Oh my word. There is a group of school kids
But enough of that. Lesse, what to write about...? Yesterday we went to Azuchi Castle. It was a thing of great nift, despite the fact that Azuchi Castle was destroyed about a year after it was built. We had seen a couple of pictures before we went and thought there was nothing much remaining of the castle other than a couple of rocks. (Honestly, the main reason we were going out there was because of the castle's significance as a revolution in Japanese castle building style.) It did not take long before we decided that we need to smack the guide book authors around. There are stories and stories worth of extant stonework. Just from the bits remaining, one can imagine what the original must have looked like, and it must have been pretty darn amazing. I bear more of a grudge than ever at Akechi Mitsuhide for burning the whole thing down. Grr.
The castle is the main thing to see in Azuchi, and there were maps all over the place with directions to the castle. Said maps were easy to spot, since they had a little Nobunaga head on them. (Oda Nobunaga being the guy who had Azuchi castle built.) All that sounds great -- except for one thing. Just when we needed a map most, Nobunaga was nowhere to be found. Darn him.
Needless to say, we took the long way. Later on we figured out where we had gone wrong. The first tip: Don't follow Nobunaga's head. He's not pointing the easy way.
But there were two good things that came from following Nobunaga into the middle of nowhere. First, we met a really fascinating guy. He's Japanese, but he grew up and spent most of his life in Finland, and is a Finnish citizen. Currently he's back in Japan for a bit, working as a house painter. But his passport is Finnish. Kind of nifty. Of course, at the time I couldn't remember a word of Finnish. *sigh*
The other good thing about taking the long way was that we went up the main castle stairs. This is good because the stairs were a Thing Of Evil. If we had followed the official route, we would have gone up the easier stairs for the climb up, and then taken the Stairs Of Evil down. They were a Thing Of Evil going up; they would have been a Thing Of Utmost Evil going down.
Sore feet and tired knees aside, Azuchi is well worth the trek. Even The Moms were glad to have gone. Though I think they will not be so quick to volunteer again the next time we say we are going to look at castle ruins.
Following one of the themes of the trip, we found that next to the ruins is the Azuchi Castle Archeological Museum. Stuff there is old enough that it might even be of interest to seshat. (Read: It's all A.D., but none of it was more recent than 600 A.D.) Most cool.
We had intended to stay at Azuchi for a few hours. We ended up spending the whole day there.
Afterward I ran out to Book Off to look for books. After being taunted by MoB books at 50 yen apiece I have been on a Quest to find ones that I don't already own. Considering that it's a 40 book series and I only own 20 of them, one would think it wouldn't be that hard. One could have been mislead. I did manage to find a bunch of WRC DVDs, which made me happy. (Acropolis/Cyprus 2003 in particular will revive many happy memories.)
It turns out there are two Book Offs in Kyoto. The second one is above the Kurama-guchi station, outside exit 1. The first Book Off gave me a map to the second one. I went out there on a whim, not expecting much. Heh. I walked out quite a bit poorer, but with books I actually wanted. Le'yay!
Edit: Forgot to note the real find from the Kurama-guchi Book Off: all but one of the MoB manga, along with a bunch of the novels. And the author's travel notes going around to the various places that show up in the series. *dansu* I really wanted that last one.
More later. Must wander off to Avanti in search of (drumroll, please) MORE BOOKS!