Until very recently Paris was the undisputed capital of gastronomy. Then the Michelin inspectors turned up in Tokyo and found, to everyone’s amazement, that the standards in Tokyo were higher. Tokyo now has 14 3 Star restaurant’s compared to Paris’s 10 – and, to put things in perspective, London’s 1.
England may not have many 3 Star Michelin restaurants but everyone would agree that we are, by a long margin, the undisputed kings of gardening. Is this reputation deserved? My guess would be that if the gardening equivalents of the Michelin inspectors were to come to Japan we would be in for an unwelcome surprise. Our respective styles are very different and it may be difficult to make an objective comparison, but I think the Japanese have the edge in craftsmanship, artistry and year-round interest. After my brief visit to Kyoto (see yesterday’s entry) I’ve resolved to seek out the 10 best gardens in Japan and compare them with the 10 best in England to see for myself whether the Japanese can beat us at gardening as they have beaten the French at cooking.