Sunday, October 30, 2005


Today, since the leaves haven't started to change colors, we decided to go to Takatsuki.

This is the very first place where Satoshi's and my adventures began in Japan 4 years ago. We moved from very spacious Hawaii apartment to a "cute" 2-room apartment in his company's housing. We had a year to find our own housing, but moved to where we are now within 3 months.

The reason we decided to go to Takatsuki was that the company closed the housing facility this past March and we were curious to see how things had changed.

We were very surprised. The shopping arcade in front of the JR Takatsuki station was partially demolished and a twin tower deluxe condominium now stands there. The station itself has been renovated and there are many clothing shops and cafes. The area where we used to catch the bus was also moved and the route of the bus has changed a bit. The housing is now all boarded up and locked. Many of the stores around our housing area have also changed. The Italian restaurant where we first had dinner, Pommarola is now a video rental shop.

Also, the wagashiya (Japanese confection store) that I wrote about the other day, Satsukian, did in fact move, they have three stores, one in Tonda (Ibaraki), one in Minoo and one in an area of Takatsuki called Makami(down the road from Hattori Shimizu -our company housing area). While walking from the housing area back to the station, we found Satsukian and bought our dessert. Satoshi was drooling over the kuri(chestnut) daifuku and yomogi(mugwort) mochi.

Also while walking back to the station, we decided to check out the Tenmangu shrine. Tenmangu originally meant "heavenly god" but is now associated with Sugawara Michizane, a courtier-scholar. He was sent into exile and continued to protest his innocence through his poetry until his death. His angry spirit was believed to be the cause of a series of disasters, so he was pardoned and promoted in court rank. He is now revered as the saint of scholarship. For this reason, many pray at Tenmangu shrines or Tenjin shrines for success in school, passing entrance exams, etc. After walking up VERY steep stairs, we were able to say a prayer at the shrine.

This shrine was apparently built before the Tenmangu in Kyoto. Also areas around Tenmangu shrines are usually called Tenjinmachi or Tenjin.

Although Satoshi didn't remember too much about the neighborhood because he was coming and going to work, he was very surprised at how much the area around the station had changed.

We had a very nice day today. :)

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