Saturday, May 05, 2007
Yesterday Tetsu and I borrowed a wheelchair from a neighbor and took Obaachan (that means "grandmother", his mother) on an outing to a flower park. I'm not sure Obaachan really wanted to go on this outing, she'd rather stay at home and bemoan the fact that she is so old, but we dragged her out anyway.
Actually, before we left I hinted to Tetsu that this might not be the season to visit the flower park but here is the dilemma. The flower park that we went to claims it has one of the largest wisteria trees in Japan and this is the peak of the wisteria blossoms. Unfortunately, it is also Golden Week and this is the only time that anyone in Japan has anytime to go anywhere or do anything. I swear, they all decided to visit this flower park yesterday! Please remember never to visit Japan during Golden Week. The whole population of Japan is moving in one direction or the other.
I don't think I can make you understand what crowded means when you are in Japan! Already on the news yesterday morning they were reporting that the expressways were backed up 30 kilometers or more (I don't know what this is in miles but it is a long way!) and so Tetsu chose to take the back roads to our destination. The traffic wasn't really as bad as we expected but once we got to the flower park... Rice fields in the outer parts of the area had been reconverted into parking lots for Golden Week and after parking we walked 15 minutes to the park and then were herded together like cattle as we inched along to the entrance gate. That was a 30 minute wait.
Once in the park (at a hefty entrance fee too!) we were pushed along with the crowd until we reached the huge wisteria tree. It really was beautiful and we could walk under it and if you looked up you could see the blossoms above you and enjoy the wonderful fragrance too! From there we were swept along at a snail's pace through the rest of the park and though there were loads of colorful flowers it was hard to see them because of all the people. Poor Obaachan could probably only see people's rear ends and their bags from her viewing point in the wheelchair! Tetsu and I valiently stayed cheerful and oohed and ahhed as we caught sight of some flowers and we fed Obaachan ice cream (another 15 minute wait in line to buy it) and stood in lines to use the bathrooms. I did manage to convince Obaachan that she could use the camera (she thought it was too high tech) and she took a very nice picture of Tetsu and me together!
And don't you think Obaachan looks very nice in my striped hat? It was a hot day and she hadn't brought one and she didn't really think a woman of her age should be wearing a striped hat but what else could she do? I think it makes her look like a peppy ol' granny! We continued to be prodded along with the crowd until we were back at the entrance/exit and finally pushed our way back to the car. Once on our way home we commented that at least we could say that we've seen the very famous wisteria in the very famous flower park. Obaachan dryly commented that she wasn't going to see it again in her lifetime.
I've got some nice pictures but now we need a vacation from Golden Week!