Hamarikyu Gardens – Welcome to Japan

Part 2

I arrived in Japan, June 3rd.  And without any rest, my family started our journey beginning in Tokyo.  With much jet lag and humidity on June 4th, we entered the Hamarikyu Gardens.  It is a public park in Chuo, Tokyo.

This land was made for Shogun Tokugawa Family in the 17th Century.  This illustrates the beauty of Japan with emphasizing in the Japanese tradition of tea ceremony style, demonstrating the Wabi-Sabi principles.  Wabi-sabi is acknowledging the beauty within imperfection and to be enlightened by its aging and weathering.  Through the history of implanting the tea ceremony style, it influenced people’s lives to live in “the way of tea” with demonstrating harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.  This developed unique forms of architecture and gardens that are treasured and still can be seen today in Hamarikyu Gardens.

This park is also unique in that, it stands in the middle of Tokyo surrounded by big and tall buildings.  But once I entered into the garden, it was like visiting the past where Japan was once surrounded by green grass, tall trees, wide sky, colorful flowers… As I continue to walk around, I encounter this beautiful empowering living creature that stands green as if never aged… A 300 years old Matsu…

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As I moved on, visitors can enjoy the traditional matcha and wagashi in the place where once Tokugawa has also enjoyed the tea during his time.  At the site, you can request hot or cold matcha and also decide on either wagashi or red bean dessert.  I chose the cold matcha with wagashi.  As I perform the traditional Japanese drinking way of: (1) twisting the cup, (2) taking little sip to enjoy the bitterness with umami of leafy taste, (3) then wiping down where the lips touched, (4) twisting the cup to the starting position, and (5) then, placing the cup down. I felt classy, elegant, and most importantly I found myself enjoying the simplicity of life as they did way back in history… way before we were all born….

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