While in San Jose I got to visit the Japanese Friendship Garden.
The website lists it as a "beautiful and tranquil garden" and "an expanse of peace in the middle of the city."
...and I'm sure that it is, as long as you're not visiting the garden along with a field trip group of 50 fourth graders.
So...I picked the wrong time to visit the garden, but I waited long enough. Not surprisingly the small-ish garden didn't hold the students' attention for long, and they moved on (to the next place I was going to visit, actually...but that's another blog entry).
There were two memorable moments during my visit to this garden.
1. There was a portion of the path through the garden that required you to step on a couple of stones in order to cross a stream. A lady needed help carrying a stroller (carrying her daughter) across the stones across the stream. She asked me. Of course I was willing to help, but I'm guessing she didn't know about the similar experience I had on a jr. high field trip that left me in the stream ending with a teacher driving me home for a new set of clothes. That's all I could think about. How do you put politely, "No, stranger-lady, I will not help you because I am terrified that I will drop your daughter into that stream. You'd be better off asking one of those 9 year-olds over there..."? PS I didn't drop her daughter.
2. Thanks to touristy-duck-feeders I was able to get close to some ducklings. And their parents. I kept a safe distance, but Daddy duck still kept an eye on me.
And once his little ducklings made it safely away, he gave me one last glare and flopped into the water.