the dewy path

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cherry blossom time?

The Japanese Meteorological Office position on the forecast of sakura is that it will arrive in Kyoto this year on 25th March, which seems much earlier than recent years.

So here I am in grey UK, thinking back two years, and remembering how lovely the willows and the cherry trees looked along the riverbank in Gion; and how easy it was to acquire the Japanese adrenalin rush at the slightest hint of pink; "ooooh" and "aaaaah" along with the rest.

Much more delicate and fragile than our English (or Italian) flowering cherry. One puff of harsh wind, one frost - and all is gone. And how much it is appreciated because it is so ephemeral.

Sitting admiring cherry blossom while eating green tea ice cream is one of the spiritual highlights of my life. Total bliss of being in the moment. Only second to the amazing bell in Shoren-in, but that is another story... which is still ongoing.

Here are some photos taken in Heian Jingu on 9th April 2005.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dutch Japanese garden in London?

To be accurate, its the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park in London!

I was visiting London (staying overnight with my Life Long Friend from library school) to meet with a newer friend. She was on her way home to Australia from France. We had met in Kyoto last November - having narrowly missed meeting in Kyoto in the spring of 2005! So we share a love of Japan and the gardens - nay, an addiction, lets be honest here.

In all my visits to London (my hometown) I had never managed to see this garden. It was created in 1991 by the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce, and is set the lovely wooded grounds of the old Holland House. We saw squirrels, peacocks and a fox to give you some idea of the rural quality of the park. There were drifts of daffodils under the trees outside the Japanese garden, but the planting inside was well created, with acers already in leafburst and mahonias flowering quietly - but the general evergreen theme was prevalent of course. I only had my phone but snapped a few images for the portfolio of gardens.

In Japanese gardens its considered good form to go and sprinkle the stones with water when honoured guests are expected, in order to show the stones to their best advantage. As can bee seen by the surface of the water in the penultimate photo, we were obviously very special guests - as it was pelting with rain! A day of showers and strong gusts of wind in an otherwise mild spring.

We managed, of course, to find a small garden centre in the grounds of Holland Park. Quite exclusive and expensive, but a small souvenir purchase was made to travel back to Oz. And we saw some excellent small Japanese pruning shears and a large aluminium tripod ladder, imported from Japan!

The last photo is from the next day - we chanced upon an old RouteMaster bus, still in service - a number 15. Another headline missed "Australian tourist mown down by car while taking ground level photo of a No. 15 bus" The car wasn't that close, or fast as it rounded the corner, but I think the driver looked a bit bemused at seeing someone at that angle!

We had a meal out together in Soho - LLF, my Eldest Daughter (who lives in London) and the Australian Horticulturalist! The conversation flowed, and I don't think we paused for breath - only to eat and drink! A great time. I hope we can repeat on your next visit, Bruna!

Japanese gardens are wonderful, but friends are precious.

A deep bow across the continents and oceans.