top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureNigel

Osaka and beyond 大阪

2023 年 11 月 22 日


It seemed strange to me. But it was cheaper to fly to my next destination than to take the train. It only took about an hour to fly from Tokyo to Osaka. Not very environmentally friendly I admit, so something is wrong here. And back home It's cheaper to drive into Frankfurt than to take the Sbahn. Something wrong there too.

I was a bit overwhelmed by Osaka. It seemed to be full of young people having a good time - nothing wrong with that, but for a first-timer, quite a challenge. Somehow a different vibe than Tokyo. Can't quite put my finger on it.The city was my starting point for visiting the prefecture of Wakayama, a heavily wooded mountainous region to the south. But first the big city lights.....

私には奇妙に思えました。 しかし、次の目的地までは電車に乗るより飛行機で行くほうが安かったです。 東京から大阪までは飛行機で1時間ほどしかかかりませんでした。

....and a lovely meal with Yumi-san and Hans-George in Ashiya..... (Cue for a manhole cover)...

神戸近くの芦屋でユミさんとハンス・ジョージさんと美味しい食事をしました。

... overlooking the bay.

One evening in Osaka itself I dived into one of the thousands of eateries in town, only to discover that they hardly understood me! I did get a meal in the end. And knocked my head on the door going out because it was so narrow.....not a good omen....!

In any event, there was an impressive castle to visit.....

大阪城は巨大です

with a huge moat....

Wandering around the grounds I came across this monumental stone.....what did it say? Thank goodness there was an English translation at hand......

城内を歩いていると、面白い石を発見……何て書いてあるのかな? ありがたいことに、英語の翻訳が手元にありました。


Akatsuki wo

idaite yami ni

wiru tsubomi


Clutching the dawn

the flower bud holds fast

against the darkness


This haiku was written by Akira Tsuru, a poet who was court-martialed in 1931 for distributing communist literature to his army unit. Delightful history.

Let's contemplate what is underfoot....

足元を見下ろしてください……

The sheer scale of Osaka fortress is impressive....

いんしょうてき 印象的.......

And why do crows seem to gather at castles? They are enormous creatures...and not a little menacing.....

なぜカラスはお城が好きなのでしょうか?

To get to the castle I walked by this cool building - part of which is a museum I gather......

近代的な建物も好きです

Before I leave Osaka I have to mention the trains. They have plush green seats with very shiny handles....quite unusual....and spotlessly clean of course....

大阪の電車。 とても光沢があり、きれいです!



 


I was actually quite relieved to leave this big city and stay for a couple of nights in the nearby port town of Wakayama. Now this is a interesting place. The main streets are wide and tree-lined. Things are spaced out. And I had no problem finding a nice meal - even though I was off alcohol....."Highball 199 yen".....no wonder the waitress was surprised that I was only drinking water......

実際、私はこの大都市を離れ、近くの港町、和歌山に数泊することでとても安心しました。

This was a beef dish which you cooked yourself on a little heater.....delicious!

😋

I even managed to negotiate the buses in this town....visiting the Modern Art Museum...

...and finding a strange collection of artifacts in the castle keep....

An Edo-era helmet.....

和歌山城19代目兜

A postman's gun from the turn of the century.....明治時代, Meiji jidai. As long as Amazon doesn't decide to arm its delivery drivers I don't mind a bit of history....

....and a falcon (detail) painted by one of the feudal lords in the18thc. A cultivated lot, those lords....

たか

A battle dress for women......yes, for women.....

女性用戦闘服……そう、女性用……。

But the highlight of my stay in Wakayama city (apart from this traffic sign.....)

写真を撮らなければなりませんでした

...was the discovery of this Teien behind the castle......

It is a small landscaped garden with a charming bridge crossing a lake.......

城の裏にある素敵な庭園

Of course you have to take your shoes off before entering.....

靴を脱いでください

......because the floor is highly polished, with barely noticable steps. The windows shed the light in a way which I felt was no accident....

......and enticed the eye to view the scene outside......

"Hello.........This is your author....."

こんにちは、ナイジェルです.........👋

To get to the bridge you pass a tea house, delicately integrated into the landscape....

茶屋

Light and shadow, the changing Autumn leaves. On the coast nearby (Kada) the light is different....Here it is blue that dominates......

和歌山市近くの鹿戸の海岸。 青....

...or the ruddy rust of a boat slipway.........still functioning....

赤錆とか

...enough to pull this boat out of the water if needs be.....What a colour...is it blue or green? Depending on the culture, you will find wide variations in the definition of blue or green around the world....

これは青ですか、緑ですか……?


 

Let's turn our attention to dolls for a minute. Dolls? yes. Dolls hina ningyo have always played a role in Japanese households, especially on childrens` days. But what to do with them if you haven't got any more space in your house? The Shinto tradition would not accept their destruction. So it is in this fishing port of Kada that there is a Shinto shrine devoted to.......dolls and others.

Let's have a look at it......First a general view of the front of the shrine or Jinja....Lots of vermilion red - the colour of the Ur-religion of Japan....

Kada-Awashina Jinja shrine.....

Now let's get a bit closer.....

.......now we turn to the left.......

...and now look around the corner......yes....we are now in frog territory....

I will not try and explain this. I simply present my observations......even the purification pavilion has a frog......a big one.

これについては説明しません。 私の観察を簡単に紹介します……お清めの館にもカエルがいます……大きなカエルがいます。

One thing was certain. The deeper I got into Wakayama the more Shinto shrines I encountered.

Kada is full of old houses......

加太には古い家がたくさんある

Some of which have their feline guardians.....

".........吾輩は猫である......." (Thank you Natsume Sosecki😉)

...and some of which are for sale ".....Historic house, entrance light still working...."

古い家を買いたいですか?

I took a stroll on the beach......

ビーチで

....and measured some new sea defences.....

Time to take the train home to town....

和歌山市内のホテルに戻ります


✈️ Thank you for reading "..Osaka and Beyond.."

 "..大阪.."を読んでんでくれてありがとう



 ✈️ Feel free to share the blog with friends.

よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください



    ✈️ And it would be nice to hear from you...!

そしてコメントしてください...


p.s. I saw a penguin in Wakayama 🤣





THE END

👋

終わり
















81 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page