We had a wonderful leisurely trip, enjoying sights on the way. When we arrived at the museum we found out what we hadn’t checked in the website: it was closed that Tuesday. We were crestfallen; I was deeply disappointed, knowing I may not again have the chance to come there. As we wondered what we could do, we noticed a sign a few hundred yards away. A tea garden. We sauntered in.
It was a most astounding discovery. It was an oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
He looked after the garden for thirty years. He poured his money and passion into creating a garden of utmost perfection. He tripled the size of the garden and imported from Japan plants, birds and koi fish. He even secured the ornamental wooden gate of the Japanese pavilion when the 1915 Panama Pacific International Expo closed. After he died, his daughter Takano Hagiwara and her children scrupulously maintained the garden.
We walked some more, and then walked over, fittingly, to the tea house. I ordered the matcha set, which includes matcha tea that is served in the tea ceremony and the red bean paste daifuku. The matcha, brewed in the traditional concentrated way had a mildly bitter taste and exactly matched the sweet daifuku. Others had jasmine, hojicha, sencha and iced green tea along with rice cakes kuzumochi and bean paste pancakes dorayaki.
I suddenly remembered that was quite the feeling I had when I sat, silently, in the sanctuary of the Kopan monastery in Nepal, waiting to see the Rimpoche. I was at peace even before I met him. On the way out, I read a Tibetan proverb.
It said: To live well and long, eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.