Here is something unthinkably boring my parents used to do with us: go on day trips to gardens with no playgrounds. Here’s what we did with Isaac Saturday: day trip to Bellingrath Gardens in nearby Mobile. All we need now is a Ritchie Valen’s tape, or maybe an old album of Glad. Ouch.
I am going to powerfully miss Japan in the fall. But here’s what I forgot about: spring in the South! Friends in Atsugi reported snow and the late first plum blossoms the same weekend we had sunny 80 degree weather and started planting hibiscuses in the back yard. No one should have to endure sleet in April, or May finally warming up enough to wear long sleeves. I shudder.
Other climates provide separate viewing seasons for plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, tulips, azaleas, wisteria, hydrangeas. But two weeks ago all those flowers exploded into bloom here. Roadsides are a jumbled purple tangle of wild wisteria. Azaleas as tall as houses hold court in expansive green lawns. Green-gray Spanish moss is now in stark relief against the lush green of new live oak leaves. We have to revel in it while we can; three months from now you may laugh when it’s too hot for us to go outside.
|Not so sure about this game.|
|Don’t worry, Dad—no alligators.
That’s good…what alligator could resist that chubby morsel?
At this point in the rather expansive gardens we were passed by an Indian family silently videotaping their walk, winning them the award for most boring vacation video ever. I only point out they are Indian to assure you they were not Japanese, because if they were the video would seem far less surprising. Along that same point, we noted that if this garden were in Japan, it would be ten million times more crowded. I’m reading George Friedman’s “The Next 100 Years,” which points out America is one of the most underpopulated developed countries in the world. Walking through these lovely, charming gardens, I couldn’t help but think about cost per visitor compared to Japan. How does anything here make any money? No wonder Ginza real estate is $20,000 per square foot or whatever. Next, we were underwhelmed by the Asian-American garden section as a whole. We snobbishly concluded it was absolutely not designed by anyone who’d been to Asia. (snobby cultured chortle here)