We started the day by heading towards 大阪城 (Osaka Castle). The Museum of History is right next to the castle, and so is this Osaka police headquarters (in fact, it sits on top of part of Osaka Castle's ruins). This building looks 100% badass.
I wonder if any Japanese drama is based on Osaka police....
A quick search on google says no. Most police dramas are based on Tokyo police. They should make one! Maybe Osaka doesn't have enough sick criminals to make police work interesting.
The most important building in the Osaka Castle is 天守閣 (Tenshukaku). Originally built by 豐臣秀吉 (Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Tenshukaku was burned down after Japan was taken over by 徳川家康 (Tokugawa Ieyasu), who then built the new Tenshukaku above older grounds and adjacent to the old site.
Inside Tenshukaku are exhibits detailing the life of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Usually such history tours bore me, but not this time! In fact, Tenshukaku's exhibit is amazing! Particularly when they used a series of holograms to depict various events in Hideyoshi's life.
多虧了這個投影，讓原本對日本戰國時代興趣缺缺的我（雖說家裡廁所放了一本講戰國名將的書還沒看...），然起了興趣（意思是之後要去追大河劇就對了）。說來有點汗顏，但是，我本來不知道豐臣秀吉是服侍織田信長出身的！我是知道織田信長在本能寺掛掉的，但原來在那之後秀吉取代信長留下的空位，掌握了實權。而之後創立了長達 260 年的幕府的德川家康，是在秀吉去世之後才得到日本天下的。雖說後世總愛加油添醋，但從種種軼聞看來，秀吉是個相當有趣的人物：他在等部將討爭朝鮮的時候，為了打發時間學了能劇，還特地寫信跟妻子報備他學了哪些劇（汗）。又，他跟伊達政宗及其他部將曾經打扮成賣瓜的瓜農在街頭叫喊。喜愛熱鬧的他，舉辦宴會時也經常親自泡茶待客。...這個人很會忙裡偷閒嘛！＝o＝ 但在閒情之外，秀吉在他的時代設置了人口普查，統一稅收，推廣佛教，也小小的排擠了一下天主教（這好像常聽到啊）。秀吉的功績不只在戰場上，作為一個執政者，他為之後的江戶時代打下紮實的根基。這樣一個檯面上台面下都很多作為的人，無怪乎關於他的傳說是源源不絕的了。
I couldn't stop watching the holograms from one to the next. I used to have little interest in 戦国時代 (Sengoku period) and was more into the Meiji revolution (because I liked 新撰組/Shinsengumi, haha). Despite knowing names like Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 伊達政宗 (Date Masamune), 織田信長 (Oda Nobunaga), I never knew the relationship between them: Hideyoshi originally served Nobunaga, and after the famous Honnoji incident (本能寺の変) where Nobunaga was killed, Hideyoshi came to power; he was able to surpress Tokugawa Ieyasu in his life time, and only after his death did Tokugawa become Shogun. Hideyoshi appears to be quite a charismatic person: he learned No (a form of ancient Japanese theatrical art) while his troops invaded Korea; he dressed up as a watermelon vendor once to entertain himself and his generals; he would make tea for his guests. He set up consensus and unified the tax system. He supported buddhism and in a few cases persecuted Christians. He definitely laid the foundations for the Edo period, so even though the current Tenshukaku is built by Tokugawa, the entire exhibit is dedicated to Hideyoshi. Even my mom enjoyed the exhibit and was curious to know more about this part of Japan's history. That just means... a lot of dramas to watch!
At a brief snack outside Tenshukaku, a sparrow came to share our sushi:
I know we shouldn't feed him. But he kind of decided on his own to jump on the sushi even when I was holding it in my hands, and he's really cute.
Our next stop was Osaka harbour. I managed to find a vegetarian buffet here. This is something close to a miracle.
The Osaka harbour has a beautiful ferris wheel that we decided to ride in the evening instead.
一日遊裡還包了這個遊大阪港一圈 (45 min)的仿哥倫布的聖瑪利亞號。說實在，很....不怎麼樣。因為免費，所以就坐了。但大阪港其實沒什麼風景，除了一座橋，一些貨櫃，還有遠遠看得到 IKEA。
Our 1-day package included a free ride around the harbour, so we did that. It was 2PM in the afternoon and burning hot. The boat was decorated after Columbus' Santa Maria, which looks absurd. The view around the harbour was hardly interesting.
After overheating in the sun, we took shelter in a nearby cafe while I read this:
ViVi is becoming too young for me. Oh how time passes....
五點的時候，我們進入海遊館。老實說，這是我近年來感想最好的海洋館了！！真的！！它的設計很棒，每個展示部門是不同地區的海洋（ex: 巴拿馬運河，蒙特利灣，深海，北極海等等），而每個水族箱都至少有數層樓高 --- 當你不斷的往下走的時候，就會依次看到同樣的水族箱（生態地），但是卻是不同的斷層！這麼一來，你可以看到水面，水中，也很可以看到水底。你可能一下次看到企鵝或是海獅在水面上發呆，
At 5PM, we entered the Kaiyukan （海遊館). This is seriously the BEST aquarium I've been to in a long time. It was so amazing how they set up these huge tanks where you can observe sealife from the top (shore) to the bottom and in between. They set it up so you switch between different habitats. One moment you're in Monterey Bay watching harbour seals (the least foreign sea mammal to me), then you're in the Artic staring at super cute emperor penguins.
On one level you see the penguins in the usual manner:
And a few levels down you find the same penguins diving down below:
Most spectacular is the giant tank with massive rays and whale sharks:
I never got tired of looking at this tank no matter how many levels I went down with it.
I felt like I learned something on this visit, or at least I was reminded on how much nature is awesome at producing all these wonderfully diverse creatures.
Everybody around me, kids and adults alike, loved every marine life they saw and was curious to learn about them. There's often a brief yet interesting description about the habitat in both English and Japanese by each tank.
But this...this is the final thing that settled this becoming the highlight on my trip today.
THEY LET YOU TOUCH THE FISH!THEY LET YOU TOUCH THE FISH!THEY LET YOU TOUCH THE FISH!THEY LET YOU TOUCH THE FISH! OMGGGGGGGGG!
This is how I felt:
I got to touch the stingrays!
And the tiny sharks!
That's it. I have no more regrets in life...today.
When we came out, it was sunset. The harbour was beautiful.
And guess what's for dinner? Steamed buns! I found through tabelog that in the shopping center next to Kaiyukan, there's a store called 花花 that sells buns made into the shape of ----
やああああああああああああああ >/////< !!!!! So cute!
The piggy one is pork. The panda one is red bean bun.
After feeding myself full, we went on the ferris wheel (also free with our 1-day package) to enjoy a bit of the city at night:
Then it's back to the train station and a quick ride home :)