Hama-Rikyu Gardens | Japan | Living in Mexico

Hama-Rikyu Gardens

Near our hoteru are the Hama-Rikyu Gardens, an authentic Edo period space built by an early Tokugawa shogun. It's surrounded by authentic glass and steel high rises. The Conrad logo peeking through artfully pruned pines gives one an ineffable sense of... bad city planning. The gardens are full of signs that inform us that the patch of grass we're looking at is the former site of this temple or that house or some other duck hunting blind. On an island in the middle of a pond, we drank a $5 cup of green tea and ate a "sweet." The tea House burned down a whole bunch of times over the last 500 years, most recently in the 1923 earthquake and the 1944 firebombing. A sign informed us it was last rebuilt in 1998 because of "decrepitude."

The sweet was a sticky glob of soybeans stuck together with thick teryaki sauce. Kinda mealy. Jean didn't want hers, so I ate it.


Here, Jean stands in front of a 300-year-old pine propped up by a dozen large posts. She's thinking, "Why aren't I in a nice warm theater watching Brokeback Mountain?" I'm thinking, "It would be a really, really bad thing to ask her to take another step back."

Here's an annoying restaurant thing: As you survey the plates of plastic food, trying to find lunch for under $30, your eye falls of a nice plate of eel heads for only $12.50. So you go in and order. The waitress tells you the eel heads are a special, and they're selling only 20 orders of them today, and they just sold the last one. "So sorry. Only 20 order. You want fry chicken foot? Only $25."