• 29 . 04 . 05
  • A flower festival in Gifu, with the simultaneously least blue and most blue blue rose I’ve ever seen.

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Flower Power

After going boarding every week in winter, I’d been starting to go a little stir-crazy being stuck in Gifu every weekend, so today I decided to go for a good old-fashioned Japanese one day trip out of town. Today was a national holiday (marking the start of Golden Week I think), which of course meant that everywhere would be packed.

I ended up going to the flower festival in Kani, a small town in the north of Gifu, about an hour and a half away by train. I’d expected to be in the minority, as always, but probably should have predicted the demographic of the people I would be sharing the gardens with. I saw precisely 2 gaijin all day, a few hundred men, mostly in families and hoardes and hoardes of old women. They seemed to travel in packs, occupying every inch of available space and filling the pathways while they inspected the roses. It wasn’t really a day for rushing around though, so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

There were lots of small pleasures including climbing a lookout tower shaped like a ship, and looking out from the prow over the surrounding landscape to see trees and mountains instead of conurbations. Actually, there could have been a Titanic ‘king of the world’ moment up there if I’d been thinking (and bored/inspired). Seeing a much-vaunted vase of blue roses was slightly disappointing as it looked more like white roses that had been put in greenish purple water to me, but maybe I’m difficult to please. Eating rose-flavoured ice-cream which tasted like Turkish Delight was pretty cool. And, fresh from decrying Gifu’s lack of grass, I also saw my first lawn in over a year. Of course, sitting, standing and playing on it was forbidden, but it’s reassuring at least to know that they can grow grass here. There was even a British garden, with plants I could recognise. I even managed to put a name to a hosta; Mum you would have been proud.

I’m not a particularly outdoors kind of person, but this was definitely worth visiting, even taking into account the mild sunstroke I think I acquired. Definitely should have slipped, slapped and slopped but the clouds early this morning confused me. Check out the photos I took and tell me – is that a blue rose to you?

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