I did an event at the Japanese Friendship Garden for Adventures by the Book. My book is a natural fit for the garden. I did the Cherry Blossom festival and filmed the video there, so I really know my way around.

It’s a beautiful garden. There’s a canyon in the back, below, where there will be the largest grove of cherry trees in San Diego along a trail. (And I don’t think most cherry trees grow that well in San Diego).

There’s also a koi pond with a waterfall. The championship-quality koi there were killed a few years ago when there was a leaky pipe. The chlorinated water got to them overnight. Now there are non-championship quality koi. One of the volunteers, who also hands out food for them, can tell you why each one does not qualify for the championship.

Adventures by the Book puts on many extraordinary literary events with authors. They just did a trip to Tuscany over the summer, for example, and they’re going back to Europe soon. A trip to Paris is in the works. Local events take place at restaurants or other venues, like this one.

The Friendship garden also has some pretty good food. I’m a particular fan of their cold soba noodle salad, with chicken and candied walnuts, but also like to stop in for udon soup if the weather’s cooler. So the garden restaurant catered the event.

It was a full house.

If you meet me in regular everyday life, you might presume I wouldn’t like public speaking, because I’m an introvert. I guess I might be extroverted sometimes, because I really enjoy public speaking, and the event went super well. People laughed at appropriate places and applauded. It was awesome.

Some local authors I’ve recently become acquainted with came out (Laurel Corona, Zohreh Ghahremani [whose SKY OF RED POPPIES is one of the One Book, One San Diego picks]) and bloggers (Leah Singer of Leah Writes, Monica Medina of Monica’s Tangled) as well as one surprise.

There was one lady I thought looked familiar. She asked if I’d gone to Henry, and I said yes, and Gage Elementary. She said she’d worked at Gage as the librarian.

Then I remembered. Her daughter had been in my class for four or five years!

How random is that?

She had no idea.

Here are some more pics from the event, courtesy of Susan McBeth of Adventures by the Book.