An Immigrant’s Tale


I would like to introduce myself. I am Karishi-ra and it is my honor to guest – author this section of Leapfrog MA.   As you see,  I do not appear to be a frog.  A common enough misconception.   In fact, I personally can trace my lineage back to the 14th century palace frogs who guarded the sacred Emperor and defended him with their very lives.  We remain the object of worship in Japan by a group known as the Hari Karishi-rans.   We have annual festivals and celebrations in our honor and have our own foundations to do our many charitable endeavors.  That is in Japan.  

As a young lizard, like many young lizards everywhere, I dreamed of going to sea and see the world.   I booked passage in a sack of rice, eventually to be unloaded at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.   My sack of rice was separated from the other sacks which had been my traveling companions,  after which I soon felt myself moving. I heard one of the humans say “This one goes to Morakami Gardens over in Delray.”   I experienced that feeling of moving again and once that stopped my sack was picked up and tossed by one of the humans onto the floor.   That's when my plan to see the world took a sudden detour.  The sack split open spilling rice and me into plain sight.  The humans were on me in a flash.  After a gallant fight that seemed to go on for seconds, I was bound up and taken to meet the leader.

 I learned the leader was a direct descendent of the sacred Emperor in the 14th century who revered frogs.  Actually since 1946, there have been no emperors residing in Japan.  It has all been kept low-key but they are running their entire empire from this tranquil location called Morakami Gardens.  As the uninvited newcomer that I was, I was taken to be interrogated by the high tribunal.  There I was asked to declare what sort of species I was.  My mouth said "frog" before my brain caught up with it. When asked to explain the difference between my appearance and that of the customary frog , I merely claimed that it was a combination of a glandular disorder and a deprived childhood.  This seemed to satisfy the tribunal’s uncertainties about me.  But what to do with me?  I was not invited, not expected, nor was I needed as a guard for the Emperor.  However, I was told that I would be allowed to stay and contribute to the welfare of these beautiful gardens.  A docent to those who wandered these tranquil paths and bridges, connecting islands and ponds and schools of koi.  My job at ten minutes past the hour and  three quarters past the hour was to hop up on this hedge and give a one minute canned presentation to whoever was nearby,  extolling Japan's weather and its desirability as a tourist destination.  Then I was obliged to pose for photographs, some with children whom I generally avoid.  Every day, from ten in the morning until seven in the evening , I pop out of the hedges.   And then I do my thing, including  startling the hell out  of visitors, if possible.  Sudden moves in their direction seems to get the job done.  I am fed well because I like bean curd. This place has my kind of weather.  Life could be worse.