March 27: Kumamoto

I liked Fukuoka and I’m sorry I didn’t schedule more time there. Today was my day to move again, but just 45 minutes down the train track. It rained most of the day, a light, drizzly kind of rain with a comfortable temperature. I checked in to the new hotel, which wouldn’t let me get into the room until 3 pm. That is the rule.

I particularly wanted to see one garden here: Suizenji koen, and decided to go there, rain or no. The first sight of the park is jaw dropping. When I get back to my other computer I’ll try to put together the photos above to show the entire first view. That said, I probably liked this park less than most of the others I’ve seen. Too many fake mountains, which are supposed to represent the 53 stations of the Tokaido Road.


Many gardens represent scenery from far away places (in Japan or, occasionally China). Travel was a hardship so the wealthy could dream of travel in their gardens (and also compose poems about these famous places). This garden was begun as a tea garden by the feudal lord of the area in 1636 and took about 80 years to complete.

Monument to the two daimyos who built the garden. The woman bowed deeply to each one and stood there for a long time.

Monument to the two daimyos who built the garden. The woman bowed deeply to each one and stood there for a long time.

Never finished yesterday. So tired I was asleep by 10 and slept soundly until 4:30. then wide awake, but finally went back to sleep until 7:30.

More cherry blossoms

More cherry blossoms

On my way back to the hotel I stopped in the food department of a large department store near the tram station and bought stuff for my supper: three pieces of inari sushi, rice wrapped in a tofu skin; some dark green vegetable that might be spinach, and a container of slightly fermented cucumber, as in kimchi. I like that stuff, but inadvertently bought way too much. I’ll be eating every night here. There are vegetables, but it’s hard to find spinach, broccoli, and the other stuff I usually eat. I’m still concerned about my coumadin count, but I’m not showing any black marks yet. I guess I can always get a blood test.

After my vegetarian supper I wanted something sweet. I inquired about supermarkets and was given a map and some directions; then started walking. I found another covered walkway with lots of different kinds of shops, including something called Land of Markets that had some exotic stuff like cheese and another place called Swiss Konditorei. I’m never sure what the names mean, but this looked good. Unfortunately I had already made my purchase. Maybe I’ll go back tonight.

This is the largest hotel room I’ve had since I arrived, and it has the tiniest bathroom. Sometimes I feel like a giant here; I almost don’t fit on the toilet and getting in and out of the tub is an adventure in itself. It feels like there is no room to fall but I’m sure I could kill myself if i’m not careful.

Alice, you remarked about the efficiency of the Japanese. The trains run on time, even the buses and trams keep to a schedule. Problems arise when you don’t ask the right questions, or you don’t know what questions to ask. I asked how to get to the garden and was given exact directions. I didn’t ask if the garden was open, because my experience has been that gardens don’t close. Unlike museums, they are almost all open every day. As for information from websites I should know it isn’t reliable. But sometimes I don’t know how to ask.

4 thoughts on “March 27: Kumamoto

  1. That place looks cleaner than a whistle! Even cleaner than Disney World. But beautiful. Quite an adventure you’re having, I can see how it might exhaust you, but I’ll bet you never regret it.

  2. I was sitting in my office feeling a little bored. Thank you for making my day more exciting. For a few minutes, I felt like I was with you. Oh well, back to work!

  3. I had a seizure when we lived in the Pittsburgh apt., in the small second bathroom. Fortunately, it was too small to fall down, so I merely slid down the wall unbroken! Less is more.
    We are in the middle of a stressful move to NC, and your astounding pix and perceptive comments are keeping both Andy and me a bit saner. Thanks. Grace

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