Monday, August 2, 2010

Odawara - Okay

Allan is enjoying the pace of work at the base. Prior to his arrival last year, the Public Health Dept. was understaffed, and remains backlogged. But he and Gene are happily plodding along. I'm teaching English Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, having given up my Sunday night class. My students were lax about showing up and I prefer not to teach on the weekend.
This weekend we took the train to see Odawara Castle. Allan heard about the castle at the base.

It took about an hour on the train to get there, and then a walk to the castle park, but we stopped on the way to do our favorite thing - eat. I had a rice bowl with tempura shrimp and vegetables. Allan got a set, which included a smaller version of my bowl, soup, pickles, some soba noodles and dessert.
The castle is a tourist site, so it was easy to find. It has a history that goes back to 1417. Unfortunately, the structure was completely destroyed in the late 19th century.

The old castles, palaces and stuff like that here have great doors. It's a replica, but still great. Once inside the outer door, you're still not through the main gate, which is shown below. This leads to a courtyard, which leads to a park. There are some out buildings and originally a stable, (15th century, no cars).

The tops of older buildings have statues, and in the case of this building, that statue is a fish. The ocean is important to life here, there is even a holiday called Sea Day. According to some of my students, Sea Day is a rather new holiday, created because they needed a holiday in July. Since they eat as much seafood as beef, pork and chicken combined, it makes sense.

The castle is a replica, and the inside is a museum filled with military equipment. No matter where you go in the world, museums are filled with the paraphernalia of past wars.

There were suits of armor, spears, swords, shields, helmuts and a little artwork. I hoped it would be a good place to take visitors, but I think I'll stick to the big Buddha and the sites in Tokyo. The distance is about the same.

Where Allan is standing, a vendor will photograph you in traditional Japanese attire, which they supply. I couldn't imagine putting on a kimono in that heat.

When we left the castle, we had a lot of sunlight left, so took a walk through town. We did some shopping, but the heat and humidity was stifling. Going into the shops was cooler than being on the street, and we picked up some baked goods before returning home.

On a funny note: Hiromi, our Japanese teacher, gave Allan a book called "Making Out in Japanese". We have enjoyed reading the phrases like "Your tool is small", "Are you on the pill?", "Is this your first time?", "Do that same thing again" and my personal favorite - "Aishiteru-kedo kekkon wa dekinai" or "I love you but I can't marry you".

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