Today was such a fine day that we took JJ’s Cafe outdoors, to a nearby park called Suma Rikyu Park. It is a huge and very well-maintained public park spanning some 82 hectares that once belonged to the Imperial Family, and was originally modelled on the Palace of Versailles Park in Paris. The entrance fee is a mere three dollars (it’s common to have to pay to visit green parks in Japan, the free ones are ghastly), and you can buy a yearly pass for less than 10 bucks. There are two kinds of parks in Suma Rikyu: European-style (pictured) and Japanese. Both are huge, beautiful, and perfectly maintained. I don’t know why more people don’t go there. Every time I’ve been, it’s been nearly empty. I don’t know why.
Today was so much fun! The weather was perfect, and we found an excellent picnic ground. Our customers brought a pot-luck lunch, including sandwiches created from bread baked at one of the finest German bakeries in Kobe (of which there are many) and home-baked “organised vegetable cake” which I finally figured out was “organic carrot cake.”
The whole park was nearly empty. At one stage I borrowed a fractious baby from a customer and took it to for a walk around the fountains, to give her tired mother a break. The baby was fascinated by the water, I was fascinated by her, and hence the two of us had a roaring good time! It was really nice to pretend to be a granny, even for a short while …. I guess it’s one of the perks of this job.
Later on, after the young mothers had left for home to get the dinner on, we older ones stayed behind and chatted in the resthouse, mainly about our jobs, our hobbies, our aches and pains, and grandkids.
I hope that JJ’s Cafe can be the kind of place that any woman, at any stage of life, can drop in and be assured of a sympathetic ear, and some intelligent conversation. It’s exactly the kind of place that I wish I’d had as a young mother. And exactly the kind of place I’ll love to visit as a grandmother.
(And I still can’t believe I get paid to do this! Somebody, pinch me please.)