Sunday, September 23, 2018

Kubota Gardens and Aviation

Today was just spectacular – perfect fall weather.  We decided to go visit the Kubota Gardens.  From Wikipedia we learn this:

Fujitaro Kubota emigrated from Shikoku, Japan in 1907 and established the Kubota Gardening Company in 1923. Projects of his included the garden at Seattle University and the Japanese garden at Bloedel Reserve in Bainbridge Island. In 1927, he bought 5 acres (20,000 m2) of swampland in Rainier Beach to start the garden and in 1930 increased the size of the garden to 30 acres (120,000 m2). Kubota Garden served as cultural center for the Japanese community in Seattle, as well as a home, office and nursery for his business. During World War II, Kubota Garden was abandoned for four years as Kubota and his family were interned at Camp Minidoka in Idaho. During his internment, Kubota supervised the building of a community park, which included a Japanese rock garden. After the war, he and his sons Tak and Tom Kubota rebuilt the business.

It’s a beautiful area, we were a little too early for fall foliage, but it’s just a delightful stroll.  All of the carefully curated water in the gardens comes either from Mapes Creek or springs on site.  See the orange spot on the right side of the photo?


Those are giant honking koi.






The number of large trees and plantings is amazing.


Bridge closeup.


If you’re in the Seattle area, this is worth doing.  If you’re on Bainbridge Island, the Bloedel Reserve is also amazing.  They have the best moss gardens we’ve ever seen.

On the way out, we drove down the perimeter road of the Renton Airport.  This is the new 737 Max.  I’m not sure when it’s scheduled to enter service.  What’s interesting is the shape of the winglets.  They’re evolved.


There are green airplanes on both sides of the airport.  The Boeing plant is attached to the airport.  All 737s depart from this airport on their maiden voyages.


The other side.  The airplanes are green because they’re not painted.  They’re stacked up on the airport due to parts shortages.  We don’t like to see this.  When the supply chain is disrupted, it has a cascading effect all the way back to the beginning of the production line.  One of the current issues is availability of CFM engines.  It’s the only engine used on the 737, variability increases cost.  There is more written on the subject here.


This is a P8 Poseidon.  It’s the new submarine hunter, replacing the P3 Orion.


This is so weird.  It’s a Beaver amphibious plane.  He’s about to take off, rolling down the tarmac on those teeny tiny wheels.


Jim doesn’t know what this is.  We’re guessing it’s a replica something, or maybe it’s original, but what it is remains a mystery after a web search.


Here we have a Rockwell 690, also known as a Turbo Commander.  When Jim was flying, this was one of his favorite airplanes.  The engine note was just exquisite.  Today’s flight was flown by a woman.  The passenger couple got their Porsche 911 out of the hanger and departed, leaving her to get the tug out and park the plane inside.  Clearly the wrong set of parents picked me up at the hospital.  How cool would this be as a means of travel?


What’s missing from that pickup truck?  These are used to get float planes out of the water (ones with no wheels in the floats) and take them to where they are stored.


Being in Renton is so weird.  When we worked at Boeing, all of this was factory.  Now the developers are putting in mass retail and apartments.  Those glass structures farthest away are right next to the 737 final assembly building.  If the mechanics are riveting, people in the apartments will probably be able to hear it.  We never ever thought we’d see the foot print of the company contract to this degree.


So that was today.  Tomorrow is dental appointments and laundry.  Boo yah!


  1. The gardens look interesting. I went to some Japanese gardens in Portland many years ago -- these photos remind me of that visit. Love the koi, especially!

  2. The plane in the shed may be the real or a replica of Bill Boeing's 1 st mail delivery plane....
    It all started on Lake Union I believe....The old Museum of History and Industry close to the U of W had a similar plane hanging from the ceiling...It was many years ago for me so I could be mistaken..or not??