Today we had the opportunity to explore the Japanese Garden at Hasselt, Belgium with Arman. Because of the sunny weather it was relatively crowded but nevertheless some very short moments felt essentially like a serene meditation, e.g. when we were feeding the fish or when I lost the track of time smiling at Arman’s smile (which reminds me of a positive feedback loop sometimes).

According to a description,

The Hasselt Japanese Garden is the largest of its kind in Europe. It reflects the Japanese landscape. It was constructed with the help of the Japanese city of Itami (sister city of Hasselt) in 1992, based on the pattern of 17th century Japanese tea gardens. A walk through the garden makes one feel like being in an entirely different atmosphere so close to the busy city center of Hasselt.

The Garden consists of three parts :

  •  a transition area between the (more Western-looking ) Kopermolenpark and the central Japanese Garden.
  • the Central Garden with its ceremonial house and its tea house (where tea demonstrations can be seen), the pond with its numerous Japanese fish and its waterfalls
  • a park with 250 Japanese cherry trees.

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I have also learned that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Japanese Garden which made me think how it would feel like to visit the same place 20 years later. What kind of dialogues would we engage in while feeding the fish? What would I consider important in life and what would Arman’s choices be? Who knows, maybe the answers to these and similar questions will turn out to be hidden in a silent tea ceremony that we are going to share, that is if we are lucky.

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