Showing posts from March, 2013

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan. This was the site of Ishiyama-Hongan-ji Temple which was the toughest forces of resistance against Hideyoshi.

After the overthrowing them, Toyotomi Hideyoshi ruled over the country and began to construct this castle in 1583, placed the headquarter of his administration here. Hideyoshi died in 1598.

After the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu took over the rule in 1603. In the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Osaka, Yodogimi, the second wife of Hideyoshi, and the successor Hideyori suicided in here. Toyotomi family perished in 1615.

Tokugawa Shogunate was functioned this castle as the core of the control of the western Japan and Osaka until 1868.

In 1935, the castle was rebuilt. Now the Osaka Castle Park is the largest park and the most popular tourist spot in the city.

I visited here yesterday. Due to the cherry blossom viewing, a lot of people, not only Japanese but also foreigners, came and were enjoying barbecuing and h…


Senpukan is a historic, the oldest Western-style building in Osaka, and stands facing O-kawa River. It used to  be a guest house for the Japanese Mint Bureau. The Meiji Emperor stayed here during his visit to Osaka in 1872. The building was constructed according to the Colonial Veranda style with the granite outer pillars, designed by Thomas Waters, an Irish architect.

After three years renovation, Senpukan temporarily opens in public for only three days. When I arrived at a little past 10:00, many visitors have already been standing in line waiting for their turns. I had to wait for more than a hour.

Flowers at Dusk

They say, in Japan, that cherry blossoms, the sakura, is the symbol of the joyful moment and the transience, which is associated with Buddhistic influence. The flowers in full bloom come suddenly and fall soon. It is epitomized as "mono no aware". Cherry blossoms also can be the symbol of sadness. Ichiyo Higuchi depicted the saddest scene with falling flowers in her first novella, 'Flowers at Dusk'.

Flowers at Dusk (Yamizakura) by Ichiyo Higuchi, 1892.

Ryonosuke is 22 years old and Chiyo is 16 years old. They grew up together as childhood friends. At dusk on the Day of the Martial Guardian in February, they go out to enjoy browsing at community events. Chiyo clings to Ryonosuke's arm as they stroll along. And then her girlfriends see them and tease, "You two certainly look friendly! What are you up to?"

Since this happened, Chiyo has become aware of yearning for him. However, Ryonosuke hasn't noticed her love.

Chiyo gets sick. She says, "Oh, Mo…

Bird-watching (2)

The weather forecast said it was sunny and going to be hot, the temperature was going up to 18 degrees in the afternoon. I went to Tonbo-ike Park alone in the morning yesterday.

In the midst of the pond, I found tufted ducks. But they hadn't moved at all as if they were sleeping.

This time, since there were many people in the center of the park, I went to the path on the hill around the park.

I could see a pale thrush and a dusky thrush on the opening below a summerhouse. I found pale thrushes and dusky thrushes in the opening across the path too. I thought that dusky thrushes grew a little larger than the size of the last month.

I found a varied tit on a tree branch. I tried to take pictures of it, but it was too far for my cheap camera.

Although there were many dusky thrushes and brown-eared bulbuls, it was hard for me to find other birds and take pictures. My skill hasn't improved yet.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I'm getting old, so I'm at the age of being curious about the next world. I think that I won't live a long time anymore. I may need to prepare myself mentally and spiritually. But no one knows what goes on in Heaven.

Mitch Albom, the author of this book, published some heartwarming books. The most famous book is "Tuesdays With Morrie".

Eddie is an 83-year-old maintenance man in an amusement park. He thinks he had a worthless life, nothing to be proud of. This story begins at the end. The author says, "But all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time." On Eddie's 83rd birthday, an accident happens and Eddie dies trying to save a lonely eight-year-old girl.

Eddie goes to the Heaven and soon meets five people one after another. The five people does not necessarily mean that they are all his family or good friends. There are some people whom he doesn't want to remember or doesn't remember, or doesn't know. He meets…


Today, March 3rd, is the day of Hina-matsuri.

We do celebrate 'Hina-matsuri' or the Doll's Festival for the future happiness of girls. The parents with daughters display a set of dolls dressed in court people's costumes from the Heian period.

When my daughters were kids, my father gave them a set of small porcelain dolls. My daughters have grown up, but even now, my wife display the dolls for about two weeks until today every year.