Osaka – Aquarium and Castle
There was a different feeling to Osaka that didn’t really come out in the pictures. I guess that’s the main problem with pictures – they only capture the aesthetics and the ambience is left out. Experiences are very subjective things, and I often find it hard to describe why a place is so favourable for me. I doubt a dog could tell you, should he be able to speak, why he barks at some strangers and not at others. I’m the kind of guy who follows his nose and puts a lot of stead in first impressions and snap judgements, to my credit, and many times to a fault.
Scrambled egg. I guess what I am trying to say is that Osaka had a special feeling for me that was different from Tokyo. They were neutral differences, but ones that put me at ease a little more than in Tokyo. Going back to subjective experiences, and something that I covered in one of my last posts. It’s a generalisation, but I think Japanese tend to favour and thus visit the really iconic and famous landmarks, to the detriment of the popularity of other, equally worthy in my opinion, sights.
Here’s an example with Osaka. “I like Osaka castle”. That’s not something up for debate. Usually the response I get is as follows: “Yes, but it’s new”, “Himeji Castle is older and bigger”. The criticisms of the age come across as pretty sharp, given that the reason it was rebuilt was down to bombings, lightning strikes, and fires. You wouldn’t chose a able-bodied man for a job over a shark-attack victim because he has his original legs (bad example, but I don’t want to come up with another one). How about this: I don’t go to Hiroshima and say “Ew, your buildings are all new and character-less” (I’m on a roll of crap examples).
I tried to watch Melancholia the other day. I really like character studies, especially in the throes of an imminent disaster, so I really thought I would like this film. After 40 minutes or so, I have this to say: It’s shallow to the point of puerility and the acting was pretty terrible. In its defence, the lack of depth in the characters, combined with their unfathomable hate and single-mindedness could well be the perception of the protagonist, who is suffering from Melancholia, or depression I would say. The problem with taking this approach is that the film is in no way enjoyable. Who wants to watch a bunch of privileged selfish gits argue for two and a half hours? If your answer to this question was ‘me!’, then you should watch this film and no doubt have the time of your life. If we omit the theory of the protagonist’s mental disorder playing a part in the narrative, then the characters are the least believable I have seen in a film.
A good antidote to this film was ‘Submarine’ which plays its melodrama very much tongue-in-cheek. It also made me a little homesick, for probably the first time.