May 9, 2024 – Osaka

In the days of yore, when it was difficult to travel in Japan, Osaka became an economic center and welcoming point to traders and travelers from all over Asia.

The word “Osaka” means large hill or slope. That name can be seen in writings as early as 1496. In earlier days the town was known as Naniwa. The word Naniwa means flowers in waves. Namba means hard waves.

The Toytomi Clan ruled Osaka. Toytomi Hideyoshi- Born on March 17, 1537 – Died September 18, 1598 was also known as Kinoshita. He was a samuri and daimo(feudal lord) of the late Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods is known as the second “Great Unifier” of Japan.

This great man came from humble roots and became very powerful. He lived in Osaka Castle. After his death, Tokugawa troops attacked the castle and terminated the Toyotomi lineage in 1615.

The inauguration of the line was in 1964 at the start of the Olympics. The word Shinkansen means new trunk line or new main line. Thus, the bullet train is often called the Shinkansen train or bullet train. The name bullet train came from their speed and shape of the front of the train which resembles a bullet.

Yesterday we visited with our Japanese friends and their parents.

We took the train two stops to the north and soon found ourselves sitting with our friends parents. They live in a very nice condo perfect for them, as we do in America. Just the right size with a nice view of the city.

We brought the cheesecake and the pastries for a nice snack. You can go on my Instagram at R.C. Hand to see the videos of the rain ride, I think.

The two aging folks are doing well. We went over old memories together from previous visits. They don’t speak English, but with their daughters help and our mutual experiences we did fine.

We stayed just long enough to see them and chat. After a short time they were ready for a nap. I get that completely.

The ride back on the train was easy and took little time. Their transit system is great. But remember, it is a very small country and densely populated in a few metropolitan areas. Some of the outlying areas are difficult to reach by train. No system is perfect.

The transit system in North Korea is very limited. It has just a few miles of track built by the Russians. It is very deep and is really to be used as a bomb shelter for those in Pyongyang. It is beautiful to see but useless as a metro system.