Okada Masao: My Dreams Come True in Chengdu

Authors: Go Chengdu

2016-05-11

The interview with Okada Masao, a senior horticulturist from Japan, took place on a sunny day in early May at his rose garden, rose de mai, where he related his story of roses and the city, in the pleasant ambience with delightful sights and fragrant aroma from the flowers.
The Land Where His dreams Come True
His story with the garden had its beginning back to the year of1994, when he had a cooperative program with biologists from Sichuan University and they launched a project on the study of peat as the reformative soil to be applied to agriculture and gardening, then a pioneering experiment in the world.

The study led to the finding of peat from the Himalaya Mountains in the Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau - Chengdu sits at the foot of the plateau - and an idea to start an experimental site began to germinate in Okada Masao's mind. The idea finally sees its fruit in the construction of rose de mai.

"The soil has life and breath. And it is delicious as well," Okada Masao said, taking a pinch of soil and starting to chew it, "You know it? The soil revolution in the 21st century is taking place in Chengdu!"

Most of the workers in the garden are from the nearby villages. Strolling around, he greets the workers saying Nihao (Hello in Chinese). Besides several phrases like that, the old horticulturist hasn't shown much linguistic talent - he talked with us in English with an apparent Japanese accent - but it seems that he has little difficulty in communicating with the workers. "I speak Japanese at work and they know what to do," he smiled, "Rose is the best language!"

Living alone in Chengdu, Okada Masao has not much to ask for and he lives a life as an ordinary Chinese: like a typical farmer in Sichuan, he is a lover of spicy foods and Mapo Tofu is one of his favorites.

He never considers himself as an outsider of the city: "Chengdu is my home, where I have the roses and the soil to fulfill my dreams." Okada Masao thinks that the unique soil and humid climate in Chengdu provide most favorable conditions to grow a great variety of roses (there are over 1, 000 kinds of roses planted in rose de mai).

Add: #53 Wenpi Avenue, Yongning Town, Wenjiang District
Admission: RMB60
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