Since I hadn’t booked way in advance, I ended up in three hotels in Osaka. I’d accidentally been clever, though – spotting the address was similar I’d booked three that I hoped were in the same district, albeit without checking the map to make sure. It turns out that all are on the same small block, so I only have to leave my luggage at one, check in elsewhere and wheel round the corner.
With that in mind I got up to make sure I could run and shower before checkout, though with that at 11 in this first place that wasn’t too tricky. I generally headed for the port area, down some unlovely streets, turning without seeing much other than machinery though finding a park on the way back.
A slow run, but ground out. Stashing luggage, I walked north, heading for the castle park. That’s around 3 miles away, and commands a great view over the city, as it should. On the way I stopped for a sit down and a look at Ikukunitama shrine, which is a quiet spot amongst the bustle of the city. I dozed on a bench after lunch, then wandered the grounds briefly. Further north, The castle itself is a reconstruction from 1931. The original castle was built in 1583, destroyed by fire in 1615 and was then reconstructed 1620-29. The keep then burnt down in 1665, after a lightning strike, and most of the other buildings burnt during a reconstruction in 1868. Oh the irony. But it does show the perils of the construction – stone foundations for the main structure itself, towering over the moat, but the buildings were wood. Wood! Not so good in fire, and ruined by war. It’s a grand structure, and that Japanese style is something else to one raised looking at western blocky castles. Which are also majestic, mind, but the combination of moat, solid walls and imposing keep is intimidating and very Japanese.
From there I headed West, hitting the main shopping district of Dotombori, walking down Midosuji street to the apple store. I mostly wandered in for the wifi, though the new iPhone is a good £100+ cheaper here. There was a queue for it, though not a long one.
Heading south I ate and walked amidst the noise and restaurant touts of here and Namba. Frankly, it’s exhausting and by the end I was feeling a bit too solitary. An area you need to be wide awake for, and I wasn’t quite with it. Sitting by the river in 27 degrees at 4 as the day closes is pretty lovely, mind. I headed for Spotaka and got myself some special edition Waverider 15s. Red. New. Tomorrow’s long run is going to be the last blast for the Sauconys, over 600 miles in shoes I was never quite sure about is a good return. I wandered back and checked into the Hotel Taiyo, then moved my bags from the Toyo round the corner. All in all, about an 8 mile walk. The new hotel is a whole extra 500yen (£3) and has air conditioning and a bed rather than a mat on the floor, but otherwise it’s similar. I appreciated the air conditioning, though – it stays so warm that it’s a huge relief to cool down properly. I sorted out my internet life and watched the first episode of Breaking Bad – too many people have mentioned it not to have a look, so I’m right down with the (parents of the) kids now. Tomorrow a long run, 7ish start to be back to check out by 10.
On a running note, I played around with my spreadsheet. Up to today last year I’d run 1911km, this 2196. September was poor last year, though, and oddly, I ran further in 4 of 5 months last year, which hardly suggests such a gap in mileage. Last year was a big step from four years of declining totals, albeit with cycling added. The difference between last year and this is mostly from February; last year an injury layoff made it 108km to this year’s 280. So last year was better for periods of concentrated training (with longer layoffs) though I might now be getting somewhere after a dip in August. Today: 1:09:30, 12.52km.
Reading: Jane Smiley, The Greenlanders “You may say…that the English are often this: they talk merely to talk, and go idly on great journeys merely to see the sights.”