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Analogue Adventures – Tokyo to Osaka 1985 – Day 4

All photos taken on May 14, 1985.

May 14 was our day to take the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka. We took one last look out the window of our hotel and looked at all the white cars in the parking lot. Japanese culture has a saying “The nail that sticks out, gets hammered down.” Literally, anybody who attracts attention in a group is likely to be criticized, reproached and brought into conformity with the others. I think at the time we were there, approximately 70% of all cars sold in Japan were sold in the colour white.

After breakfast, we made our way to Tokyo Station for the 2 hour, 48 minute Shinkansen (bullet train) ride to Osaka Station.

Arriving in Osaka at Osaka station in the early afternoon, we took a taxi to our ryokan (inn) Ryokan Masumi, dropped our luggage, posed for a photo…

…before setting off to explore Osaka. We started at the reconstructed Osaka Castle donjon.

Construction of the castle started in 1583 with the inner donjon being completed in 1585. The current donjon was reconstructed from ferro-concrete in 1931. The main tower of Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one square kilometre. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from attackers.

The Main Tower is surrounded by a series of moats and defensive fortifications. The castle has 2 moats (an inner & outer). The inner castle moat lies within the castle grounds, and consists of 2 types: a wet (northern-easterly) and dry (south-westerly). The outer moat meanwhile surrounds the entire castle premise, denotes the castle’s outer limits, and consists of 4 individual water-filled sections, each representing a cardinal direction (North, East, South, West).

(Source: Wikipedia)

Outer photos showing the donjon, moats, bridges and of course, the rain that had begin to fall.

Inner photos showing museum items, samurai armour, swords and saddles, a taiko drum, furnishings tapestries and a model of the original castle complex.

Patty and the maple leaves near Osaka Castle

and nearby Hōkoku Shrine (豊國神社, Hōkoku-jinja), a Shinto shrine, one of several Toyokuni shrines, established in 1879 in honor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), a Japanese samurai and daimyo (feudal lord) of the late Sengoku period, regarded as the second “Great Unifier” of Japan. The shrine is part of the Osaka Castle Park.

(Source: Wikipedia)

It was now getting dark and we were getting hungry, so we headed back in the direction of our inn. But what to do, all of the shop and restaurant door banners were in Japanese characters. All of a sudden, a door opened with a burst of sound and light, as a man stepped through to grab a smoke. He saw us Gai-jins (foreigners) and motioned us to come inside with him. Hmmm, was this a set-up where we would be robbed or was it just a friendly invite?

Turns out, this place (Hirano-bar) was the Japanese version of Cheers, with all the regulars (including Norm) in attendance. Before we even sat down, warm sake arrived at our table and soon emboldened, we asked what there was to eat. The bar owner (Kyoko) motioned to the banners on the wall indicating what the choices were. Given we had only learned spoken Japanese and not written, we had no clue what was on the menu. In our best Japanese (sake assisted) we finally managed to order tempura and rice. It was delicious. Gifts, photos and addresses were exchanged and we left, realizing we had just received and given a real cultural experience.

Back in the room at our inn, one more pose……before the sake wears off and sleep arrives.

Oyasumi nasai.


Published by kagould17

Not much to tell. After working for 3 companies over 43+ years (38 years 7 months with my last company), I finally got that promotion I had waited my entire career for……retirement. I have been exploring this new career for the past 7+ years and while it is not always exciting, the chance to do what I want for myself and my family instead of what my company wants has been very fulfilling. Early on, there was a long list of projects in my “to-do” hopper and I attacked these projects with a vengeance for the first 9 months of retirement. Eventually, my brain told me that this was not what retirement was about, so it took me another 5 months before my industriousness again took over and I attacked another line of projects, this time somewhat shorter and less complicated, as well as many new projects related to the family weddings in 2016. After going hard for 6 weeks and 3 weddings, my body was telling me to relax, then the flu bug hit and as soon as that was done with me, my sciatic acted up. No rest for the wicked. In 2020 and 2021, the Covid 19 pandemic changed the whole retirement gig. I was lucky to not be still working, for sure. I enjoy photography, gardening, working with my hands, walking, cycling, skiing, travelling, reading and creating special photo and video productions obtained in my first pastime. I may never become wealthy in any of these pursuits, but I already feel I am rich in life experiences far beyond any expectation.

17 thoughts on “Analogue Adventures – Tokyo to Osaka 1985 – Day 4

    1. It is a step back in time, before travel to Japan became so popular. In many places, we were the only ones who stood out in the crowd. We also have a white car and it is the 4th I have owned in my life. Thanks for reading Marion. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice pictures Allan, and you drove the bullet train ! how great is that !
    well, meanwhile I know that “Oyasumi nasai” means “good night”, and I wish you 素敵な日, have a nice day! I hope that is correct 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marc. We really enjoyed the ease of travel by train in Japan. The bullet train was fast, punctual and efficient. Thanks for your good wishes. The characters translate appropriately. We never could read or write Japanese, but I still retain many words and phrases in my memory banks. Have a great day. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The castle, although a reproduction detailed a lot of authenticity from the era and was a good place to escape the rain. Hirano Bar was a gem and the food, while average, hit the spot. I did most of the planning, but left it to a travel agent to book the flights, accommodation and rail pass, as one had to do in the day. It all worked out very well and we only had a few minor hiccups. Thanks for reading and commenting Kellye. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many choices in Japan. Nara has a lot of history and is definitely more peaceful than Osaka. Osaka was a pleasant surprise for us when we went in 1985 and it was the connection to our cruise. Thanks for reading Linda. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The “pub grub” and atmosphere were a perfect cultural experience. You are right on the expression, except in Japan, nobody wants to he the squeaky wheel. The salary man workers all look the same, carry the same briefcase in the same hand and walk the same speed, going to work. We would try and rush through the crowd and in 2009 our Japanese “son” cautioned is to just relax and walk with the crowd. That is the only way to survive in a crowded country and city. Thanks for reading Claire. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seems like the Japanese are onto something with living in crowded cities. People can be so rude in massive cities, so it’s nice they have these protocols that everyone follows

        Liked by 1 person

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