The Japanese Restaurant
The Japanese restaurant was guarded by a red maple tree.
Beyond the gate there was a small lake and a wooden bridge. Leading the path to the
bridge, there were a few stones. A kiosk made of wood waited in a peaceful meadow.
Whoever went closer to the kiosk would not know if they were coming or going, because the
wooden bridge that reflected its image in the water gave the impression of a round endless
path that would reach the gate in many ways. Besides, the kiosk seemed to appear and
disappear in a shredded mist. There was a deep quiet and chill in the air.
The monk and the guest advanced silently underneath the branches of the red maple tree.
Neither of them spoke, as if trying not to alter in any way the sacred silence of the
carefully adorned garden.
“Please don’t step on the leaves”, the monk uttered eventually, in a soft reverent tone.
“They are considered letters of tomorrow and we gather them for our prayers, to show us the
The guest, obviously European and not accustomed to the many Asian ways of
regarding life and its meanings, was very attentive and walking carefully behind the monk
who seemed to slide above the earth in his brown robe. The guest felt a little awkward
wearing a plain white shirt and ironed trousers. He had thought it would be an official meeting.
Yet the place seemed somehow unconventional and mysteriously relaxed, in its mystic ways.