November in Osaka (Japan) surprised us with excellent weather. I remember, especially the day we went to visit the memorial park of Expo ‘70. A bright blue sky, no clouds were peeking over the horizon. Our friend was waiting for us at the train station to take us to visit the park. We bought admission tickets. Upon entrain we were given access to the main door. Immediately you can see the Sun Tower, a sculpture designed by the artist Taro Okamoto for one of the pavilions of the Expo. It symbolizes the Sun, the energy of all things, of the past, present and future.
The park has 330 hectares, and one of its mean attractions is the Japanese Garden which was designed as a collection of advances in Japanese landscapes technology.
It is a large artificial garden where four different historical periods are represented: ancient, medieval, early modern and modern. For each area, they managed to plant different types of trees and build several waterfalls.
When we entered through the door, we saw a group of elderly gentlemen who, smiling, immediately approached us. Luckily, our friend was a translator for us. They asked us if we wanted a guide. Their services were totally free! When we asked if the spoke English, they all went to look for the “sensei” (the teacher) and we started a tour of the park.
The sensei was a teacher, who although he was of retirement age continued to teach part-time. Teaching was his passion, and he preferred to stay in school, helping junior teachers in their daily tasks. He was especially interested in helping struggling students.
The work as a guide was voluntary. He worked only on the weekends and his hours were limited to certain times of the day. As he explained, being a guide was like teaching.
That day, we learned about tea ceremony, gardening and of course Japanese history period. We learnt so much in this park and just a few hours.