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Okazaki: Sakura and Parade

Written on: Monday April 5th, 2010

A journal entry from: Aichi Prefecture

Fortunately I arrived at the school on a really good day since that week-end was prime Sakura viewing season and a community event was being held the next day. 

A member of the residence staff, Ni, asked if I would like to go with her to the event and we had two other students join last minute. (One of which just so happened to be coming out of his room just as we were getting ready to leave.) It was a great day to wander about the grounds and gardens, busy but enough space to be comfortable. 

The festival was held by the river near Osaka castle and all along the paths to the castle were food vendors. The main event we watched was the conclusion of a historical parade plus a historical re-enactment. 

First about the play....

Hum, well there were a number of samurai, a few ninjas and a leader samurai on a horse. The historical re-enactment was well done despite the horse being spooked by the fake smoke at the beginning. Oh yes. And there was either the rescue or the kidnapping of a princess (but she looked happy so I would have to guess it was a rescue). During the show Ni's mentioned that it was about an attack on Osaka castle. It was a few days later when I came across more information... 

(I think this is what the show was about but am not entirely sure.)

In the early 1600's Tokugawa Ieyasu led what is called the Last Great Battle of the Samurai as they lay seige to Osaka-jo (castle) and overthrew the Toyotomi clan (who held power through Toyotomi Hideyoshi as daimyo.) The result of this long battle was that Tokugawa gained ultimate authority over Japan... pretty big deal for a country who in the years prior had been fractioned by many different local lords who had various levels of control. It is noted in a few sources that he was given credit for uniting Japan however, only lived one year (aged 75) after gaining the power and position. A few laws which changed the future is Japan included limited the number of castles per prefecture (province) and daimyo (smaller lords) power being limited. Due to the new laws many of Japan's castles were destroyed and the emperor system initiated. 

For more information about the Siege of Osaka Castle please visit http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0312/feature5/zoomify/main.html . 

There were a few comedy shows but instead we went to grab food for a (short of) hanami lunch. Hiroshima Okinomiyaki by the moat area between the bridge and water fountain. Was a perfect day for enjoying the good weather and view. Then a quick walk up to the grounds of the castle. But I plan to write more about the castle on a future blog. 

After lots of fresh air and exercise we were all pretty exhausted as we grab the bus back to residence. But, a great way to spend the first day in a new (short-term) home.