While Setsuko worked in her home office (preparing to send a television crew to Bangladesh), Jun gathered and prepared foods for lunch and dinner. I love taking walks and was eager to see the neighborhood, so I tagged along. First we walked to a bamboo grove just down the road where Jun would harvest bamboo shoots, which can only be accomplished in springtime.
He dug up two, enough, he explained to me, to make a meal for four people. Previous to this trip to Japan, I’d only eaten bamboo shoots from a can, and I was delighted with the delicate flavor of freshly harvested and cooked bamboo shoots. It’s like comparing canned peas to fresh peas picked from a garden.
Jun and Setsuko’s vegetable gardens, wheat and millet fields are on land about a mile from their home. Walking there, we passed a number of large abstract sculptures made by local artists. Above is an artist’s home and studio close to Lotus House, and below are some of the pieces situated along the road.
Not far from the sculpture, we passed a magnificent piece of sacred architecture:
A Zen Buddhist temple…
…with monuments in front…
…and gardens on one side.
Across the road from the temple I saw a tea farm…
…and, nearby, a pond with bamboo growing around it.
Of course, I didn’t miss the local man hole cover.
We walked into the valley where Jun and Setsuko’s gardens are.
Jun picked a variety of greens for our lunch and dinner, and then we headed back to Lotus House.