August 20th, 2007

Photography: Sakura

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Yesterday, I went with kuroe to Matsumoto, which is all the way over in Nagano.

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This is Matsumoto Castle, called Matsumoto-jou in Japanese. It also has the nickname of 'Karasu-jou' or 'Crow Castle' because of its dark walls. The real reason it's famous, however, is because it looks like it has five floors, but the architecture disguises an extra floor, which is actually above the second floor.

There's also a legend about a goddess enshrined in the top of the castle. On the 26th of January, 1618, a woman approached one of the castle servants in a vision, gave him a bag and ordered that if the Daimyo enshrine her with 600kg of rice, she would protect the castle from fire. If you go to the sixth floor, you can see this bag suspended from the ceiling. It's said that she is the reason the castle is so well-preserved.

There's also artifacts on display here and I think anyone who's ever played FF8 will know what this is! It's a gunblade!

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We also found a street dedicated to frogs. Unlike the disappointment that is Kappabashi in Tokyo (there are no kappa to be found!), the shop owners mostly kept up the frog theme. We had annin and blueberry yoghurt icecream there.

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After that, we went to see another important cultural property. This is the first junior high school in Japan. In the past, the headmaster led campaigns to save Matsumoto Castle. You have to pay to go inside, so we just looked.

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In the late afternoon, we just wandered around, since it's a nice place.

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When we were about to go home, we discovered that there had been an earthquake and all the trains directly into Tokyo had stopped running. We had to go further out to Nagano and catch the Shinkansen all the way back to Tokyo station. When we got there, the man at the counter was clueless as to what had happened and almost made us pay extra for the Shinkansen ticket (but none of the Japanese people... HMM!). Tokyo station is to the east of Tokyo, and we live far out west, so we just about got home at around 11.30. The end to our day was pretty stressful!

Of course, the only anime news out now is the release of the latest Gundam seiyuu! I made kuroe log on using his mobile last night just so we could find them out!

Just in case you haven't heard...

Setsuna: Miyano Mamoru-san
Hallelujah: Yoshino Hiroyuki-san
Tieria: Kamiya Hiroshi-san

Wow! Miki Shin'ichirou-san playing what looks to be a playboy-kind of character (let's be honest -- he looks like Youji)? How utterly old-school and delightful! I love it! I honestly can't think of anyone better!

Many of the others are all relatively new seiyuu, aren't they? They've made some good choices, I think. The other cast members are all wisely chosen too (not going to type them out because I think other people have probably done that ten times over already). I want to see this series very badly!

That post from Koyasu Takehito-sama where he describes what he's doing to keep cool.

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