“Deathly boring mundane details,” indeed. Tara hides it well, but who could fail to be excited by castle factoids? Take Marugame, for example. Built in 1597, abandoned in 1615, and rebuilt in 1643, it is one of the 12 remaining original keeps in Japan and towers a full 66 meters above the surrounding plains! Behold its awesome wonder.
Did I fail to mention most of those 66 meters are hill? Marugame castle itself is a mere 15 meters. But my castle magazine informed me several times that it IS officially a castle and NOT a tower. It may look like a tower, but it is not. Well, obviously. Just look at that crested gable on the second floor. Has to be a castle. No question.
See, if you angle the camera just right, it’s clearly a castle. Just a very small castle. The smallest one, in fact! It’s famous for that and for an almost unimaginably steep series of walls and uneven pathways zigzagging dizzyingly around the lower 51 meters. Apparently the stonemason who designed the walls to be unclimbable did such a good job that the lord of the castle commented that only birds in flight would be able to reach the top. The stonemason, in an ill-fated fit of humility, said that they weren’t all that perfect and he could probably climb them with a small pick. So he did. The lord of the castle was reminded that the stonemason knew the secrets of the wall and had him killed before he could tell anyone else. (There’s a moral in here, but I can’t decide between ‘think before you speak’ or “lay low and hide your capabilities”.)
Tara, sad to be leaving Marugame and its small but mighty non-tower. Never fear, more castles to come!