On Friday, I went to the Hakone Japanese Tea Gardens in Saratoga. My roommate, Jenna, is president of the campus Japanese Club and invited me to tag along because they had extra spots. These gardens are surreal. I've been to the tea gardens in Golden Gate Park but these have a different, serene vibe to them. All of the colors are true to nature and the whole garden has a sense of peace and harmony. During our little tour I found out that some scenes from Memoirs of a Geisha were filmed here, in the "moon viewing" house that sits on top of the hill. The gardens were originally built as a getaway for a family who lived in San Francisco, and after seeing the place, I can't imagine why they didn't just stay here.
We also got to attend a tea ceremony, a kimono demonstration and went out to enjoy a feast of delicious Japanese food in San Jose's Japantown afterward... but more on that later.