Thursday, 24 March 2016

Iemoto's stunning spring arrangement at the entry of Meguro Gajoen.

Hi everyone.

So, here we are in beautiful, cold and bustling Tokyo. Unlike my previous arrival to this city, it now feels very familiar and comfortable. Equipped with warm clothes and comfortable walking shoes, we're ready to go.

This is our sixth day and we've been so busy catching up with my Japanese friends that this is the first chance I've had to attend to this blog.

In my three months stay in 2014, I had no need to see a doctor. This time, on our second day, it became necessary to see an orthopaedic surgeon. Nothing too serious but, with a little research, we went along to Sanno Hospital which is around the corner from Sogetsu Kaikan. Apart from being very efficient and service oriented, the hospital decor is very impressive. The entry and waiting room is like the lobby of a luxury hotel (see photo below. I draw your attention to the full sized, grand piano on an elevated platform in the middle of the room.)

I've been overwhelmed by the kindness of my Japanese friends. Each one I've seen so far has gone out of her way to organize interesting things to do during our catch-up.

The Melbourne group will remember past member, Emiko Chishima, with whom we met up on Sunday. We took a leisurely walk around the Edo Tokyo Museum and then to a delicious lunch at a hotel nearby.

I'm sure you'll agree we look well fed.

On Monday we met up, bright and early with Haruko Hiratsuka, a sogetsu teacher and professional tour guide. She had organised for us to visit Kamakura, one of the oldest and most historical cities in Japan. It is also the home of Kyoko Kamakura who was, hitherto, living in Melbourne but recently relocated to Japan. Kyoko booked a restaurant for the four of us for a sumptuous lunch, after which, we said good bye to her and proceeded to visit the many historical attractions of the town. We were very lucky to have Haruko's expertise as she led the way from one attraction to another and provided the commentry.
Haruko, Kyoko, me and Sam
We spent the whole day in Kamakura visiting various sites including Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura. We had the added bonus of enjoying a mini, solo concert by Italian cellist, Mario Brunelo. He performed outside the shrine to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy.

The Great Bhudda of Kamakura is a bronze statue statue of Amida Buddha and is the second largest bronze statue in Japan. It recently underwent inspection and cleaning and the scaffolding was removed just in time for our visit.

This enormous stump is from a 1000 year old ginko tree that stood at the left of
the great stone stairway to the Shrine. It was uprooted by a storm in 2010.

This is a picture of the tree in its past glory

Just to get this blog back to ikebana from the travel log that it has turned into, I'm leaving you with this wall arrangement I did the day before I left home.

Sayonara until next time,

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