This wonderful twisted pine tree was in the garden of my friend’s parents in Shimane-ken, the province of Shimane up north above Osaka, close to to the Japan Sea. If I say it was a bonsai, you’re liable to think it was six inches high. It was not; it was closer to six feet, but it was a beautiful product of the bonsai technique. Its distortion was more appealing than another tree’s straightness, and was an agreeable parable for those of us with less-than-perfect features or figure.
Alas, I say “was,” because a few years after I had returned from Japan, there was a severe typhoon which took the tree down and even shifted the house in whose garden it stood almost a foot off its foundation. Another parable perhaps, one less agreeable.
But it lives on still in the very large photograph that hangs on my living room wall, and perhaps more vividly, in my memory.