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Archive for the ‘Tokyo’ Category

Photo #11 – Osaka, Tokyo, Baseball, Soccer, Meiji Era, & WW2

Osaka Dome Baseball Stadium

This photo corresponds with Episode 2 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 2 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.

This snapshot of the Osaka Dome baseball stadium that I happened to grab by chance as the Haruka Express Train whizzed by is a good example of the hazards of shooting through glass. That dark shadowy orb on the right side of this photograph is my big fat head.

Not a great photo, but I wanted to include it to share how the Haruka Express does offer the chance to see some of the sights of Osaka as you pass through on your way to Kyoto from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport.

Like Tokyo, Osaka is known for having a limited number of distinctive sightseeing opportunities. We have to give points whenever we can when passing through the metal/glass/concrete monstrous grids that sprouted up in Japan in place of the cities that were flattened during WW2, just a few decades ago.

It isn’t that Japan didn’t want to preserve some elements of their architectural culture in Tokyo and Osaka, the problem is that there simply wasn’t much left to preserve in those cities after the firebombings of WW2.

Even Osaka’s one famous sightseeing destination, Osaka Castle, is a recreation. Actually, a recreation of a recreation. WW2 bombings damaged the 1928 recreation of the castle which has an ongoing 400+ year history at that site.

Though Tokyo also has only 1 historically significant and magnificent sightseeing destination, Sensoji, a grand temple in Asakusa, at least it’s authentic.

I’m interested in seeing the giant concrete and rebar Osaka Castle at some point during this visit to Japan. Even if they don’t accurately portray the interiors of the originals, Japanese castle recreations often have very nice museums inside.

On the subject of baseball stadiums, did you know that baseball is the #1 sport in Japan? I was in Korea and Japan around and during the 2002 Soccer World Cup (not because of the World Cup) when it was jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea, and I perceived the Japanese (and South Koreans) to be quite enthusiastic about soccer as the majority of the world outside the US seems to be. It’s interesting how the Japanese adopted an American sport as their favorite, instead of soccer. Further evidence, I guess, of the ongoing and increasing cultural impact the US is having on Japan.

It’s ironic that Japan’s political aggression and attempts to dominate Asia and become omnipotent in the region, actually resulted in the country being redirected into a facsimile of the US in many ways, albeit stripped of any significant military might for generations to come. But I suppose the migration to western culture had already been set firmly in motion by the Meiji Restoration, and Japan’s failure in WW2 merely helped add a little more US flavor to Japan’s westernization.

(Are those enough tangents for one journal entry, or shall I add some more? :-) )

I will confess I had to do a little research to find out this was the Osaka Dome baseball stadium. I’m not sure I even knew there was an Osaka Dome baseball stadium before taking this photo by accident as the Haruka Express raced through Osaka. The coloring and overall design makes me think there should be a big swimming pool or maybe a water park inside the Osaka Dome.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

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