Today I did something a little more worthwhile, by going to Osaka Castle. It’s an ancient structure that sits in the heart of this modern city. The thing was used as a base of operations for Totoyomi Hideyoshi and his clan’s opponent Tokugawa Ieyasu and the whole thing has been rebuilt three times. The castle walls are sheer unscaleable and staggered and labyrinthine and surrounded by moats. The sole purpose of this castle is to force the attackers to take the longest route, slowing them down for the defenders. And it’s a steep climb into the tower itself. While it looks like five floors on the outside its really eight, with a observation deck at the top. It’s a pretty good vantage point to see the seemingly endless sprawl that is this city. The entire tower has a variety of regular exhibits and this time (I think) was dedicated to the mythos surrounding the Sengoku Period and the conflicts driven between the Totoyomi and Tokugawa clans and their allies. The Battle of Sekigahara, which ended the majority of the feuds effectively unified Japan and deified its heroes ever since. The castle is surrounded by parklands that feature gardens and various monuments and throughout the day, you find people spending their day sketching, drawing and painting the castle.
But all this quickly is forgotten when you take a ride to Shinsaibashi, filled with more shopping complexes and boutique stalls of music and fashion. I was meeting Jonathon Monster, a friend of Staples, who is a tattoo artist. He took me through Shinasaibashi to the famed lighted signs of Dotonbori and to a maid café in Nipponbashi. The thing about a maid café, is that they could replace every Hooters, if the red-blooded sports loving man was replaced by a salon-dwelling, Parisian aristocrat, whose only love was to be served coffee and cake by girls in risqué outfits. And maybe playing the odd video game. Afterwards we drop by an izakaya for some beers and finger foods and then hit another favourite bar of his. This watering hole is about the size of a tool shed and the people that run it, not only serve drinks, but also food as well. We chat about certain things, and one particular thing was good, long standing villains, like Hannibal Lecter (of Silence of the Lambs, not Hannibal) and Buffalo Bill and the Joker and how Rob Zombie characters are soft cocks against them. Calling it a night, Jonathan guided me back to the station and there I went back to the hotel to get some sleep.