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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

PEARL'S ASHES: Chapter 17--Jindai Botanical Garden


On 3April2009, Pearl and I had 
dinner at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo with four key individuals who helped me search for Kenjiro's  grandmother.  Click on that link for details of my roots quest.  From the left, Fumio Ito (of Tokyo Electric Power, who led the Japan's team on Nauru to build their first ocean thermal energy conversion facility), Toshitsugu Sakou (Tokai University dean who chaired the Japan Marine Technology Society), Kenji Hotta (ocean professor at Nihon University) and his wife, Hiromi, who accompanied us on the search to Utashinai, with Takayoshi Ota (Shimizu engineer who worked with Fumio on Nauru).

Fumio indicated at the gathering that he wanted to take us to his favorite sakura spot, Jindai Botanical Park, which has become the emotional center for Pearl's Ashes.  On 8April2009, he picked us up in a taxi at the Tokyo Westin Hotel.  The cherry blossoms were at peak, with the slight winds blowing around cherry blossom petals like in a snowstorm.  It was all so mesmerizingly beautiful.

What Pearl and I did not know was that Fumio had practically escaped from his hospital room just to honor his wish to guide us.  A week later we learned that he passed away.  Three months later Pearl went.  This was a terrible time in my life.

Two years later on 10April 2011, with some reluctance, I decided to again visit Jindaiji.  But this time I walked to the other end (this is said to be largest park in Tokyo), and to my shock, looked up and saw this:


A statue that looked exactly like Pearl.  I took a photo and was so startled, that I neglected to drop off her ashes at the site.

I returned a year later on 22April2012 and, on the back, saw 1961 Y. Busshi.  I later learned that the Y. was for Yasuo.  I discussed with the garden staff about who the model might be.  They made a quick search through the files and could not find anything.  They said they'd follow up.  I left my business card, but as of this writing more than five years later, nothing.  I did have an excellent bento with Chofu beer close to the statue and dropped Pearl's Ashes #31.  

I left PA#32 where all those cherry trees were blooming, around where Fumio took a photo of Pearl and me.  Jindaiji certainly has the greatest variety of cherry blossoms.

Anyone wishing to visit Jindai Botanical Park and "Pearl's" statue, can catch a taxi and pay a fortune, or take two other more economical ways:
  • Board the JR Chuo line to Kichijoji or Mitaka Stations and transfer to bus #4 at Kichijoji or #65 at Mitaka.  Ask some Odakyu bus attendant which bus stop to use, or memory has it that Kichijoji is BS#6 and Mitaka South Exit BS#3.
  • From Shinjuku Station, take the Keio train line to Chofu.  Go to bus stop #14 and board bus #34. 

At the main entrance, once inside, make an immediate right turn to the Rose Garden.  That's the Greenhouse in the background.  Right in front is a large chrome chime that plays angelic music.  Pearl's statue is the closest one to it.  Note that the park is closed on Mondays, except on national holidays, when it is closed the following day, Tuesday.  I've come all that distance on three closed days, including on my latest trip to Japan.  However, if the cherry blossoms are in bloom, just the ride to the garden is spectacular.

Next Wednesday, The Legality and Logistics.

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