July 25, 2008
Today was our 6th anniversary and it turned out to be a very magical and romantic day. We had planned to go to a small little cafe in a tourist town in Kobe called Harbor Land. Harbor Land is a great place to visit.When you walk on the streets at night every corner is lit with soft light. The streets are spotless, and everywhere you look there are works of art. A pair of bronze whales playing in the small motes just outside the malls and shops that linethe street have beautiful blue lights on their heads that reflect wonderfully in the water.The shops and buildings are works of art as well. All modern marvels, they add to the beautyand the majesty of the place. The jewel of Harbor Land is Garden Canal, a promenade of shops and restaurants overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is here where our little café makes it home. A mixture of Tex-Mex, and Native American art, it is perhaps the coziest place we have ever seen. It is called Humming Bird Café. The owner a sweet lady who has turned her love and appreciation for Native American and South Western art into a way of life. Her primary source of income is her small shop that sells Native American art. She has been to Arizona and New Mexico, and has several Native American friends who supply her with authentic Native American jewelry and art. In addition to her jewelry and art gallery, she has a little café that she says is a place where people can come and relax, read a book, and take their time. Amidst the bustling streets of Kobe, Humming Bird is a haven full of cushy chairs, and smiling and accommodating staff who cater to your every need and make you feel at home. Home and feeling at home is truly the sense you get when you step into the candle lit café adorned with South Western art. The minute you sit down, you find your muscles relaxing and every thing seems right with the world. The New Age music also creates a sense of peace. Unfortunately, although we have only been their once before tonight, it doesn’t seem is busy as it ought to be. Our friend Jordan who introduced us to the place told us she has never seen it full of people, and she has known about the place for several months. So, eager to patronize local restaurants and enamored of the owner and her wish to create a haven for her customers, we decided to try to go to the place as much as possible. So, we immediately thought of celebrating our anniversary there, and that decision turned out to be the beginning of a magical night.We arrived at Humming Bird at around 7:45. The café was completely empty except for the staff who seemed thrilled when we came in. An eager and bubbly waitress showed us to a table on the terrace overlooking a small walkway and a manmade stream. Throughout our dinner, the waitress refilled our waters, and checked on us. After we ate, we talked with the waitress and told her that it was our anniversary. We showed her our anniversary gifts and talked a bit about where we were from and the time we spent in Yamagata. While we were chatting, a customer showed up, so our waitress left our table. I was thinking of leaving soon because I wanted to go to down town Kobe to have dessert at a cake shop. Kobe is famous for their cake shops. My students are always raving about the cake shops and recommending that I go, but as I am trying to eat healthier, I decided to go to a cake shop on a special day, and what more special day than our wedding anniversary. Doug looked at his watch, and said that if we left now, we wouldn’t make anything that closed at 10, so we should just relax and then head out at 10; it was 9:45. So, we took our time and talked and sipped our drinks. Then, our waitress arrived with a dinner platter of complimentary cakes, and two martini glasses filled with rose water martinis with cylindrical ice cubes with mini-roses (see pictures). The best and most moving part of the dessert was the greeting written in chocolate along the edge of the plate, “6th Happy Anniversary.” Of course we did not go to downtown Kobe for cake. It was like being in a dream. We saved two of the mini roses for keepsakes and toasted to a long and happy marriage with our martinis (a strange but refreshing drink with a subtle taste of roses). When we paid our bill, the chef came out to say hello, and we thanked him profusely for the beautiful dessert. He seemed quite pleased. Afterward, we bid our new best friends farewell, and walked around window shopping. We also rode a Ferris wheel and timidly looked at the night view Kobe is famous for. When we finally touched down to earth, we were offered a picture that they had taken before we got on the Ferris wheel, and we of course bought it because it was our anniversary after all. We ended the night by walking around the promenade and then went home exhausted but thrilled. It was a truly 6th happy anniversary.Stay tuned for more installments of our continuing adventure in Kobe!