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 the entrance. We accessed through the main door where 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 epochs 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 could make us the translator. They asked us if we wanted a guide. Totally free! When asked if they knew English, they all went to look for the “sensei” (the teacher). So we started our visit.  

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 diary tasks, as well as being with the most challenging students. 

The work as a guide was voluntary. He did it at the weekend and at certain times. As he explained, being a guide was like teaching. 

That day, with the teacher we learned about botany, birds, history of Japan, tea ceremony and gardening. All in the same park and for a couple of hours.