Ajisai

July 5, 2022


Ajisai, aka hydrangea (had to look it up). Never knew ‘em. Didn’t need to. Move to Japan. After be nursed back from the sakura shenanigans in April, in June everyone is ajisai this, ajisai that, ajisai, ajisai, ajisai!(in Jan Brady’s voice)


About 25 years ago, an old man named Hideo was teaching me Japanese, but beyond that he wanted to show me Japanese culture as well and invited me for to see the ajisai garden in Showa Kinen Park. Of course, I said yes despite having no interest whatsoever in spending an afternoon “viewing” flowers. It would be impolite to turn down such a personal invitation. Plus, I was guessing the odds were in my favor that flower viewing included some other activities such a delectable lunch, maybe some drinks and num-nums at an izakaya. My imagination had no bounds.


I showed up on-time, appetite ready, and we were off to the park, a good 15 minute walk to work off any excess morning calories. Once at the park, the ajisai garden was ANOTHER 15 minutes to the absolute furthest corner. Now, we are running into lunch time, the sun at its peak, and I’m standing in the remote corner looking at these stupid various shades of purple and blue flowers. Hideo san viewed the flowers with a rapt gaze as though the ajisai were revealing something to him. On the outside I’m grinning, trying to pass myself off as a cultured young adult. On the inside I’m screaming, “Are you f**king kidding me? Let’s move on. I’m calculating in my head that we ain’t going to putting chopsticks to our mouths until after 2pm. F**K!”


Finally, we begin strolling back in the summer heat and humidity. I use the word strolling because as awful a person I am, I’m not going to push a 75-year old man to shift into the next gear. My skin has developed a film of sweat and something else I know not of, creating an almost viscous-like consistency most similar to a swamp frog or a mid-February sneeze during a Minnesotan winter cold.


Eventually we reach get back to the train station. I’ve done my tour of duty and now I get my just rewards. I was sweaty, thirsty, hungry, and, to be honest, irritaty. Of all the cultures he can show me, this was the one of least use. What can I do with a knowledge and appreciation of flowers? Nothing. What can I do with sumo? Watch people, see the action. What can I do with food? Eat it. Be nutritious. Music? Learn words and

phrasing.


Now, let’s see what damage I can do to some tuna!


“Hideo san, thank you for inviting me to view the beautiful ajisai. Truly remarkable.”


Hideo san responded by thanking me for going with him and we should meet another day. And left


Excuse me, what was that? The ajisai WAS the event? I knew he invited me to go see flowers, but I didn’t ever think it was only the flowers. Where’s my free lunch? Where’s my functional Japanese culture to learn? FAAAAAAAAAAAHK!


I think that incident left me a bit sensitive towards ajisai for the next 20 some years. I purposely avoided looking at, dealing with, learning about anything ajisai related. It’s only been recently on dog walks that I’ve been able to recognize the sheer magnificence of this flower. Is it personal growth, of which I know little, or maybe its age...


Either way, Hideo san, I’m sorry. And thank you.

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Top Twilight Zone episodes (according to me)


One for the Angels

Walking Distance

Long Live Walter Jamieson

A Stop in Willoughby

The Howling Man

The Trouble with Templeton

Back There

Nothing in the Dark

The Hunt

The Changing of the Guard

No Time Like the Past

Of Late I Think of Cliffordsville

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

The Jeopardy Room

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Was in a restaurant recently when a kid (mid-20s) was seated at the table next to me. He was simply engulfing his meat and rice dish. I couldn’t help but utter out of the side of my mouth, “Slow down. No one’s gonna take your food”, a phrase my father employed one me no less than 100 times when I was a growing boy, and when I was a fat adult too, I guess.


To be honest, I think I nailed it. Straight delivery, a touch of fake concern and a spoonful of sarcasm.

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MLB ‘77 Strat-o-matic (after Week 6)


Standings


AL East

Mil 13-5

NY 12-6

Bos 10-8

Cle 10-8

Bos 9-9

Det 8-10

Tor 6-12


AL West

KC 13-5

Chi 11-7

Tex 10-8

Minn 7-11

Cal 6-12

Sea 6-12

Oak 5-13


NL East

Chi 15-3

NY 11-7

StL 11-7

Mon 10-8

Phil 10-8

Pitt 9-9


NL West

LA 14-4

Cinc 8-10

SD 6-12

SF 6-12

Hou 5-13

Atl 3-15


Individual stats


AL

Doubles 8

DeCinces

Garr

Yount


Triples 3

Brett

Carew

Orta


HR 7

Gamble

Thompson


RBI 22

Gamble


Avg. .392

Garr


NL

Doubles 10

Dawson


Triples 5

Brock


HR 9

Smith

Valentine


RBI 26

Smith


Avg .443

Smith

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Songs I’m listening to


Melanie- Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)

Friend & Love- Reach Out of the Darkness

Brenton Wall- Gimme Little Sign

Lighthouse- One Fine Morning

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