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Saturday, April 27, 2002

JAPAN LITE

Let's celebrate nature at Disneyland


Monday is Greenery Day, a national holiday. Let's hear it for plants! But the question on everyone's mind is: Do plants really need a day off? Let's find out with some roving in-the-pot interviews.

Me: Mr. Geranium, do you feel plants need a national holiday?

Mr. Geranium:

Me: How about you, Miss Orchid?

Miss Orchid:

Me: Miss Petunia? It must be hard being a plant. Sometimes you go days without water or nearly wither to death in the scorching sun. Don't you deserve a national holiday?

Miss Petunia:

Me: Well, moving right along, I wonder what these plants are going to do on their special day.

Me: Mr. Geranium, do you have any special plans for Greenery Day?

Mr. G: I'm going to take the day off and not grow at all.

Me: And Ms. Orchid?

Ms. O: Just a little fertilization, if you know what I mean.

Mrs. Rose: I'm going to keep my buds closed and sleep all day.

Mr. Lotus: I'm going to spend it as usual, playing in the water with my girlfriend, Lily.

Mr. Bamboo: I'm going to try to relax. Sway in the wind a little more than usual.

Mr. Weed: I've got some mudslinging to do to settle some territory disputes.

Family of petunias to Mr. Weed: Squatter! Get out of our pot!

Greenery Day provides a unique way to celebrate the color green. Kermit the frog would be proud. Let's hear it for green! But not every color gets its own holiday in Japan. Green is special because it's so Japanese: "O-cha," bamboo and "wasabi" are all green. Furthermore, Greenery Day is celebrated on April 29 because this is the birthday of the Emperor Showa, who is said to have loved nature.

So dig out your green thumb from the gardening shed and peruse the following list of things to do on Greenery Day:

1. Go to seed. Beautify a vacant lot by scattering some seeds on the ground.

2. Encourage a sprout. Take it home, put it on the kitchen window sill for the day. Talk to it and empower it to grow up to be something big someday.

3. Donate a pot to a plant that needs a bigger home.

4. Offer water to stray plants.

5. Join the antiweed task force. Groups of elderly people all over Japan will be out massacring weeds with pruning shears, scythes and hoes. Not sure if something is a weed or not? If it's not blooming, remove it! The task force will also be raking away dead leaves and cleaning up public areas. Don't forget to wear a hat and white gloves.

6. Learn moss appreciation. Moss is an essential ingredient to the Japanese garden. Learn about "wabi-sabi" and meditate with moss.

7. Plant livestock. Yes, the gardening fad this year is to put small, ceramic livestock alongside your flowers in their pots. It's the proper mix of farm and garden.

8. Very enjoy happiness life with nature. Go on a picnic. Bring your own ants. Get back to your roots by playing with nature the way you did as a child. Whistle through a blade of grass (Beethoven's "Fifth" this time), make a daisy chain or just pick the petals off to find out if your wife still loves you -- He loves me, she loves me not -- then adjust your life accordingly.

9. Plant! Plant! Plant! Seeds, flowers and herbs are the key to being one with nature.

10. Graze. Or at least hang out in a pasture for a day.

If none of these things appeals to you, then do what most people do: Get into the car and head to Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Osaka or Nagasaki's Huis Ten Bosch. Just be sure to buy a plant on your way home.

Contact Amy at amychavez2000@yahoo.com or visit the "Japan Lite" home page at www.amychavez.com


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