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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#9: JINDAI BOTANICAL PARK

On 22March2018 I began a ten-part series on the most monumental articles I have had in this blog site.  I hope to cover all of them by 30April2018, so today I will present #9 on Jindai Botanical Park, which was one of my stops on my recent Sakura 2018 tour.

My posting of 8April2009 first reported on the initial visit Pearl and I took, guided by Fumio Ito.  However, that particular article was rather short and only mentioned that we went there.  I will, thus, repeat (with enhancements as necessary) my 13April2013 version, for it better tells the whole story.

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This posting, which sums up my previous ash scattering ceremonies in Japan, links with my stay in Tokyo and my visit to Jindaiji in 2013:



Then, the following day came #19, 27March2011, at the Nagasaki Peace Park:




The epicenter of Fat Man exploding was above this point. On 30March2011 I went to the Peace Park in Hiroshima, from where her ancestors came.  

On 1April2011 I stopped through Maruyama Park, where there is the oldest Sakura in the Kyoto:

 

I hereby add a photo taken of us here in 2003:


I might add that while we were in Kyoto, friends took us out to dinner and a special karoake bar with Geishas:


#22 on 8April2011 outside the Park Hyatt Tokyo, her favorite hotel:



At the base of these Sakuras, I presented Pearl's ashes:




On 10 April2011, #23, at the Shinjuku Gyoen, her favorite cherry blossom park:


I tossed Pearl's ashes here:



The park was filled with people enjoying their hanami, a picnic with the Sakura.  I knew there would be this sign:



So my hanami bento was carefully shielded:



I was drinking 124 year old beer and 260 year old sparkling sake (well, at least the companies were that old):



I laid Pearl's ashes here under the white cherry blossom tree:


That same year, Spring of 2009, we stayed at the Park Hyatt and hosted close professor friends (involved with my search for Kenjiro's grandmother) at the hotel's New York Grill.  


At dinner, Fumio Ito (he is on the left, plus Toshitsugu Sakou, Kenji Hotta and Hiromi Hotta, with Pearl and me--Hiromi, in particular, was helpful, for she accompanied us to Hokkaido on one search), Tokyo Electric Power chief engineer, insisted that he had to take Pearl and I to his favorite Sakura site, Jindai Botanical Park.  The temple here was founded in 733 AD.  There are 100,000 trees of 4500 varieties, and the widest assortment of cherry blossom trees as I've ever seen anywhere.  Jindai Botanical Park is, perhaps, the most important site of all.  While this is #24 on my later trip, chronologically, the ash ceremony was #31.  Memorable can be brutal, and here is this sad story



I did not realize that he practically escaped from his  hospital and took a taxi to the Park Hyatt to pick us up.  To make a terrible story short, two weeks later he passed away and two months subsequently, Pearl went.

Thus I had to re-visit Jindai Botanical Park to drop Pearl's ashes here.  This second time, looking for an ideal site, I suddenly came upon this statue:


I was so in shock at seeing what looked like Pearl that I forgot to perform the ceremony.  

Thus, I had to return a third time  a year later, but it was a Monday, and the park was closed that day.  



I had brought a bento, and in advance substituted some sake in a water bottle, so I sat near a brook next to the park and enjoyed my vegetarian meal:


On my fourth attempt, I finally tossed her ashes (which was #31, but I'm now calling it #24) and I took a few more photos:


Thus, I learned that the artist creating the statue was Yasuo Bussi.  I then visited the  research staff of the Jindai Botanical Park (also called Garden), but after a careful search through their files, the four staff members there could not identify the person.  I left my business card and they promised to send me any information they might yet uncover, although they were not optimistic.  For those interested in someday visiting this park, from Shinjuku Station:


-  take the Keio line to Chofu
  -  go to stop #14 and board bus #34 to Jindaiji Botanical Park


  - when you enter the park, make an immediate right turn and walk to the rose garden, where there are 5,000 rose plants.

I make an annual pilgrimage to Jindai Botanical Park, and have a picnic next to Pearl's statue, as I did earlier this month:





Roses bloom both in late May and October.  I'll be back.



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