Osaka Castle

A Ride to the City

It was Saturday. Time to go to Osaka Castle!

We met up at Fujiidera station at 10:00, just like before. I got there early, and it was very hot and humid, so I made my way over to the air-conditioned 7-Eleven to get myself something other than my water bottle to drink. I got myself some ice cream, and I chose this tea to drink, because it had K-On! merchandise affixed to it. Yes, drink companies. That's all it takes.

Collect them all!

It even had a little stick for me to pick them up with. How cute.

It wasn't long before the group showed up. After following a moderately-confusing network of trains and subways, we arrived outside the Osaka Museum of History. It's a really tall, cool-looking building.

I don't know what this structure is, but I took a picture, dang-it!
There was some kind of Evangelion display event going on.
I've never seen a single episode, but I thought it was pretty cool.

We went inside to the ticket counter, and bought the tickets. If I remember right, it was 900 yen for the museum and the castle together. After buying our tickets, we lined up and took an elevator up to one of the higher floors. We were to start from the top and make our way down via escalators.

The view when we stepped out of the elevator.
 The top floor was primarily for the oldest stuff. There were lots of fossils and fragments of old housing and money.

There were little screens set up so you could read
about the things on display.
 There were a few showcases with models and little reconstructions of cities/temples.

This was lighting up different colors to show us... something.
I don't know what.

There was a video showing with details about Osaka's history, and an employee who was there to help people find there way around.

 After the video was over (I only caught the tail end of it), a shutter opened to reveal a view of Osaka.

The employee showed us where to go down to the next floor, so we moved on. I stopped to take a couple of pictures in the corner between the escalators.

I could see the castle in the distance.
Some kind of cool building.
 I took a picture of myself, too.
I look so happy.

There were stamp stations on each and every floor, each with its own unique stamp.

 The second floor from the top had some more modern civilization on display. I don't know much about the history of Japan, but this floor was probably the coolest. It reminded me a lot of Samurai Champloo. Sorry, it always comes back around to anime.

I was playing with my camera's tilt-shift function.

There was a doll up on a tatami platform. A lady near it was trying to tell me that there was some kind of performance going on soon, but I didn't know (and still don't know) what it is called, so I didn't really understand her. I just knew stuff was going down in about 10 minutes. So I decided to explore the floor a little more and come back.

We later got to play with this doll.
It's used in the art of... something.
This is a huge, rotating model of a village.

I like these old Japanese prints.

It was time for the show. I actually got to participate. They gave a few of us gloves, and we took off our shoes and stepped up onto the platform. It was here I learned the valuable art of making a puppets arm move realistically.

I took a couple more pictures, then moved onto the next floor. But before I made it all the way down, I played with my camera's tilt-shift function some more.

They look so tiny.

The next floor had a kids area and a special display of Japanese kites. I wasn't supposed to take a picture of them, but before I realized that, I got a really good angle of them, plus the "do not take pictures, dummy" sign right in front of me. Too late.

There was a view of the next (lower)  floor.
Playing with tilt-shift again.
This floor didn't have much on it. To the right was
some kind of kid's area.
Look at that beautiful illustration of a camera.
The next floor was about the modernization of Japan. It's funny how western everything looks after a certain point in history. Half of the floor was dedicated to models of people , trains, houses, and stunningly realistic food.

Glad to see they had the same sense of humor back then.

Some newer stuff. That may have been the oldest
TV I have ever seen in person.
The Road to Osaka Castle

It had started to rain while we were exploring the museum. The Japanese people already had umbrellas, but many of us gaijin, including myself, hadn't bothered to check the forecast, so we ended up buying 5-dollar umbrellas at the gift shop.

My new weapon.
Power stance.
In the lobby connecting the museum to a mall, there was a huge glass dome, and water was running down it. It was pretty cool looking.

We stepped outside and prepared to walk to Osaka Castle.

Kilo testing his umbrella on the dome runoff.

Jackson gazing pensively at the moat.

Osaka Castle was just across the street. Well, the castle itself was a lot farther away than that, but the courtyard containing it was right next to the museum we were just in.

The second "moat" area was a really cool sight,
all overgrown with those huge stones.

