Monday, June 12, 2006


This July I will have officially been living in Japan for 10 years. Since we started building our new “guest house” I have been thinking a lot about the concept of “home” and I have decided that I am one of the lucky people who has two equally important “homes”. There are many things about Japan that I love and often there are times when I feel more at home here in my little community of old people than I do when I go back to New Zealand and am surrounded by people I don’t know, listening to a new type of English spoken by teenagers that I don’t understand and watching dramas on TV that are completely foreign to me. At other times I get excited when I find something here in Japan that is related to New Zealand. Last week I raced across the supermarket when I saw the distinctive “Cadbury” purple display box only to discover that it was not filled by Cadbury chocolate, but by Cadbury chewing gum. A great disappointment! More luck at another supermarket though when I found they stocked New Zealand Hokey-Pokey icecream. Of course whenever anyone comes to visit they are giving huge lists of things to bring with them. There are some things about New Zealand
that I can never do without - of course family is one of them (by the way for anyone who is feeling a little shocked by the above photo - no I haven't aged a lot lately, it is just my mother helping out in the garden!).

So anyway, back to the house story….. after Sunny suggested “Kiaora Cottage” as a name for our new guest house (which, by the way I think is a great name, but Tom is still thinking….) I have thought more and more about how to incorporate New Zealand into the house and into the garden. My friend is making me some stained glass windows to put into the house and yesterday we decided to try and incorporate some New Zealand native plants into them. And that got me to thinking about how important it is to me to have little touches of New Zealand in my garden. And then when I thought about it I realised that I currently have 4 New Zealand natives in my garden that I have grown from seed, bought here or “smuggled” in from Dad’s garden in New Zealand.

So just in case you are interested here they are….

I know they look like weeds, but they are actually "Renga Renga Lillies". No flowers yet, but as they were grown from seed I guess they are just taking there time.

Another tree grown from seed that is still waiting to flower is my "Kowhai Tree". Apparently they take at least 7 years to flower and mine has been planted for about 6 years, so maye next year I will get to see the beautiful yellow flowers.....

One tree that isn't short of flowers is my "Manuka". I have two that I managed to buy here - one white and one yellow and have also got three very small ones that I started from seeds.

My final native was dug out of my father's back garden and is a "Cabbage Tree". I think there are about 4 planted around the garden and another two in pots.

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