Memory Monday slides redux, Week 43

The face of teenage boredom and woe in Butchart Gardens. Sorry, Mom!

June 1978 — If there are two experiences from my 1978 Canadian road trip that I wish I could re-live today, they would have to be those from this week’s post. Even though I was very much present for both, I can’t honestly say I fully appreciated how very special they were at the time. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m incredibly glad that my Dad shot these photos to help make these memories come alive again.

The Kaiwo Maru docked in Victoria, B.C.

We had spied a pair of tall ships in the harbor when the Coho first brought us into Victoria; on this Saturday morning we learned they were docked and allowing people on board to look around. Unfortunately, when we arrived boarding was reserved for senior citizens and disabled folks.

The Kaiwo Maru and the Nippon Maru were both three-masted barques built in 1930 and used for training Japan’s future merchant marine officers. Both ships continued in this role until replaced — the Nippon Maru in 1984, the Kaiwo Maru in 1989 — by new ships carrying the same names (source Wikipedia). Their 1978 visit to Victoria was part of the celebration of the Captain Cook Bicentennial. The following week the ships were heading for Vancouver, B.C., then to Hawaii, and then back home to Japan in August.

As we were standing there admiring the ships, my Dad struck up a conversation with one of the crew. From my travel journal:

His name was Tadao Ikenobi, and he was the ship’s carpenter. He was from outside Tokyo and had three children — a 20-year-old daughter, a 17-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old son. He had been in Victoria five times before and had also been to San Francisco. He laughed a lot, especially whenever Dad said something in Japanese. He said dad spoke Japanese good. He gave us his address and we gave him ours and he said he would expect a Christmas letter.

Later that same day, we drove about 30 minutes north of downtown Victoria to visit the incredible Butchart Gardens. I noted in my journal that the weather “was rather hot” and that the admission price for three of us came to $10 US (nowadays it would cost over $30). Other than that, I didn’t have much to say about the experience:

We saw the Sunken Gardens, the Japanese Garden, and the Italian Garden. Along the way we saw a lot of Japanese guys from the ships. They all had expensive cameras and were taking pictures of all the flowers and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Looking back, I’m kind of astounded that I wasn’t at least a little bit impressed by what I was seeing. I may never get another chance to go back — but at least I’ve got these images. (And check out the improvement in quality from my original post in February 2017!)

Next week, a few scenes from Vancouver and Olympia, Washington — then off to Hearst Castle!

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