Now go outside and look at the sky.
Where Every Bamboo Stalk Is Different
Katano near Osaka is one of those very typical small towns that surround the major cities in Japan - big enough to retain their status as an independent city, but too close to a major megalopolis to ever attract any of the spotlight.
We are here on a regular basis since we have family in town and I enjoy the charm of Katano, as it doesn't even try very hard and just lives its own life in the shadow of a giant, full of small local businesses that have been owned by the same families for generations.
This year we spent a very pleasant afternoon in an unexpectedly beautiful and serene pocket at the edge of Katano, surrounded by low, green hills and framed on one side by the river - the Botanical Gardens of Osaka University.
It's a working university garden, so there is semi-agricultural activity everywhere and the plants tend to be ordered by genome and type, but there is enough wild-growing vegetation across the hills of this large facility to forget its artificial background.
There are generous picknick spots with roofed seating areas and views of the surrounding landscape and the hills have a wide variety of micro-landscapes to make the plants from all over Asia feel at home here.
We visited the gardens just at the end of the Cherry Blossom Season (caps intended as this is Japan!) and various cherry and plum trees were in full bloom in all shades from white to red, much to the delight of Luke who ran up and then tumbled down colorful slopes everywhere.