Authenticity

It’s been a little more than two months since I got back to Japan. Though I was not willing to coma back, it’s good to enjoy living in my home country.

Is it weird to talk about New Year’s resolution in March? In some (many?) cases, New Year’s resolution only lasts a month or a few weeks, so it may make more sense to talk about it when a couple of months have passed. One of my resolutions for the “new” year is to visit a historical site once a month. In January, I visited 熱田神宮 (Atsuta shrine) in my “neighbourhood”, and also visited 名古屋城 (Nagoya Castle).

In February, I visited 犬山 (Inuyama). One of the main destinations of this day trip was 犬山城 (Inuyama Castle).

犬山城 - Inuyama Castle

So, I visited two castles in Aichi prefecture in two moths, and there is a big difference between them; the tower of Inuyama Castle is the original one, but the tower of Nagoya Castle was rebuilt about half a century ago. In other words, the former is authentic, and the latter is not. I’m not saying that rebuilding a castle tower is not good. The tower of Nagoya Castle was burnt out in an air raid by U.S. in WWII, and I actually admire their efforts to rebuild a historical treasure. But it’s a little too entertaining. It is equipped with an elevator, and there is a souvenir shop on the top floor, which disappointed me.

On the other hand, I was so impressed by Inuyama Castle. For example, a beam impressed me though it is not a significant feature of the castle. On the surface of the beam, I can see the efforts that people made about 500 years ago; people planed a piece of lumber with hand tools of the time.

犬山城の梁 - a beam of Inuyama Castle

For another example, again, though it is not anything remarkable, I noticed the age of the castle on the floor; it has been polished by people… by the samurai in the past, and today by the tourists.

犬山城の床 - polished floor of Inuyama Castle

When I visit a museum or a historical site, as I wrote in an old post, I always spend a long time… I mean, I “usually” spend a long time. I often visit a historical site with my friends, and when they walk at their pace, they “rush” me as a result… This is why I prefer visiting those places by myself. Anyways. It’s not about watching famous art works. It’s not about taking selfies at a popular site. It’s about feeling people’s life in the past. I feel I am communicating with people in the past through authentic pieces of whatever.

By the way, I wrote I was disappointed by the tower of Nagoya Castle, but it does not mean I don’t like Nagoya Castle. In fact, I enjoyed seeing the stonewalls, for example. They were not burnt out by the air raid; it’s real. It’s not tough to imagine it was hard work, and people did it by hand.

名古屋城の石垣 - stonewall of Nagoya Castle

Anyways, I want to keep my resolution. Of course “sight seeing” cannot be a “resolution”. It’s not only about visiting sites but witnessing the history of my home country. In a way, my resolution for last year still continues; to ignite my intellectual curiosity. I will eventually go back to Canada. While living in Jaapan, I want to take this opportunity to lean more about my home country to be proud of it.

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