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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Plum Blossoms of Kairakuen

Finally, and with a joy that I can't exactly describe, I made it to the third most beautiful garden in Japan, Kairakuen in Ibaraki Prefecture. So why the sentimentality? It's just a garden.
From the outset of my own blog I sat out to merge certain elements that have a spiritual (not concerned with material values or pursuits), and an existential congruity. I'm not trying to be deep or profound, actually. What I'm attempting to merge here are the things in my life which drew me to Japan first, in order to make sense out of why I came here, even down to the so-called symbiotic nature of blood types and also at times its antibiosis to how it relates to personality traits (…i.e. there are just some people who absolutely abhor me just because I'm me, but I believe that it has something to do with blood type).
Everything about people and life came together for me when I finally arrived here in Japan, and even more so after I paid a visit to Kairakuen. The third garden!
Kairakuen, Kenrokuen, and Korakuen, represent for me the very height of Japanese beauty and aestheticism for a garden.

(“Out with the old; in with the new - here it's, out with the new, in with the old”)
Here at this garden I saw so many elements of nature and life merging together, there was even the tragic beauty of death of flower caused by spring gales - even the young die before given a chance to fully blossom, such is life, such was me. The beauty of Kairakuen which was on display in the form of two very lovely local girls draped in Kimono was also a special moment for me, each allowing passersby to snap photos of and with them - to my left is Ms. Mito and the other is Ms. Ibaraki.
The simplicity and strangeness of a stupid little delicious looking green candy apple being eaten by a lovely wet mouth, which gave off a sense that there is some sort of quirky balance and an interconnectivity between that which we take for granted in our everyday lives, like making love and deep kissing, or teasing little chubby babies, to even savoring an apple. Far too often and far too many people forget how to just enjoy the beauty of an apple. There’re poor in THIS WORLD in the 21st CENTURY who’ve never even tasted a normal looking apple in their whole entire lives!?
It's a garden replete with all the beauty of old Japan; flowing rivers, long and elegant bamboo with their hollow jointed stems, 3000 swaying ume trees releasing their aroma into the air, clad with thousands of little plum blossoms, tea houses and wooded stairs, ancient cedars, and lovely little footpaths that wind around the entire garden. Just lovely.
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So I reiterate , is there any material value in visiting such a park, especially in an age when conspicuous consumption is fast becoming the only modus operandi for living life? Did the 30,000 or so young Japanese people who took their lives last year, and the year before die because they lacked money, or was it hope!? Jobs = money, money=security, without money there's no hope, there's not even a tomorrow, a never ending circle of dependence on money is all many have become. This is the termed the spiritual void. But even money can’t buy my dreams and wishes.
(" Let's buy something expensive, just for the hell of it. That way we can rub it in our friends faces by making them feel like they have to go out and buy the same thing, but only better").
Who cares about visiting such places when you can use your money to buy the latest gadgetry, or drink the latest French wine that cost a fortune, even though you can't even pronounce the name on the label. What can be gained from walking around a garden with a bunch of trees? The Soul of Japan. Gadzooks! What a no brainer. To actually think that something as simple as visiting a garden in Japan one could experience, if one only tries for just a moment to use a little introspection, the appreciation of the beauty of a nation in its most simplest form, a mother naked kind of beautiful form. That’s all I needed.
Here, let me help you. It’s called JR East. The path to enlightenment is called Super Hitachi and it will take you to the promise land. It’s only a small step to freeing your mind, and then your body will follow..
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Another step to enlightenment is enjoying a couple of these long distance lunch boxes with one of my other favorite mommas, and then washing it all down with a bottle of Akita’s Shimizu.
The Hitachi Fresh is the newest version of the Super Hitachi.
Another interesting aspect of this garden were the almost mythical images these trees displayed:
Almost like beauty suffering in pain as it’s being twisted by the hardness of life.
And then there’s natto, fermented soybeans, which I absolutely adore. And here is another personal example of natto the old fashion way.
And what I enjoyed the most with natto.
The delicious squid and octopus. ( I love the smell when these foods are being grilled, along with the scent of a women’s hair after it’s been shampooed).
Shinto. Ooh, how I love thee. You are the purest.
I enjoyed walking and talking with my favorite Jukujo the whole time. We drank nihonshu, enjoyed delicious ume ice cream, breathing in the newness of life and the beginning of spring. I can live again.


  1. Hi Tornadoe!

    Thanks. How's everything over in your neck of the woods?

  2. I love Candy apples and every other heart attack inducing food they sold at the old traveling fairs!!

  3. Hey Chris! Thanks for the comment.
    Nothing wrong with a little good heart attack inducing food.

  4. That garden looks cool. I love the voyeuristic shots of the green candy apple.

  5. Thanks Andrew, yeah, I'm sure the candle apple liked it from its angle better. Wish I were it.



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