Sunday, January 27, 2013


Today, Anne-Louise, Mimi and Kathy traveled by train to Kobe to visit a couple of museums.

First, we went to the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. I've got some pics below. I was especially impressed that they had each of the stations narrated in Japanese AND English! What a relief to be able to actually understand what I was seeing for a change. I am challenged to find information stated in English, so sometimes when I admire a monument or a building, I simply have to admire it for what it appears to me to be. The reality is that there is probably some wonderfully amazing and historical story behind that particular item, and I have no idea what it may be because I haven't studied the Kanji symbols and therefore can't read the language.

Pics below are of the Sake Museum.

Next, we visited the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution. Here we watched a couple of videos (also narrated in English as well as Japanese!) about the earthquake in Kobe in 1995. The sights on those videos moved me to tears. I never really payed attention to the news about this earthquake 18 years ago -- perhaps it is because I am a typical American and too wrapped up in my own affairs to notice anything important going on in another part of the world. The impact of that earthquake was so important to the very community in which I was now standing. Over 6,400 lives were lost, tens of thousands were injured. The institution was about so much more than depicting the devastation. It was about Japan pulling together and creating the first (yes, the first) real organized volunteer program of this magnitude. It was about rebuilding, it was about recognizing that disasters like this cannot be prevented, but sharing knowledge and being prepared can reduce the impact of disasters like this in the future.

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