Late September / October 1986 –
Freddie having a fabulous time being a tourist in his beloved Japan (His final visit, ever…)
Misa arranged an outing to see the wonderful gardens and grounds of the Golden Palace, built by an early Emperor of Japan in the ancient city of Kyoto. We were going to make the journey by Japan’s celebrated Bullet Train. Once the train left the platform, it accelerated quite quickly – it earned its name because it travels top speed at 150mph.
Old Kyoto was astonishingly beautiful and filled with tiny antique shops which made it paradise for Freddie. Before we even got to the Golden Palace, Freddie insisted on shopping! He bought an ornate hibachi, a sort of ancient portable terracotta barbecue. He also purchased four very tall antique candlesticks, lacquered in black and gold.
The Golden Palace was closed as it was undergoing renovation work but Misa arranged for Freddie to visit the many acres of perfectly manicured gardens. We walked around the grounds for hours inspecting every flower and shrub. Sadly, Freddie’s favourite, the azaleas, weren’t in bloom. He was fascinated by the topiary, marveling at the intricate shaping of the trees. Another favourite of his was the koi pool, he was mesmerized by the prize golden carp.
Freddie was a delighted tourist running around snapping photographs of everything in sight. He wasn’t very practical with a camera. In fact, he had no idea what he was doing which was cute to watch. When we got his first few rolls of film developed, the pictures were wildly out of focus. He eventually got the hand of using the camera. Then we couldn’t stop him taking pictures by the dozen.