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Sunday, April 8, 2018

SAKURA 2018: Day 5--Jindaiji

My first four days had no cherry blossoms.  Today, I make up for that.

Jindai Tokyo Metropolitan Biological Park, or Jindaiji, is my most memorable park.  It was almost exactly nine years ago when Fumio Ito took Pearl and me here.  He was a very special friend, for he was the lead for the Japanese OTEC project on Nauru.  I went to lunch at his home one day and he pointed out the adjacent city park, which was once his ancestors land.  However, inheritance taxes pretty much spreads the wealth in Japan.  He showed me a Stradivarius violin, which he thought could be worth a million dollars.  I asked him where he kept it, and he said under his bed.

Well, anyway, it turned out that he had escaped from his hospital bed to take us on this tour, and passed away two weeks later.  Three months later Pearl went.  To the right, Fumio is on the extreme left, with Toshitsugu Sakou between them, the Hottas and I.

The following year I thought I'd drop by Jindaiji again.  I walked to another part of the park to the rose garden.  I was stunned to see a statue of what looked exactly like Pearl.  I immediately left. 

Then, the following year, I went back to gather information.  The statue was the work of someone named Y. Busshi.  He created this art piece in 1961, the year before I met Pearl.  I went to the office to see if anyone could tell me who was the model.  I went back several times more over the years, but no luck.  There must be a dozen naked statues here, all female.

Pearl's is located closest to a large chime that plays angelic music every hour.  She is, thus, well-serenaded.  Here are a few photos I took on this visit.  First two, the chime in front of her in the background, and the second from this device:


This is where I had my bento:


Snapper and chutoro sashimi, chicken and three musubis, with a cup of sake.  I was surrounded by what looked like wisteria plants:


I will get to the cherry blossoms, but impressive were the azaleas and begonias:


These were the largest azaleas I've ever seen, and also the smallest:


Even more spectacular were the begonias:


This first scene is of the area where I took that photo at the top of Pearl and Fumio when the Sakura was at peak.  With each waft of air, petals dropped like a snowfall.  This time, the peak was ten days ago:


I would say the cherry blossoms on this trip were a tenth of nine years ago.  Yet, some of the blossoms were still worthy:



Several trees had two colors.  I show the above to to underscore the variety.  Ueno Park has only one type of cherry blossom.

There were cacao trees, where you get your chocolate:


Of course there were other flowers:


Roses:


And water lilies:


My bento lunch with Pearl's statue was my only paying meal so far in Japan.  For dinner I went back to the Executive Lounge, where the same chef was there with the same rice/snapper bowl, which I had with vegetable soup and another type of fish dish:


Tomorrow, I'm off to Sendai, which is 60 miles from where those Fukushima nuclear power plants ruined Japan for the foreseeable future.  However, the Sakura is supposed to be at peak.

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