Day 8: Osaka, Japan

Another day in Japan is being rained upon, and it looks like it will be that way for the rest of my time in Japan. I know that so much of my anticipation about coming back to Japan was to see the culture of it with the perspective of being in my early 30's, as opposed to being only 19 when I was here the first time. So to say that the weather has been a disappointment is quite an understatement.

Once I got past the challenge of the disappointment into trying to see the photos simply for what they were, the rain just became another part of the day's catch. It only took a small amount of riding around in Osaka to have one thing stay constant over a 14 year time span; I love Japan!

Heading out to Osaka Castle, I was first met with that ever-popular dichotomous balance that is so prevalent in Japan. Seeing very traditional Japanese styles of designs sharing a landscape with ultra-modern skyscrapers strikes me as a physical manifestation of Japanese mentality. There is a strong sense of tradition about their mannerisms, such as the taxi drivers wearing suits, and the custom of bowing. That's never stopped them from embracing the new, and they're never afraid to be kooky or funny. Somehow, they manage to pull off one without compromising the other.

No grand landscape in Japan is complete without an accompanying garden, and Osaka Castle was no exception. I've developed a new appreciation for the Japanese Garden on this trip. I've always liked them, but the true art of being able to position and balance everything in a way that just makes everything okay became very evident to me.
Descending the hill out of the castle I came across hundreds of notes tied to trees for good luck. Though I'm guessing, it seems like similar to the shingles in Korea, where one can put a prayer or wish onto a note and tie it to this tree. I suppose this is inline with the high level of superstition in Japanese culture.
Heading out to a Shinto shrine proved to be just as rewarding. Though no wishes tied to trees, there was no shortage of peaceful buildings and more grounds full of amazing architecture and arrangement. Despite my clumsy fumbling trying to operate the camera while not losing the umbrella, I did feel, though now warm and safe in my state room, that I captured the feeling of a rainy, yet peaceful day.
I realize that I have some learning to do though, as in addition to the notes tied to trees, there seems to be something very noble about cats. And I just thought they were used for tip jars in America!