Okayama is really just a stopover on our journey, but handily enough it happens to be the place where Korakuen, one of Japans three great gardens can be found. When one thinks of gardens of any description, one imagines fluorescent green lawns and leafy trees with perhaps a flower or two.
When one does that, one is imagining summer
Strangely perhaps, when one actually visits a garden in summer one never thinks “well this is all very nice but what does it look like in spring?”. So when one comes from a clime where summer never ends it comes as a slight sensory shock to see acres of the crunchy straw and monochrome of a winter not quite complete. A garden however, doesn’t get to be the best of the best based on one season per year, so as the plums and cherries and wisteria patiently waited their turn to bloom and the rice and other grasses prepared to change the palette of the scene, we had the pleasure of examining its bones laid bare.
Of course there were photos, lots of photos of garden edging and bamboo ties and lines of sight through trees, but each time an opportunity arose for that great garden “hero” shot, some tourist would appear in a whacky pink puffy jacket to stand out in the shot as Robert our trusty and terrible insightful leader was given to remark “like a certain piece of dog’s anatomy”, although perhaps more precisely put, going on to helpfully suggest that they should be banned, and who could disagree.
Thankfully, back in town no-one has thus far had similar thoughts about buildings similarly clad.