There's a beautiful ride right near my place around the grounds of Osaka Castle. The Castle is situated on a peak and the surrounding park is large, so I had seen it in the distance a number of times as I made excursions near my place.
Last night, I went for a ride around it with a guy named Vince, who I met when I first got here. At night, there are relatively few people around and you can ride fast through the corridors of the massive walls, over the moats, and eventually into the inner sanctuary. The castle itself is lit up like a massive beacon. As we charged in, I imagined a samurai army swarming the grounds, scaling the walls over the fallen bodies of their underlings.
As is the case with many Japanese Castles, however, the main tower of Osaka-jo (大阪城) is a reconstruction. The modern structure was opened to the public in 1997 and replaced an earlier reconstruction that was destroyed by Allied bombs during the Second World War. What remained of the original tower was destroyed during the Meji Restoration, when the grounds were turned into an army barracks. The current reconstruction is conveniently outfitted with an elevator, which you see in the foreground of this picture.
Today, Ken and I went up to the northern part of town to meet with Takanori, a specialist in Indian mathematics who was a Ph.D. student in the States with Alex. Takanori and I will meet once a week to read some texts, so we had a preliminary discussion of how to proceed. Since the Kansai region has one of the biggest concentrations of specialists in the history of Indian mathematics in the world, Ken was adamant that I should study Sanskrit with Takanori and begin to read Indian texts as soon as possible. At length, however, it was agreed that Takanori and I would read Arabic on Monday, and Ken and I would read Greek on Wednesday. We then all read a few theorems of the Spherics.