I just asked my wife how Kobe’s Chinatown makes her feel. “Hungry,” she replied. Sure enough, me too. Visions of roast ducks dance in my head, like those chickens in Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer music video, except slathered with sugary plum sauce. Then I dream of butaman, pork buns, hopping one by one into a baths of vinegar, soy sauce and hot mustard before leaping into my watering mouth…
Indecent food fantasies aside, Nankinmachi is magical and fascinating. To begin with, it’s brimming with visual delights. Everywhere you turn, there’s a Spiderman statue crawling up the side of a building and so much neon, you’d be forgiven for believing you got sucked into the Game Grid from Tron.
It seems like there’s always some kind of event going on there, too. We’ve happened to catch two dragon dances, during one of which I got eaten (don’t worry; I lived – getting “eaten” by a dragon is apparently good luck).
Because it’s so entertaining and there’s so much tasty food, Chinatown is one of the few touristy areas I like to go to on a regular basis. Yes, it’s crowded and the pigeons there are annoyingly ballsy, but visiting is so worth it.