We stopped underneath this pavilion. Some of us bought snacks, some of us who didn't buy umbrellas before finally broke down and bought umbrellas. I stopped there to put the stuff in my pockets into a plastic baggie I happened to have in my backpack. I also let Jackson, who was determined to not use an umbrella, put his stuff in there. This would actually became the new default place for my passport. I had been keeping it in my pocket before.

"If you're a man, shut up and have a drink!"
I kept my camera out of the baggie and clutched tightly to my chest. I wasn't going to miss taking pictures of this awesome place.

There was what looked like a school
near the castle.

The Castle!

We finally got to the foot of the castle. It was a truly majestic sight.

The ticket gate was just at the entrance to the castle itself, and in my opinion, the inside of the castle was pretty unremarkable, and I wasn't allowed to take pictures for most of it anyway. If I ever come back to see it, I'll probably save a few bucks and just look from the outside.

People were throwing money into the well at the entrance. Instead of throwing coins, I pointed my camera in and took a flash picture, thinking I might be able to see the bottom. I couldn't.

Once inside, we took the elevator to the 5th (iirc) floor. It was basically another museum inside, only I couldn't take pictures. Also, the exhibits weren't quite as interesting.

First, we went to the top, where there was a pretty good view.

The museum we just came from.
There was fencing, preventing anybody
from dropping anything.

Dustin took a picture for me. Thanks Dustin!
Dustin is not amused.

Photos were allowed only on a couple of floors.

There were stamp stations here, too.
On this floor, there were hologram videos.
Kind of reminded me of this.
Jackson helped me take this picture. Thanks Jackson!

I eventually arrived at the bottom floor. There was a gift shop, so I bought a couple gifts, and then walked around the corner to a dark room which was serving as a theater. They were showing some stuff about Osaka Castle, translated into a few languages. I waited near there with Nozomu, Sean, and Jackson for what seemed like an eternity.

Eventually, everybody showed up and we were on our way.

Jackson was soaked, and proud of it.

Jackson's "Sexy Hair ®"

Winding Down

We headed back the way we came, and took another complicated network of trains back to Tennoji, where we split up to find something to eat.

"Fathers day together" - a Suntory Whiskey ad.
"Watch out for the door"
They have women-only trains in Japan, presumably
to protect from gropers.
The view from outside Tennoji station.

Jackson and I got some yakisoba at Q's mall, that mall we went to earlier. It was delicious. Jackson got omelette soba, and a lot of it. It looked hard to finish.

The place we got our food from.

It was the weekend, and since the internet, err, I mean Rick, the person who was kindly letting us use his portable wi-fi, would be gone all weekend, Jackson and I decided to stop by a net cafe.

The cubicle I was assigned.
A poster explaining services, such as
how to connect to the free wi-fi.
There was a locker at each one of the cubicles.
It was a really cool place. It was about 4 dollars for 1 hour at a booth, which was more than enough time for me to plan the next day's trip, and surf the net a bit. There were other types of booths, such as more private, room-like booths, some with beds in them. There was a tanning room, a couple shower rooms, and the walls were lined with manga that patrons could borrow. They had a printer, and I think it was 10 cents to print a page.

It was a very convenient place. Unfortunately, these places were few and far between. I never saw one outside of a busy city, like Abenobashi, where this one was. There were a few times that I wish I had planned a little better, because I needed information about the area that only the internet could provide, and I had no access. The following day, for example. I'll talk about that more in the next post.

The front desk.
A small kiosk with pamphlets. I took one home.
It was getting late, and the train home was pretty empty, probably partially due to the rain.

It wasn't long before we arrived back at the dorm, and I was finally able to take off my damp pants and shoes and socks. I was wearing green shoes, and apparently the green washed out a little. I have spared you from seeing the picture of my foot, which was also a shade of green from my shoes. Luckily it all washed right out, of my socks and my feet.

Without context, this picture could be
pretty disturbing, I imagine.
It had been a long day, and it was winding down at last. I was ready to go to bed and get up bright and early for my first completely solo adventure: an anime pilgrimage of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya."

What's that, you say? Well I'll tell you all about it next time!

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