His cowboy vest and Johnny Depp goatee

I woke up in a different part of Japan this morning: Kobe.

I would come here often when I was younger to make friends with the children from international schools, but after I started working it was difficult to get out a lot. Kobe is a beautiful town, especially when you go up towards the mountains. To me it looks like a Japanese version of what Paris would look like. Cafés left and right with cute antique shops all along the road and wedding chapels that look like they we’re built one hundred years ago. As I was walking with my family, I also had the treat of finding a one-man tightrope circus in this hidden square up in the mountain area of Sannomiya. The area was made of brick and elderly gentleman were selling their art under the vines that grew on the wall. It is a picturesque area. The city has a reputation of having more rich families and restaurants being a bit on the pricier side, but the people are very nice. Sannomiya is also the only place in Kansai where they have a Synagogue, Mosque, Catoholic Church, and Christian Churches all in the same area. It is beautiful that everyone seems to get along though the religions are different.

I ended the afternoon talking to a new friend of mine that I met at the Synagogue. He was a Jewish man full of energy and dressed like Zorro and the pirate from The Princess Bride.

Born in the States but currently living in Japan with a Chinese wife, he was the most interesting person I have had the pleasure to meet in a while. Harry bounced from topic and topic, and never ran out of words. During our conversation he mentioned how he loved to talk to those who seemed like the Black Sheep of the group. He described himself as “The Friend of the Friendless” because he didn’t want anyone feeling left out. Though we only chatted a short while in the afternoon, I felt that my sisters and I had become instant friends with him. He made everyone feel right at home with his cowboy vest and Johnny Depp goatee.


3 thoughts on “His cowboy vest and Johnny Depp goatee

  1. Once, a long time ago…it probably wasn’t a long time ago…writers tend to dramatize everything…… Once, a while ago, I read a blog about “Japan Hands”. Though it is no longer a common term, the idea was that if you stay long enough in Japan you are considered a “Japan Hand”, but if you stay even longer you become, in the words of the author, a “Japan Character.” I don’t know if this was the kind of person they were referring to… but the romantic in me says it was.
    As I type this, I remember that I read it in the Kansai Time Out (how dearly it is missed) and it was a biography (perhaps obituary) for someone who lived in Kobe.
    Sorry this reply took a slightly macabre turn–I also seemed to have lost my point.
    I guess, where I originally intended was to comment on some of the wonderful and different characters (and I mean that positively) that you can meet if you try.
    Thanks for the post.

    1. Anthony, thank you always for commenting and liking on the blog. I always enjoy seeing your posts when I wake up.
      I never heard about Japan Hands before! Ill have to make it resurface. Was it a term only used by foreigners?
      I remember the Kansai Time Out as well. It was a favorite of mine, but unfortunately it is long gone and had seemed to have gotten replaced by The Kansai Scene, which is also a fun one.
      It is really true. There are so many people in my life that I wouldn’t have met had I not mustarded up the courage to introduce myself or kept an open mind, and now I can’t imagine life without them. Japan tends to attract a lot of interesting like-minded people which is what I love most about this country. You never get bored 🙂
      Again, thank you for the comment! 🙂

      1. You are welcome.
        I think the term started with China hands, which was for those merchants who had an affinity for China, Chinese and Chinese culture–Okay, I checked Wikipedia… anyway, later, by some at least, it came to be applied to foreigners in Japan.

        I am always happy to comment on the things I read, but do not always have anything earthshattering to say.

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