Cool light summer breeze
All the season's colors flow;
The river dances
Train from Shikoku to Okayama
Trees rush past windows;
Olden houses stand sadly;
My life, in transit.
(Okayama. April, 2008)
Nihon de ha
Boku no itoshiki
In Japan, oh my
so precious cherry blossom,
I wait to meet her
(Sanuki. April, 2008)
Today was a day of flowers. I went to Ritsurin Park and had matcha (green tea) in a traditional tea house. In keeping with tradition, the people seated next to me spoke amiably and we exchanged contact information. I hope that we can become friends. I then went to Jardin (from the French, "garden") to see floral designs. I have posted some of my photographs from Jardin. I went with a close friend who invited me to her house, and I was able to meet and talk with her mother, who is a calligrapher. She brushed the calligraphy above, based on a haiku we wrote together. I felt very warm and welcome. What a wonderful way to start Golden Week.
The new meets the old as a digital mosaic flashes inside a traditional building.
Stone etchings near a shrine with a sacred staircase made of ice that will not melt under the blazing sun and descends into infinity for your viewing pleasure.
Light streaming into a narrow stone passage.
Wind moves metal at the beaches of Naoshima.
I visited Shikoku Mura (Shikoku Village), which is an open-air, walk-through museum of sorts. It is a preservation of traditional Japan and Shikoku. It for me brought up the feeling of the Japan I had always seen in films. Its attractions include a bine bridge; Shodoshima Farmers Kabuki Theater; Yamashita family house; Kohno family house; Sugar cane press; Shikoku-mura Gallery; Nanyo tea hall; Bamboo grove; Lighthouse from Okunoshima; Light house from Cape Esaki (and others); Bark-steaming hut; Shimoki family house; Water-powered rice mill; more family residences; an arched bridge; an old fire station; a soy sauce malthouse; and other similarly folksy attractions. This face of Japan is somewhat lost in the city, although elements remain throughout Japan. And, this is preserved. It's not far, and you can get there by public transportation. Here are some of my photographs from my first visit.
Cross this bridge, suspended by vines, to enter
A Kabuki theater that still hosts performances
An old-fashioned residence
A sugar mill with sakura
Inside the sugar mill
Walkway into the bamboo grove
Water glide outside a small art gallery
There was a huge o-hanami (flower viewing) party at Ritsurin Park yesterday. It was great to sit under the trees with friends and chat all day, with blazing sunlight and beautiful nature all around. In America, there is a similar party in Washington DC, but it is not quite the same as in Japan. The American version is a bit toned down, and it is often cold at that time. The Japanese version is extremely festive and warm, and it is steeped in centuries-old tradition. If you find yourself in the Takamatsu area, definitely check out Ritusrin Park.