Neighbourhood Pastime

It was Golden Week last week, with three national holidays in a row. Many Japanese take this opportunity to travel, and Kyoto is usually quite high on the list of domestic destinations. I don’t like the crowds, so I stayed home and looked for something else to do, and since the weather was “golden” as well, I chose to do some gardening.

To be honest, I haven’t touched my garden at all since moving in, and as the house stood empty for a year before that, the garden needed quite some work. And despite my efforts, it’s still not finished.

So far, I cut down two tall bushes that had grown all the way up to the second floor. I also trimmed the bushes just outside the living room. And with a bit of luck, I also found all the vines that clung on to most of my plants and which formed a clump of green around the drainpipe at the far end of the garden. There is still a lot to do, and part of the problem is that I’m reluctant to do something too radical…

However, there is one thing that I consider finished, for now at least: I cleared the embankment at the stream behind my house. This is a strip of concrete maybe three meters above the stream and another two below my garden level. As many of my plants hang over, dead leaves and old branches have been accumulating down there. So, even though it may not be my responsibility (knowing Japan, it probably is) I cleared all the dead branches and leaves, leaving only the live plants. I like the way it looks now, the blue bell flowers are already starting to bloom down there. It’s like an extension of my garden.

Interestingly, gardening seems to be the favourite Golden Week pastime in my neighbourhood. I’ve seen four of my neighbours working in their own gardens, and judging by the number of bags with leaves and other greenery debris I saw at the last garbage collection, many more must have done the same. I guess I’m fitting right in.