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The parks.

   Japanese friends and family, this is what a park looks like in the U.S. The above photo was taking in Honolulu's Ala Moana Park.

   Please note how the grass is cut regularly, perhaps as many as two times a week, and watered, yes watered, regularly so that it stays green even in the dry season. Green grass, imagine that!

   Inside the Diamond Head State Monument. Again, grass is cut and watered. Looks nice doesn't it. Kind of makes you want to roll about on it, or spin aound like my wife is doing in the photo, or just lie down it and look up at the sky.

   But this is Hawaii, you might say. The climate there is just perfect for parks. 

   Okay. The next picture is from San Francisco:

   Cute kid, if I don't mind saying so myself.

   Admittedly not the best photo, but it proves that even in the middle of winter, San Francisco, which tends to be rather chilly and overcast most of the time, also has nice green grass in its public parks. This picture was taken near Ghiradelli Square where you'll find quite a lot of tourists and homeless people (many of whom have apparently gone off their Perphenazine--the homeless, mind you, not the tourists).

   Also note the trashcan. Not only is the design pleasing to the eye, it is not overflowing with garbage. Why's that, you ask. Because they are emptied regularly. Novel idea, isn't it? See you don't have to wait until they are filled to overcapcity like the Tôkyô commuter trains.

   The following photo is from Portland, Oregon:

   Again, this photo was taken in the dead of winter when the sun rarely shines in the Northwest, and yet the grass is still nice and green. A bit bald in spots, but that can'be helped. All the rain tends to make the ground soggy and prone to damage by pedestrians. Leaves are picked up at regular intervals, too. See, you don't have to drastically cut the limbs of the trees in autumn. Let the leaves fall as Mother Nature intended and rake them up.

   And this is what one of the better parks in Fukuoka looks like:


   I hiked all the way to the park with the intention of playing catch with my son, but . . . For crying out loud, when was the grass last cut?

   I wasn't so much worried about losing a ball or two as I was about losing my son among the weeds.

   You know, when you don't maintain the parks, it's no wonder so few people visit. Then again, that may be the idea behind the lack of maintenance. The fewer the visitors, the less work the parks administration has to do cleaning up after all those people. This less litter to pick up, fewer garbage cans that need emptying . . . Hmm. 

   To be fair, . . .

   there are some nice parks in Japan. These photos were taken at Tôkyô's Shinjuku Gyôen located betwen Yoyogi and Shinjuku stations.

   A great park. Unfortunately, admission is not free.

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