Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Spring has sprung….or at least that’s what I thought. The cherry blossoms are blooming in my neighborhood. So I figured it was a good time to go and get some photos in Japantowns and Japanese gardens in the Bay Area.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I’ve been meaning to visit Hayward’s Japanese Garden for a while. So it was first on my list for today. What a surprise! Hayward’s Japanese garden was delightful. You’ll have to forgive me that I am so surprised…. It’s just Hayward isn’t high on any list of must visit sites. The garden was pretty large and quite pleasant indeed.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

In addition to the koi fish I expected to see there were also plenty of turtles too. Unfortunately the cherry trees weren’t in bloom there. The bonsai trees were numerous and well groomed, I don’t regret having gone.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Next I drove on to Japantown in San Jose, the third remaining Japantown in the US. And once again, no blooming cherry blossoms. Ok, well I’ll visit San Jose’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelley Park. I drove into the parking lot and strike three….I’m out.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Guess I’ll try again in a couple weeks.

(on another note)

Intel Santa Clara (Michael Halberstadt)
Intel Santa Clara (Michael Halberstadt)

Some other business brought me to Sunnyvale. Returning to my car I noticed a street sign that read: Altair. For those not familiar with computer history, Altair is generally considered to be the first personal computer (PC.) The Altair was assembled by the purchaser and was extraordinarily primitive by today’s standards, inputs were made by switches and outputs were displayed on LED lights (if memory serves).

Altair Way Sign (Michael Halberstadt)
Altair Way Sign (Michael Halberstadt)

Since I actively seek out computer related signs for my photo library, I assumed that the street sign was honoring the historic computer- until I noticed the cross street sign is Aries. Bummer.

Farmland in Silicon Valley- Sunnyvale (Michael Halberstadt)
Farmland in Silicon Valley- Sunnyvale (Michael Halberstadt)

I also stumbled upon a tiny orchard in Sunnyvale, complete with old farm hardware. I remember when much of Silicon Valley was orchards and greenhouses, until about the 1990’s.

Looking Down on Religion & Multiculturalism

Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.

Looking Down on Religion & Multiculturalism

It’s true I am an atheist. Most folks who know me realize that I hold a rather negative view of religion in general. But don’t get your panties in a bunch yet. This is yet another intentionally provocative title desperately trying to get attention. And if you read this and you’re not my dad (hey pop!) it worked!

The looking down is referring to the use of the 15’ (4.5m) pole I used for the photos. In the interest of a unifying theme I chose to combine a few photos of temples in Silicon Valley.

The suburbs can be more interesting than folks think. Particularly in Silicon Valley. Large waves of immigrants have left a colourful mark on the otherwise beige stucco and cement that makes up most of the area between urban and rural in North America. Exhibit A is Wat Buddashorn in Fremont. It’s a Buddhist temple wedged between otherwise indistinguishable tract houses near Niles, a surprisingly interesting district in its own right. Another plus of hanging out around Buddhist temples in my experience is that people tend to be quite nice and photo friendly. A 6’2” white guy dangling a little camera 15’ over their temple didn’t prompt any reaction.

Exhibit B the Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose. San Jose is unique in having one of the few remaining Japantowns in North America. They also sport a nice garden next door. Unfortunately they store their orange cones and no parking sign in the front, so head on shots are kinda not so pretty. But it’s a handsome structure none-the-less.

Having dealt with a stock request for Japantown last month I figured I’d see what I could do with the two block commercial street too. I really love the place. I eat semi-regularly at Kazoo and grab coffee and pastries at Roy’s Station. But it’s visually not the most interesting of places. The elevated perspective did add something, but only so much. Another akweird side to the pole aerial photo shtick is catching lots of people looking at me or the camera with a  WTF look on their faces.

Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
Wat Buddhanusorn, is a Buddhist temple, of the Theravadan tradition, in Fremont, California, United States.
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley
Japantown San Jose, Silicon Valley