All foreigners in Japan know about cherry blossoms... but I wonder how many realize the significance of the blue hydrangeas...
Despite hearing my mother and the aunts discuss hydrangea bushes as I child I didn't know what one was until I was nearly 30. My 4 daughters, on the other hand, have known what アジサイ were ever since they were knee high to a grasshopper. And talked about them. And made the little folded paper (おりがみ) version.
So Mary gladly helped me organize the excursion.
Philip enjoying the spectacular sceneryWhen we arrived in Tappi the first thing I noticed was the absence of blue hydrangeas.
I guess its been a cold summer! There were lilies and beautiful little blue flowers and LOTS of grass - but no blue hydrangeas.
Heading down the slope to the Japan SeaWe were hungry and so the thought of our picnic lunch staved off my disappointment. I don't think 2/3 of the male half of the expedition had any idea of what they were missing anyway! They didn't seem to recognize the word hydrangea!
Then we played on the beach for awhile. Karl, Mary and I ventured out into the water while Philip and Kris played on the rocks. (Maybe they didn't want to take off their shoes?)
Where's the old bunker?
Then came my second disappointment. The old lighthouse is GONE. I finally accosted a biker who said he'd been before. He confirmed my memory. There really was an old lighthouse here until recently!
The new unmanned lighthouse
The new lighthouse was locked up tight. My third disappointment. When our Aji Sunday School came two years ago the old bunker was still here and the new lighthouse had several interesting displays inside.
Souvenir shops in the parking lot
I had a little chat with the ladies in the sovenir shops on our way out and they told me "Oh yes. Everyone is disappointed these days. They come to see the lighthouse and its not there!"
Despite all my "disappointments" we had fun. It was a good picnic. But someday I'm going back when the blue hydrangeas are blooming!