Lost blog entry from June 20 is found, thanks to WIP internet cafe employee in Yokohama!! ARIGATOU
June 20, 2007
Tuesday, our first full day in Japan, we went to Sankei-en Garden, really a huge park with temples, houses, and rustic tea huts transplanted from all over Japan. I took Laura and Chad to the Yanohara Farmhouse, right away, since its thatched-roof, irori hearths, and spacious tatami rooms have a permanent place in my heart. The front of the house was for visiting notables--formal ramma transoms, a huge butsu-dan Buddhist altar. The fire burns all the time to keep the house from falling down--a tradition that I used to think was superstitious. Now I suspect the custom prevents mold and insects from destroying the roof and the walls. On the "attic" level farmer wives raised silk worms, feeding the larvae mulberry leaves every two hours until they formed the cocoons made of silk thread.
Haiku from Sankei-en by Takahama Kyoshi, written in 1933:
kamo no hashi
yori taratara to
haru no doro
From the beaks of ducks
Trickling in lavish drops
Muddy earth of spring
(translation by Kimmel)
Laura and Chad climbed up to the 3-tiered pagoda on the hill while I recorded that. Then we sat at a small outdoor kissaten kind of place while she put ice on her many mosquito bites. The nice ladies gave her some non-itch medicine to take away the discomfort. Funny language lesson took place on this occasion. Forgetting the proper idiom, I said that my daughter "was chewed by mosquitoes." They looked puzzled, thought a moment, and then answered with the correct verb, "stabbed/pierced."
Later on in the evening, at a pharmacy, we learned that insect repellant is mushi-yoke. On a less practical note, we found "ume-shuu zeri" a delicious, slightly alcoholic jello with plums in it, at that same pharmacy. Nearby was an elegant Japanese sweets store, a wagashi-ya, named "Rabbit." Laura adores mochi; so she bought a lot.
Proverb: Mochi wa mochi-ya
For mochi, go to a mochi store. In other words, when you need something, go to the experts.
After much research, we found an internet cafe. It's surprisingly difficult to find wifi in Yokohama--no one seems to know a cafe that has it--but I carried in my iBook and WIP Media Computer Space clerk was able to get me on the Internet with a cable. [However, it turned out that I couldn't upload to statravel site from the Mac--grrr]
Naturally the ryokan does not have wifi. It doesn't have any computer services at all. The whole point is to escape the modern world, spending time in the garden looking at the carp or soaking in the o-furo. That's why it's so restful.
Maya Amagishi called Tuesday night. She was Laura's classmate from St. Maur's International School in Yokohama, all those years ago. She was always a phenomenal pianist, and now she's working as a jazz singer.
We'll meet her tomorrow night at the Intercontinental for her 8:00 p.m. show. It's in the second floor and the room is called Star Bore (!?!). We're to take theToyoko-sen to the Minato Mirai station. Exit the station; turn left; take the big escalator, the the smaller escalator. Then we'll take the outdoor (?) passage. It's connected to Pan Asia. Don't know what this all means, really, but we'll find out tomorrow.
From the American point of view, a notable sight at Sankei-en (other than beautiful gardens and buildings):
***a guy wearing a traditional tenugui hand towel on his head decorated with logo for Jurassic Park the movie***
Notable "Jan-glish" sight on bus 148 from Sankei-en Mae to Sakuragi-cho Mae
***A sweet-faced, gray-haired obaasan wearing baseball cap with the following phrase: "female dog is euphamism" skate board****