While living and working Japan, my office at the Board of Education in Ichinoseki planned a trip to Kanazawa. Both Sarah and I were invited along, so we took the chance to go see an area of the country that wasn’t especially accessible from our northern position.
The big draw of Kanazawa is the garden of Kenrokuen which has been labelled one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. Yes, the Japanese like to make lists like this. But, in this case, maybe they got it right. Of all the gardens I visited in Japan, this was definitely towards the top of the list.
On our first evening, we partied with the folks from our section and I was treated to my favourite bit of dialogue ever heard from my supervisor. As we were leaving, he and his best buddy at work were the last ones out of the room with me. With arms around each other and faces flushed red with the evening’s sake, they turned to me and my supervisor said rather seriously in his meagre English, “We… are drunk.”
He then proceeded to break into song, “We love love love love drinking!” while doing an uncoordinated dance all while never letting go of his friend’s shoulder (a wise idea since I’m sure it was about the only thing keeping him upright).
The next day, I woke absurdly early to walk over to Kanazawa Castle to catch the morning light then hustle back to the hotel to meet the rest of the group to part together for the day’s activities.
And yes, I got to be a Japanese tourist. On a precise schedule, we rode through town never lingering too long at our stops and being suitably impressed at each site along the way. Happily, we had some extra time at Kenrokuen and it was just enough time for the afternoon’s rains to momentarily so that I could take some photos of the gardens.
I would have gladly stayed longer, but of course, that’s just not how you do things in Japan.