We spent Mother's Day at the Morikami Museum, a beautiful local museum and Japanese garden. We had a bento box lunch after waiting an hour to get seated — luckily we could peruse the art galleries while we waited for a table, and saw a fantastic show by metal artist Mariko Kusumoto — more on that later. The gift shop was also a blast, as the kid got a Totoro t-shirt, which she had to don immediately, and I got a cat-bus wallet. If you haven't seen Hayao Miyazaki's brilliant My Neighbor Totoro (or any of his other films) than you won't understand our geeky thrill, and you should rectify that situation immediately.The history behind the Morikami, from its website:
|At the Morikami|
"In 1904, Jo Sakai, a recent graduate of New York University, returned to his homeland of Miyazu, Japan, to organize a group of pioneering farmers and lead them to what is now northern Boca Raton ... they formed a farming colony they named Yamato, an ancient name for Japan. ... Ultimately, the results of their crop experimentation were disappointing ... By the 1920s, the community, which had never grown beyond 30 to 35 individuals, finally surrendered its dream. One by one, the families left for other parts of the United States or returned to Japan.
|George S. Morikami in his pineapple field — Delray Beach, Florida, from Florida Memory|
... One settler remained. His name was George Sukeji Morikami. A modest farmer, George continued to cultivate local crops and act as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. In the mid-1970s, when George was in his 80s, he donated his land to Palm Beach County with the wish to preserve it as a park and to honor the memory of the Yamato Colony. ... With the opening of The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, a living monument was created, building a bridge of cultural understanding between George Morikami’s two homelands."