Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cherry Blossoms & Parks

To celebrate Spring today, Saturday, I visted two flower garden parks and a shrine. The gardens were Kanazawa zoological garden and Kurihama Flower World. The shrine was in Kamakura.

So what do I really remember after all that has happened today? Well, I'll tell you.

I remember Godzilla (Kurihama Flower World).

I also remember a Japanese lady smiling "yes" as I asked for her permission to take her picture - she was hard at work hanging seaweed out to dry like so much laundry (Kurimaha near the sea).

I remember proudly climbing aboard my first Japanese bus, taking a seat, then standing up at the next stop to offer it to a weary senior Japanese lady. I remember her surprise at this act of kindness; she was very tired. As she accepted my seat and I stood nearby, backpack swinging from my lowered hand, she insisted on holding the backback on her lap to allow me both hands to keep steady on the bumpy bus ride. I remember, as she later departed the bus, her warm "domo arigato gozaimas" (thank you very much) as she bowed goodbye (Kanazawa Zoological Gardens).

My dinner in Kamakura tonight was also memorable. I ate dinner at a smal second floor restaurant near the train station. Seated at a table, I browsed the menu (all in Japanese), looking at the pictures of each meal. I chose the picture of a bowl of beef, seaweed, and egg over rice. The waiter accepted my choice but hesitated - he wanted to be sure that I had no objections to the beef shown in the menu's picture. I said "yes, its OK". He smiled.

OK, so here is the rub. I was served a bowl of raw egg, raw ground beef, seaweed, and three kinds of pickeled vegetables, peppers, and it was all cold as is the custom for this type of dish (I soon learned). Well, believe it or not - it wasn't too bad; I probably wouldn't order this dish again, but - not too bad.

As usual, it's the surprises, the new experiences, and the unplanned human interactions that are most memorable. Oh, and the cherry blossoms were spectacular everwhere I visited.

Well I can't take pictures of emotions and human connections, so you will just have to settle for a little Godzilla, seaweed, and lots of cherry blossoms - see the pictures below (click for LARGE views).

GODZILLA (Kurihama Flower World)

SEAWEED DRYING (Kurihama by the sea)

Kurihama Flower World Park

Cherry Trees in Kamakura


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