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A row of jizō welcome guests to the temple
The statues offer their hospitality.


This temple is tucked away on Yasukuni avenue. I don't know how many dozens of times I've passed on it before even noticing it, much less actually taken the time to stop and have a look. It almost feels like someone's cottage hidden at the back of a garden path, which is... unusual, to say the least, for Shinjuku. The hortensias must be in bloom right now. I should stop by again.

Speaking of flowering plants, I picked up an app that you can use to take a photo of a flower - and then it identifies the plant for you.

First of all, that's amazing, technologically, partly because at this point it's not amazing anymore. We are beginning to take for granted that there will be some service or app that can identify things for you based on images. A friend and I were trying to figure out what some flowers were as we were walking around Ueno park, and I thought, gee, I wonder if there's an app for that? Yes, yes there is. (I tried PictureThis.)

More importantly, I recognized most of the names of the flowers we saw. But I had never been able to associate an image with that name. I hope I will remember and have clearer images of a scene in my mind when someone writes about dogwoods or mallow in novels. I feel like people have practically no botanical knowledge with which to frame their imagination when reading them as words in a book. Coincidentally, I'm reading a book called Overstory with some friends, in which plants play a major role, so... the timing is good.

Lantana flowers
The thing is, I don't remember seeing any of these on Lantana Road...

Just yesterday, I was walking around Daikanyama and used the app to identify a flower. Turns out they're called "lantana." Which is the name of a road near where I lived as a child. I never stopped to think about where that road's name came from before - it was just simply the name of the road. So, turns out it's a plant. Native to the southeast US, so I don't know what the hell it's doing here. I'd be pleased to feel the little touch of home, especially since it's not like I can go there right now, only, well, it's an invasive species. So it goes.

Oh, and following up on Kinoene soy sauce. I couldn't find any in the supermarket. Maybe it's not actually a thing?

Published Jun 28, 2020

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