HG, not exactly a champion class Nature Boy, usually finds gardens — no matter how famous, how praised — boring. The urban old fellow prefers peering into shop windows, examining the menus outside of restaurants and watching the passing parade of humanity from a comfortable cafe chair. VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver upsets all of HG’s predilections. Beautifully maintained and imaginatively laid out, this wonderland has unusual plantings, lovely vistas and, of course, blazes of startling color. On its meadows and in odd corners are sculpture. Not sentimental crap but challenging and distinctive work. The only other gardens that HG ever enjoyed as much were the famous Zen gardens in Kyoto, Japan.
Lunched at Tatsu Japanese Bistro on Commercial Drive. The “Drive” has long been the center of “alternative lifestyles” in Vancouver. Its funkiness is being diminished a bit by some attractive new shops and restaurants but it still has cheap ethnic markets and colorful, eccentric local characters. Tatsu is a charming little place. Sushi, sashmi and all the other Japanese faves imaginatively presented and very modestly priced. HG had a sashimi bento box that had rolls, sushi, salads, slices of salmon and yellowtail plus an abundance of fruit. A huge amount of food that HG couldn’t finish. Cost: $14. A very tasty bargain.