For 32 years I've always wanted to surprise her, ever since we were two freshers at the Milan Polytechnic. That's where we first met and all I needed was a coffee and a borrowed blue pen to understand that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She is the most volcanic and visionary person I have ever met: I, by comparison, seem a gray and bored husband with no intuition. She's been madly in lovewith Japanfor a few years. At every dinner she praises its aesthetics, grace and slowness; she enrolled in a course on shodo, the art of calligraphy, and as soon as she can she flies to Tokyo. She spends as much time there as possible, always looking for new little Japanese discoveries. When my work allows me I go with her, but she often travels alone. In April last year she went to attend a course in kaiseki, the most refined form of traditional Japanese cuisine. She was away for a long time and I took advantage of her absence to organize a surprise for her: I had to make her jaw drop!

Japanese garden

In the house in the country where we live there was a large outdoor space left a bit abandoned. For months we have been talking about creating a garden and giving ourselves a green oasis. I decided to create a wonderful English garden and, just for her, a little jewel: a corner in perfect Japanese style where not only the classic flowers but also stones, wood burned by time and sun, sand all triumph. Simple but unique elements, laid with great skill. Around azaleas and two majestic red maples. On the day of her return I picked her up at the airport and, a few meters from home, I got her to put on a blindfold and then accompanied her to the garden. “This time I'll amaze you, trust me.” She smiled, not quite convinced. But when she took the blindfold off, she burst out crying from the emotion. She hugged me and told me: “You brought Japan into our house! It was your greatest gift ever.” After 32 years, after coffee and a blue ballpoint pen, after Milan and a life spent together, Ifinally managed to surprise her for the first time.