Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Roses

Roses Are Red?

Yesterday morning, I was talking with my Mom and some how our conversation turned to the “guy with the rose garden.” She mentioned she would like to she his garden when she visits. She is planning her visit for November and understands the roses will not be in bloom at that time. She just said she wanted to see it anyways. Sure, that’s easy. It’s on our way to Zushi Beach. I thought it was cute she remembered my Running Past Roses post from last year. I also realized I haven’t shared any pictures of his roses this year. When I returned from my Florida Road Trip, the rose garden had an abundance of blooms. They are so beautiful. I took a few pictures and sent them to Dina. I think of her each time Dave and I ran past the rose garden.

This one might be my favorite. The beautiful rose blooming and the construction in the background. Ahhh, wabi-sabi. Beautifully imperfect.

When I ran past this morning, I took a few more photos. Mixed in with the roses are beautiful clematis. He takes such good care of his rose garden. He sweeps and trims every day. It truly is a beautiful garden.

Besides the roses blooming, I have more great news. The hydrangea are starting to bloom. I took these pictures this morning at the Daiichi Undo Park. The park is about one mile from our house and part of our daily running route.

Hydrangeas make me happy. They make me think of Anne Geddes pictures with cute babies with hydrangea hats. I think I had this picture back in the ’90s.

And they make me think of our house in Chicago and Hannah B. Oh, man. That face can give the cute babies a run for their money!!

Please prepare for a couple weeks of hydrangea posts as I make my way around Tokyo and Kamakura chasing flowers.

Suspension Bridges

During my Friday English class last week, one of my students told me about her visit to a clematis and sculpture garden near Mt. Fuji. From her description of her visit, I was interested in making a trip to the garden. As I looked around the Mishima area on my Google Maps app, I realized there was another place I had flagged to visit. I suggested to Katie we take our Tuesday adventures to the expressway and visit them both! Without difficulty, we were able to rent a car and leave before 8:00am Tuesday morning.

Side note: went traveling a far distance in a vehicle, I find it easier to rent a car for two reasons. 1. I only trust our Hooptie so much. 2. Driving on the expressway is expensive because of the high road tolls (¥8000 – $80 round trip to areas around Mt. Fuji). Toll vouchers are included with a rental car ($58 for a 1-day rental). This makes it actually cheaper to rent a car than to drive your own!

Now, back to our story. We arrived at our first stop, Mishima Skywalk around 9:30am. Before heading to the Skywalk, we stopped to use the restroom facilities. Just when I thought Japanese toilets couldn’t get any more amazing, we were greeted by a large banner advertising “luxury toilet.” The restroom was immaculate and complete with not just functional “thrones,” but also lounging ones – inside and outside the restroom! Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up!!

After our pit stop, we were ready to see Mt. Fuji and walk the Mishima Skywalk. The Mishima Skywalk is Japan’s largest suspension bridge. The bridge is 400m in length and connects Izu and Hakone. The bridge reaches a height of 70.6m as it stretches across the valley below. The width of the bridge footpath is 1.6m (wide enough to allow two wheelchairs to pass one another). Needless to say, the view was spectacular!

We were glad we arrived early. Mt. Fuji was starting to cloud over when we arrived. By the time we were leaving, it was mostly covered.

The walk across the bridge is not for the faint of heart. If you have a fear of heights, it might be best to skip this attraction.

Once we made it to the far side, we were greeted by the safety sign. I hope the Skywalk receives this award every year!!

On the north side of the bridge, is a natural area with a few trails and the flower drop. For ¥200, you’re invited to purchase a flower seed attached to a piece of wood. When you cross back over the bridge, you can toss the wood chip and make a wish. When your flower blooms, your wish will come true.

Also at the flower drop area were cute little forest eggs. Some were set along the trail and others where hiding behind a door on the trees. So, kawaii!

They were so cute!

From the construction and signs, Katie and I came to the conclusion the area would soon have a zip line attraction! Now that would be amazing!

During our walk back across, the wind really started to pick up. The bridge was really swaying! It was kindof fun to not hold on! Look, Mom! No hands!

One of the cafes was called the Sky Garden. Here we enjoyed a snack while sitting under the phenomenal hanging plants.

