Feb 8, 2015

Japanese Garden with an Authentic Ethnic Soundscape

On Sunday I was lying around in bed with children jumping on me, casting around for something to do when I happened to notice some traditional Japanese music was to be performed in the Japanese Garden at the Botty Gardens.

Eloise initially scoffed at the idea, preferring a trip to Germside to perform some kind of ritual birthday shopping, but I scoffed in my turn at that, and we arrived at an accommodation whereby I would ask her little friend along and then everybody would be happy.

I was pretty sure actually that Hannah wouldn't be interested but Eloise insisted and so I made the call, and as I understand it arms were twisted until a 'Yes' was procured.

When we arrived Hannah declared the Japanese Garden was her favourite part of the Botanical Gardens. We wended our way among the cacti and, um, other plants and as we approached the mediaeval doorway to the hidden Jardin Japonais the delicate lilting twang of the Koto floated over the wall, a distant invitation to sip tea, perhaps, or perform a shoe-changing ceremony, or perhaps behead an enemy with a single stroke of the katana.

Beneath the canopy of a pavilion, a lady played that tune from Civilisation IV which you'll be familiar with no doubt if you've played that game as Shogun Nobunaga. Her instrument was enormous - Eloise described it as a surfboard with strings. She plucked away at it with gom jabbar plectrums, sending rivulets of music singing like waterfalls across the placid pool, dancing with the gurgle of the stream as it flowed among the rocks.

Hannah and Eloise went out on the rocks to capture and torture frogs and toads. Lyra wanted to join them, an unreasonable request owing to Health and Safety Regulations.

The peace of the Japanese Garden was soon punctured.

We stopped a while to listen to a duet between the koto and the shamisen, but the call of the ice cream became too great, and the day was hot, and the hours drawing on, and so we bade our farewells to the Japanese Garden and headed for the Caff.

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