller) are all exhausted from the Toys 'R Us shopping excitement.
This is where the REAL fun usually starts after a day at Harborland: trying to keep everyone awake so that Daddy doesn't have to carry them, the stroller, and the day's purchases off the train, up the platform stairs, through the ticket wicket, up the stairs to the RokkoLiner platform, onto the train, off the train, down the platform stairs, through the ticket wicket, across the bridge to the apartment building, into the elevator, out of the elevator, into the apartment and, finally, into bed. Whew! Luckily, Yoko woke up and didn't need to be carried.