Category Archives: Japan

Walking in Wisteria Tunnel; Reading Haiku

I was reading Nabokov this morning, a translation of his celebrated Dar. It opens with a beautiful passage describing the appearance of a rainbow after the rain, particularly noting the puprle hues. I’ve always loved purple skies.

Then suddenly I found this amazing photo of wisteria tunnel in Japan. It is located in Kawachi Fuji Garden. The Japanese celebrate a few floral festivals, one is a very popular sakura matsuri, the cherry blossom festival; and another is fuji matsuri, or wisteria festival. As Garden Design explains, “The wisteria at these parks are Wisteria floribunda, which grow with powerful clockwise-twining stems. In Japan, these varieties bloom in this order: ‘Usubeni fuji’ (light pink), ‘Murasaki fuji’ (purple), ‘Naga fuji’ (long), ‘Yae kokuryu’ (double-petaled black dragon), and ‘Shiro fuji’ (white)”.

I wish I could be so good with plants and flowers!

In Moscow, we have the lilac bushes in full bloom at this time of the year. Sadly, you can make money on them, so the branches with flowers quickly get cut and sold. Tulips are also blooming, and it’s a beautiful time of the year now that the pollen settled down.

Garden Design via

I wondered if there was ever any haiku commemorating wisteria, and you know, there is! It’s not coming from a Japanese but from a lovely lady, Andromeda Jazmon Sibley. She composed the poem for the National Poetry Month 2010, and on her blog she writes about “multiculti kids’ books and poetry”.

Evening tea;
rain on the wisteria
until sun breaks through
~Andromeda Jazmon Sibley.

How Monkeys Watched The Planet of the Apes

This could be a joke, unless it was true: in Japan, the scientists and tourism industry pros decided to invite a group of monkeys to a film screening. Assuming that like should be interested in the like, they screened a (abridged to 13 minutes) version of The Planet of the Apes by Rupert Wyatt.

According to the report, monkeys were scared and ran away… but then THEY CAME BACK AND FINISHED WATCHING THE FILM.

I may be wrong… but this was exactly the evoluton in attitude of humans to the moving pictures. First, people were scared of the train speeding at them from the screen, and now watching a few dozens of cars crashed in front of your eyes on the screen is, like, a must for an action movie.

The screenings are said to be continued. The officials hope that those monkeys who successfully watch all films should “evolve faster”.

I’m not sure how to interpret the need for this “evolution of the apes”. Is it that there’s not enough unspoilt people, and the Japanese hope to develop a better breed by going “ad fontes”, or better put, to the apes, to paraphrase the famous Renaissance expression?

В японском зоопарке макакам показали фильм «Восстание планеты обезьян»