I went to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens yesterday evening and learned something even before I got in the door. Picking up a leaflet outside the museum, I read that Yamato - the exit I'd taken off I-95 - was the ancient name for Japan.

Which made sense, since the land I was standing on was a gift from a Japanese farmer, the last of a group from Japan who practiced experimental agriculture here in the early 1900s.

Inside the museum was a new exhibit: The Human Form in Japanese Art. (Running until Sept. 13.) The scrolls, ceramics, dolls, and tomb figures that weren't beautiful were fascinating, and explained by informative panels which my friend Bill Wilson, a Japanese translator, added colorful commentary to. Before a scroll of foxes walking on their hind legs in a festive parade, he said: "You know the foxes are getting married when it's raining and the sun is shining. You don't go into the woods then. The foxes may be having a procession and you're not supposed to see it."

This, too, was good to know.

By Thomas Swick • Category: hometown

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