These days we are trying to soak up as much of the blue plum as we might contain. Our days here are coming to an end, and we are really going to miss our peaceful neighborhood in Japan: Ome (Oh-may). It means blue plum.
The Japanese have earned considerable fame for their exquisite gardens but more often than not those that receive the most attention follow a Zen aesthetic: sparse, perfectly manicured, with a sense of order but space for what has yet to grow. The fact is, in Japan–and definitely in the Blue Plum–gardens are living portraits of their keepers. There are at least six gardens in my neighborhood that feel to me like a cozy cafe calling me to come in, take a seat, and chill with a cup of tea. Like this one at the top of the page.
This is another favorite of mine. Many of our neighbors have pure genius for guiding a plant’s growth. Whenever I walk past this house, I love to examine the branches of this tree hugging the fence. Many of the houses in our neighborhood are really nothing special–actually, rather ugly. The gardens, however, are overflowing. No matter how little space there is to work with, what space is there is filled with life.
On a short walk around our neighborhood we can spot loads and loads of bonzais (one of our neighbors has a really exquisite collection of bonzai–I’ll have to sneak back over and take some photos), wild bamboo, yards full of rose bushes, innumerable potted plants of all kinds, and little plots filled with vegetables, fruit, and wild flowers.
I’m crazy about these yellow flowers. Many of our neighbors grow this type of flower, (I know zero about plants and flowers as you can tell) but this is one of the more robust examples I’ve found.
We also happen to live a few hundred meters from a beautiful Zen Temple, which I visit several times a week. There, I can feel a palpable peace that holds me and calms my nerves when I’m jittery. If I’m lucky enough to already feel calm and peaceful when I arrive, that same peace carries me into a contemplative state. Oh! I can’t imagine not visiting this place five times a week! Surely there won’t be any Zen Temples in Slovakia!
There’s also a pond adjacent to the temple that is filled with enormous carp. Laco loves to sit alongside the water and watch the fish chase each other in their small space.
Here are a bunch more photos that you might enjoy:
This is Laco eating ramen noodles with a nice man who visits us once every several weeks. Well, the landlord sends him to clean up the garden but since Laco is always in the garden, the two of them end up hanging out. It’s really sweet.