To Japan and back

Modern travel is such a strange thing. One minute I am here, at Cressing Temple, gardening away merrily, then within just a day’s travel I am over the other side of the world, seeing sights and having experiences that seem so far removed from the day before it was more like a dream. And just as suddenly, I am back here again, where all is the same as before, feeling like my trip was no more than an eyeblink! Did it really happen? Such things take some adjusting to. What a good job there are photos to preserve the memories.

Some highlights before I forget!

The simple beauty and fragility of paper lanterns.

Stone, water, bamboo – everywhere

Challenging cuisine!

Where to begin? And with chopsticks too!

Colourful costumes and cultural traditions every bit as ancient and important as our own.

This chap’s got wheels. Perhaps I should try it at Cressing!

A bit too late for the renowned cherry blossom but the clipped Azaleas were stunning.

Simplicity, cleanliness, lack of the unnecessary. Where do they keep all their ‘stuff’?

Topiary and training on a grand scale. Very little is left to nature. Gardening is all about taming the wild and exerting control.


I must be sad taking a photo of a gardeners’ trolley….

Not just a pond with rocks. A venerable pond, with venerable rocks, each one carefully placed with purpose and design and significance.

The colour red. Absolutely everywhere, used as an accent, as an eye-catcher and hugely symbolic and significant.

One spot of red in a sea of greens.

A handy boat for a bit of atmospheric effect!

Reflections in perfectly still water.

Where we might place an urn, in Japan it is a lantern.

Serious pruning takes a serious set of ladders!

A head for heights is obligatory.

The patience to thin all those pine needles – staggering!

Humble tasks – weeding the grass from the moss beneath trees in a park. Volunteers take heed….there are knot garden lawns full of moss at Cressing!

Kimono and handbags. Fashion fusion, old and new.

Emulating the natural landscape but in a precise and controlled way.

Perhaps one can see why when you live in a country where natural forces are an ever present reminder of our vulnerability.

Whilst the horror of the devastation of less natural forces are a poignant reminder of mankind’s mistakes – Hiroshima Peace Park.

Instead of churches and cathedrals, we visited pagodas, shrines and Torii gates.

As if there weren’t enough Torii gates up here, let’s just bring in one more!

The mountains, wild and beautiful. The flatlands, every square inch built upon or given to agriculture (paddy fields seen here). With a population twice the size of ours and a land mass not a great deal bigger, there is not much space per person.

Stepping stones, set at different distances to control the pace of passage around the gardens.

Bamboo forests – ethereal, majestic and so different to anything I have seen before.

The moss gardens. Hard to describe, impossible to convey in a photograph but utterly enchanting – cool, green, quiet oases.

The raked gravel and stones. So hard for us to comprehend or appreciate.

Bonsai for sale! Where we preserve our buildings and architecture, here it seems it is the antiquity of nature that is most revered.

One of most prized and ancient trees in Ritsurin garden and a fine example of Hakomatsu: Carefully cultivated black pine trees. It has been clipped to represent a crane taking flight over a tortoise (use your imagination!).

An exquisite flower, Pecteilis radiata, a species of orchid commonly known as the white egret flower. Such an apt name!

A transport system we Brits can only dream of!

Shopping malls that seem to go on forever.

A beautiful Japanese wedding.

With a more western style reception and two very proud parents!

What a trip. What an adventure.

It is good to be home.



















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