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A Mini Oasis in Fujisawa

Harvesting shadows and the mundane at Shinbayashi Park

In one of my wanderings around Fujisawa Station where I occasionally stop on the way home, I stumbled upon a mini oasis in the rapidly expanding concrete jungle of the city. It is called Shinbayashi Park (新林公園) and is located next to Hayashi Elementary School, and across from Sakaigawa River.

From the south gate of JR Fujisawa Station, I took the main road. I didn’t choose the optional Enoden Bus, for the simple reason that I wanted to take pictures along the way. After walking for three blocks, on the corner, at the forecourt of Fujisawa City Concert Hall, I discovered Naoko Kumasaka’s Statue of Peace (Heiwanozo in Japanese, 平和の像). The white marble figure had been sculpted and transported all the way from Pietrasanta, Italy. Kumasaka is a local artist who lived abroad for a long time.

At adjacent little Okuda Park, a solitary plum tree stood as a reminder that spring had arrived, its blossoms in full bloom. Mejiros feasted on their nectars; I found myself inhaling its subtle sweet scent.

Shinbayashi Park (新林公園) is a good 20-minute walk from the station. In February, many visitors come here for plum blossom viewing. The orchard has about a dozen plum trees. However, during this visit, the blossoms had not yet bloomed, they were still in buds. I promised myself that I'd return here another day.

Far from being dismayed, I explored the park and discovered a few things. Filtered by clouds and softened by the cold air, the afternoon sun produced gentle shadows and colours on the tree bark, on pillars, on the ground, and on the pond. Although, originally, I wanted to see the plum blossoms, I ended up harvesting shadows, ripples, textures, and other mundane things.

Shinbayashi Park (新林公園) covers an area of about 16 hectares. It is surrounded by forests and has a 1.5-kilometre hiking course, a playground with facilities, a large parking area, a pond where irises grow, and an old traditional farmhouse. The park, above all, is a bird sanctuary.

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