Matsuyama Castle: Recreating a battle

beautiful view from the tower

beautiful view from the tower of the castle

Random Observation/Comment #65: The view of the city and the trees is incredible from the top of a castle.I tried to imagine how this place looked hundreds of years ago without industrialization.Was it a vast plain of trees from one mountain to the next?Was this terra-formed land once a jungle of creatures?Can I just replace the concrete with wooden huts and farmland?I can’t even imagine the inspiration from such a sight.I would have been a better writer 1000 years ago.

We left Iya valley and traveled to stay in Matsuyama for a night.The agenda was simple: look at the castle and go to an onsen.It didn’t sound like much of an impressive plan since I had done both activities two or three times in Osaka and Kobe.Regardless, I kept my senses heightened, waiting to be impressed.

It didn’t take long to find something surprising and interesting about this city.Looking above the crowded streets with the large tram rail running through it, I saw a thick lush of green on the mountainside followed by a white-ish, gray structure establishing its control over the land.Staring at the castle in the distance made me feel protected by the ominous and all-powerful emperors.Although some may have seen the rule by these deities living amongst the heavens a corrupt and unjust choice of government, at that moment, my mind explored the possibility of safety and security.I must admit that it was a strange and unexpected feeling, but I admired its symbolism.I became that ignorant farmer for just one second and smiled at the gifts sent from heaven.

These mix of emotions shifted when I started walking up the mountain to the castle.We rode the chairlift for 10 minutes up to the top to save some hiking for the day.It’s worth the extra money (trust me; I’m a frugal traveler) because the most gorgeous view is at the top anyway.The chairlift experience is also quite interesting and unique.I imagined it would be similar to skiing because they also had something that looked like a gondola, but instead, it’s a single chair that doesn’t take you more than 10 feet off the ground and higher than a 30 degree angle (handy dandy travel protractor?).The view below you is a nice fence net (for those clumsy enough to fall off the chair).So maybe the scenery for the short ride isn’t as spectacular with the high vegetation covering the sights left and right, but you’ll be able to take your pictures once you reach the top.

The main castle area was much larger than the one in Osaka. It had layers of protection for all of the important officials that lived within the walls.Each of the winds had their own separate towers that overlooked the cliff.Small windows opened upward as flaps and were held open with wooden sticks as a wedge.I felt a surge of adrenaline looking out one of the main towers used for scouting.

My clothes changed in the blink of an eye and the loud tourist laughs were replaced with peaceful sounds of the blowing winds.The samurai suit was bulky and heavy, but I looked really badass with that helmet on.

There were fields of soldiers in perfect formation.The oversized flags gave me pride to be serving the emperor.This was different from the normal practice drill.In the horizon was an approaching sandstorm of steel and flesh.What were they fighting for?They must have had a very convincing flag, too.I spoke Japanese without thought, and played this game of Risk.

The battle before me was epic.The volley of arrows that would have darkened the sky for the enemy soldiers looked much more elegant from my perspective.It moved as a single wave which devoured the moving walls.

At one moment, I was staring into the distance dumbfounded, but in the next I was holding a katana covered with blood and internal fluids.My body moved on its own accord and swiftly parried and counter-attacked.I felt the sharp blade puncture every organ as I stabbed countless strangers with intent to kill me.Should I feel guilty?I wouldn’t be able to feel guilty if I didn’t defend myself.

Adrenaline coursed through my veins, which kept every slice swift and effortless for hours.But, I knew my body was physically exhausted.Practice would last an hour, but I did not have to continue fighting with open gashes infected with sand and cloth.I blocked out the pain when every rehearsed move made my wounds deeper.There would be no timeout, penalty, roughing, high-sticking, cross-checking, red card, white towel, or whistle blow – the fighting would continue.And in the end, my eyes would be tainted with death and suffering.

I stood there in the tower silent and imagining all of the details.My imagination seemed to be heightened by actually standing in the castle, as if ghosts of the past were showing me their story.Whatever that experience was; it kicked the shyt out of Hollywood.

~See Lemons Day Dream