Please start at Day One

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Day 38 - Afternoon Tea in the Park

It`s on days like today that I wish I could paint or write poetry. I felt inspired by my visit to Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu City, which is the largest garden designated as a special National Scenic Area and comprises of six ponds and thirteen hills set against the breathtaking evergreen backdrop of Mount Shiun (I copied that from the park guide). I had failed in my intention to learn drawing skills before I came on the pilgrimage. I didn`t write any poetry or draw any pictures today, but I took loads of photos. The above photo is virtually identical to the one in my guidebook. The park is so carefully designed, every tree, lake, bridge and even stone has been deliberately positioned for maximum aesthetic appeal, so there is now even a recommended point from which to take the best photograph.

Today was a rest day, no walking, no temples. The park was busy with people eating picnics and having wedding photographs taken against the backdrop of cherry blossom, very romantic, and I suddenly felt lonely without my partner. I spent most of the day in the park, it is in the centre of a large busy city, but the park was peaceful and beautiful. Plum and cherry trees were blossoming, today was a warm sunny spring day with just a gentle cool breeze. I sipped Matcha (fine Japanese powdered green tea) sitting on a tatami mat in Kikugetsutei tea-house overlooking Nanko Lake. Kiku-getsu-tei (moon-scooping-house) tea-house was originally built around 1640 and later given that name by Yoritaka, the feudal Lord of  Takamatsu in 1745, inspired by the words of Chinese Tang Era poet Yu Lianshi who wrote, "When I scoop the water, I hold the moon in my hands." 

The waitress who served me breakfast in the hotel this morning is the same one who served me udon last night in a restaurant about a block and a half away, we were both surprised to see each other again this morning. She is busy!
  • Distance walked today =  0km
  • Distance walked so far = 756.6km
  • Temples visited today = nil
  • Kouban visited today =  nil
  • Accommodation =   Hotel and breakfast ¥7,860,  Royal Park Hotel, Takamatsushi, Kagawaken 〒760 0048
  • Expenditure today =  various gifts ¥1,350 and ¥2,585, entrance to Ritsurin Park ¥400, cup of tea ¥710, lunch snacks ¥263, coin laundry ¥400, evening snacks and sake ¥1243. 
  • Settai = I took a long time deciding between two gifts in a shop in Takamatsu City today. Eventually I made my choice, paid, and was leaving the shop when the shopkeeper called me back, and gave me the other one as a gift.

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