Apr. 4th, 2009

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So that was my trip to Iwatsuki.  It's only 50 minutes away on the Tobu Noda line, and is famous for it's doll makers.  The last couple pictures are from the display on the train platform.  It was a bit too late to go look in many shops when I was leaving, but most of them made the samurai armour ones.  I didn't see many dolls for girls, but I didn't honestly look that hard.

I thought there would be a plaque or something in the park that said "This is where Itwatsuki-jo used to be" but if there was, I couldn't find it.  There were two gates still standing, however and quite a few signs.  I haven't deciphered them yet.  I also went to some of the temples and shrines around the castle because they would have been there since the Edo period when the castle was built. :)  I will definitely go back and make changes to Equilibrium to build up the town now. 

I was going to caption all the pictures, but I can't be bothered. :P  The 4th picture is of the old Han office (before Ken [prefectures] there were Han) which used to be a samurai school.  I went in and saw the rooms and talked to the attendant who told me about it all.  They learned reading and kendo but not writing, apparently.  And it was the kids jobs to do chores like keep stuff clean and pull out the storm shutters.  The area where the castle used to be--the Hon Maru, Ni no Maru, and San no Maru and the most of the moat--are now all residential areas.  They still have the same names though!  There were only two gates, the Otemon and another at the back, but now there's a paved road going right through the middle.  Only a little portion of the old castle grounds is the park, the Shin Guruwa (新曲輪).  And as I thought, no valley.

I loved going around the temples though.  I remember reading about Japanese funeral/burial rites when I was writing Nagase's death and read about how the funeral industry in Japan is such a cash cow.  Obviously but the size of some of those tombs!  It's cheaper to just put the spouse's (or entire family's) names on the tomb at the same time so they paint the living relatives' names with red paint until they die.  There was even a pet tomb.  I think the ones with bubble wrap still on are new?

New hair cut. :D  Not really so new because I've had it before but it's lookin' good now.  I'm sad my usual guy wasn't there, but I asked them to pass on the kimchi to him.  It's the first time he wasn't there!  Usually he is on Saturdays.  Maybe he switched with someone.  I'll go back at the beginning of next month and get my bangs trimmed for Yuka's wedding.  UGH I'm SO WHITE.  I took like 5 pictures to get one that didn't look gross.  I'm still having trouble finding foundation to buy. :/  Maybe I should take what I've got to the store and ask them to give me the closest thing.

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