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Friday, October 01, 2004



Gifu is roughly 260,000 people. Not small exactly, but it's got far more urban sprawl to it than a lot of Japanese cities. I actually live on the outskirts of Gifu, in one of those odd little places that is always self-incorporating and rejoining and regrouping, and whose residents are sometimes unsure of exactly where they DO live. Population density feels like it works differently here than in the States -- about a quarter of the population lives in Tokyo, and a large percentage of the remainder of that somewhere like Osaka/Kyoto or Fukuoka, so any place other than those major cities can possibly feel pretty downright rural, with all the expected conservatisms and strong local flavors. It may not be a small city, but it's smalltown, if that makes any sense. The castle is more or less downtown too, the little dense sprinkling of lights you see below the castle is misleading -- beyond that is an awful lot of fields and hills and orchards and dark old neighborhoods. Maybe if you lifted UT out of Austin, and the Capitol, definitely 6th Street, and probably Dell too, maybe it'd be about like that.

The castle renovation seems to be complete, I'm not sure when that site I linked to was written. The inside is very modern, with no hints as to its past interior whatsoever, just lots of framed pictures and samurai relics in glass cases, but no signs of intended further construction.


Gifu doesn't look to be as small a city as I imagined it to be from your stories. I read that the castle is being renovated, had the work been completed by the time you visited?

Also, that's a wonderful observation about the castle's role in the life of the town and it's people.

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