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Since the arrival of Michelle, we haven't gotten very far from home. Most weekends are spent on Rokko Island, but when island fever sets in, we often head to nearby Harborland, a family oriented entertainment and shopping district in downtown Kobe. It is wildly popular and packed every weekend. We used to take the shuttle boat from Rokko Island to Harborland in the morning, spend the day shopping, eat at either The Old Spaghetti Factory or Sizzler's (Sizzler's has the better view of the harbor), then catch the boat or train back to Rokko.

Unfortunately, the boat stopped running recently. The amusement park which was located next to the boat pier on Rokko Island closed due to the earthquake, so there's not much reason to take the boat to Rokko.

But that's ok. Now we have even more reason to go to Harborland: micro brewery beer at a German beer hall!

Behind us and to the left in the top picture is the symbol of Kobe Port, the Port Tower. To the right is the Okura Hotel. B is clearly in goofy mode.

Harborland night

Harborland day

These days, a trip to Harborland can be quite hazardous. A new shopping complex, Harbor Circus, just opened in Harborland and it contains a Toys 'R Us store and a SofMap computer mega store.We seldom make it by both without some amount of damage to the bank account.    Top

Up in Shiga Prefecture on the shores of Lake Biwa is a new and pretty spectacular museum about the lake. The museum includes dinosaur, insect, animal, geologic and cultural exhibits, and histories of other fresh water lakes around the world, as well as a fresh-water aquarium.

Biwako aquarium 2

Biwako aquarium


Christmas time at the Kariya/Porritt house. Brian, Calvin and Michelle  Top

I'm not sure what Calvin is doing here. Playing patty cake, perhaps? Doesn't seem to bother Michelle.

And yes, that's a hibiscus flower behind Calvin.The hibiscus, jasmine and other tropical flowers don't like winter anymore than Steve or Yoko do, so they get to come inside for the duration.

 Calvin and Michelle  Top

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