Tuesday, December 1, 2009

24 Hours in Osaka

I recently spent 24 hours in Osaka taking the GRE and wandering around the city. It was a surreal experience (ah, curse you scam of a test, GRE!), but I always enjoy a solo trip to an unknown place. (Above, a solo bus ride)
I was feeling rather gloomy after a night of sleeping in a bed right under the train line and truly failing the GRE, so I decided to wander around Osaka castle and its surrounding park. These bushes seemed like they should be in some Tim Burton creation.

The castle was surrounded by two moats with heavily fortified entrances guarded by flower arrangements!

Approaching the castle.

Bridge from castle to park to skyscrapers.

Moat! I love the idea of moats.

Castle walls made of amazing stones. Pondering the stones.

The castle. I have been disapointed so far in my visits to Japanese castles - the historian in me who grew up going to Plymouth Village and other historical reenactment towns always wants to see the inner workings of the castle along with people dressed as lords and servants. But most Japanese castles seem to have suffered seiges and bombing and have often very recently been repaired, so their insides were turned into museums full of miniature models of the castle you are in. I have yet to see a floor or even a room of a castle that is completely preserved as it was, but lots of funny videos.

The view from the top of the castle.

I guess iguanas like castles too? These people brought their iguanas to the front of the castle.

I was feeling really awful after my GRE failure, but after reading about the last seige of Osaka castle, where the lord and lady of the castle commited ritual suicide when they knew that they had lost, I couldn't help but brighten a little and think "Well, hey, at least I'll never marry a man whose status will force me to commit suicide in the face of defeat."