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Osaka: July 10-12

10th: Finally got to Keitakuen garden in Tennouji park. Nice, but for being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Got into Issenji Temple, which is mostly cemetery, but seems to have many Buddha statues, and two front statues apparently made of compacted ash or something. Went back to Chausuyama, which didn't look much like a kofun, and may not be one after all. Saw a bunch of crows hopping around in a way I hadn't seen before. Discovered that some shrines do have lockable gates, such as Horikoshi. Had an "ultimate burger" and some chicken at Lotteria, cannot recommend.

11th: So Abeno Harukas is 300 meters tall, the tallest building in Japan, and the top floors are observatory for 1500 yen. W's mother visited recently, and passed on the free tickets her hotel gave her, so we went up in the late afternoon. It was pretty neat; the 16th floor is free, but doesn't go all the way around, and the 60th floor is way higher. We played "can I see my house?" and "wow that's a lot of (H) helipads" and "what is (R) on a roof pad?" and such. Then we had Vietnamese pad thai (nice) and hung out at her newly cleaned place. Brief discussion of EVA and its Angels reminded me of the one Angel I could recall and I joked "when d8s attack"; she promptly brought out the matching figurine.

12th: At W's I'd noticed Google Maps showing Ikutama Matsuri Festival. It was still there during the day of the 12th, but had vanished by the time I left home at 5:30, and I saw nothing on my walk up. So if there was a procession I completely missed it. There's some Ikutama market by Osaka Castle, but the real Ikutama shrine is elsewhere; when I finally got there, I found myself in a classic anime festival. Crowds and food stands and crowds and game stands and crowds and a shrine with stuff happening. In this case, teams of teens carrying sacred boxes around and banking on gong and drum. I found it helps to be taller than most of a country. :p The area north of the shrine is full of Love Hotels; I know Japanese religion doesn't frown on sex the way Christianity has but it still felt weird.

13th: I re-read a lot of Hodgell and went out for groceries in between rain.

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