After our snack, we were ready to head to our next destination. We drove about 30 minutes before reaching the Clematis no Oka Garden. We parked in one of the parking lots furthest from the garden. This afforded us the opportunity to walk through the woods and transit across two more suspension bridges. They weren’t as long or as high, but still very enjoyable.

Once we arrived at the garden, we were treated to beautiful clematis and strange sculptures.

Here are just a few of the interesting sculptures. We were a little surprised with the sculptures because there were a lot of naked men. It seemed out of context with the garden. But, I guess art is art.

Anyways, let’s get back to the clematis. There were so many different varieties and colors. Here is about half of the clematis pictures I took!

The lower part of the garden was filled with roses. They were also in full bloom and stunning.

The roses were a special treat because I wasn’t expecting them. After enjoying time in the sunshine and the beautiful garden, we hopped back in the car and headed home. The drive home was easy. Each time I make a trip to Mt. Fuji, I become a little more familiar and at ease driving. I consider this a win after living here for almost two years! I’m so glad we took the opportunity to road trip. It was a wonderful day exploring an area around Mt. Fuji we hadn’t had a chance to visit yet.


I realized something while Dave and I were running this morning. Our route has become so familiar I am able to anticipate scents and odors along our way. 

It is similar to America when you go out for a walk or run and you smell someone doing laundry. It’s like that except we smell things like someone’s shower soap when running down this alley. 

Or that we have learned to breathe out when passing the house with the blue roof on the left because it smells like liver and cigarettes. 

Our two favorites right now are the roses and honeysuckle. 

We also know when to expect trash day. Today was a cardboard recycling day. I find the meticulous care with which the Japanese bundle their garbage intriguing. Simultaneously, the potted flowers beautify the neat bundles. 

We also have our “regulars” who we typically see most mornings. They are always quick to exchange an “ohayōgozaimasu” or sometimes an actual “good morning”. 

It feels good to smell familiar scents, see familiar faces, and exchange morning pleasantries. It helps us to feel connected. 

Thank you for that. Subject change. 

I need a favor from my flower loving friends. Please help me to identify this plant. I took several pictures. It looks like a impatient but, it grows on a trunk. I have seen it growing in several places and can’t identify it. Any assistance would be appreciated! Do you know? 

One more thing before you go- tomorrow, Sunday, Dave and I are taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Hiroshima. I’m so excited! We have 2 days to explore Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. I look forward to sharing it all with you! 

Running Past Roses

Our regular running routes takes us past a beautiful rose garden. It is the garden of a private residence. When Dave and I run past around 5:15am, the owner is out tending his roses. When Dina and I run past at 7:30am, he is out tending his roses. I think he might be out all morning! They are truly stunning and well maintained. The first picture shows his car and the start of the garden. As I’ve mentioned, space is not wasted in Japan. 

If you notice in this picture, there is a sign.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the sign was advertising an event occurring this weekend at the Takeshimaya Mall in Yokohama. 

The event goes from 5/19-5/21. I mentioned the event to both Dave and Dina. Dave said, you should go. Dina said, we should go. Ha! She and I worked our schedules and decided Friday morning would be best.

We took the train to Yokohama. We weren’t really sure what to expect. I just knew from using Google Translate on the sign, the event was on the 8th floor of the mall. It took us a minute to find it because we were overwhelmed with the underwear sale also going on. Check out the illuminated mannequins! 

We eventually found the rose event. Can you believe it was crowded! 10:30am on a Friday! 

The rose arrangements on display were a variety of color and sizes. All were beautiful. 

A couple pictures of my favorites. 

Look at the difference in sizes! 

There were also judges evaluating the rose fragrance. 

We met a very nice lady who spoke English. She helped us vote for our favorite rose. The roses for judging were mounted on a plaque. We were instructed to vote based upon color, size, and fragrance. Dina voted for number 8. I voted for number 1. Although, we will never know which rose won, it was fun to vote. Every vote counts! 

My ballot. 

There is always something that makes the experience a little funnier. As if the underwear sale wasn’t confusing or bizarre enough, there was also a Buddhism exhibit on the same floor. It cost ¥800 to enter and the sign said: no photographs, no talking, and no touching. As if either of us would pay not to talk. People should be paying us not to talk! Ha! I was actually looking for money to pay for a ticket when I realized this wasn’t the exhibit we were looking for – the roses were right behind us! Whew! That was close! Our event was free!

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