Saturday, November 4, 2017

Momijigari (紅葉狩) in Kubota Garden

10/28/11 • Kubota Garden

by aleks, photos by Tony

Momijigari (紅葉狩), from the Japanese momiji (紅葉), "red leaves" or "maple tree" and kari (狩り), "hunting", is the Japanese tradition of going to visit scenic areas where leaves have turned red in the autumn.

Many Japanese people take part in this, with the cities of Nikkō and Kyoto being particularly famous destinations. The tradition is said to have originated in the Heian era as a cultured pursuit, and is the reason why many deciduous trees can be found in the Kyoto area.

Seattle Japanese Garden has its own tradition of Maple Viewing Festival (currently still ongoing) and the pictures of our turning maples were shown on this blog previous years.  This year Momijigari in our sister Kubota Garden (both SJG and Kubota are public gardens, managed by  Seattle Parks Department).

10/28/11 • Kubota Garden

10/28/11 • Kubota Garden

From Wikipedia: Momijigari (紅葉狩) or Maple Viewing (English title) is a Japanese shosagoto (dance) play, usually performed in kabuki and noh. It was also the first narrative ever filmed in Japan. It was written by Kanze Nobumitsu during the Muromachi period.  [...] 

The original play, performed in both noh and kabuki, is a story of the warrior Taira no Koremochi visiting Togakushi-yama, a mountain in Shinshū for the seasonal maple-leaf viewing event. In reality, he has come to investigate and kill a demon that has been plaguing the mountain's deity, Hachiman.

There he meets a princess named Sarashinahime, and drinks some sake she offers him. Thereupon she reveals her true form as the demon Kijo, and attacks the drunk man. Koremochi is able to escape using his sword, called Kogarasumaru, which was given to him by Hachiman. The demon gnaws on a maple branch as she dies. [...]

10/28/11 • Kubota Garden

But Maple Viewing Fest is also all around us, as Seattle has a climate similar to parts of Japan and many Japanese maples are planted around the city.  It's probably on your street, but come to Seattle Japanese Garden and Kubota Garden to see the it in particular Japanese-style setting.

10/28/11 • Kubota Garden

Monday, September 11, 2017

Congratulations Moon Viewing haiku winners 2017!

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by Peggy Garber

Judged by Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch (from 122 entries) of the Haiku Northwest

Thank you to everyone who entered the spirit of participation and celebration in writing haiku for the 2017 Seattle Japanese Garden Moon Viewing Haiku Contest, held on September 9, 2017. The entries seemed stronger and more poetic this year. If your name is partial below, or you provided no contact information, please email so we can update our records. If you have not yet received your prize, please contact the garden. First prize was an annual garden membership. Second prize was a garden T-shirt. And third prize was a set of garden postcards. Congratulations to all the winners, and to everyone who submitted poems.

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by NatSuyenaga 

First Place

lantern in the tree
it could be the only moon
we will see tonight

                  Sarah Aday [no contact info provided]

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by km

Second Place

hidden moon
I cannot see you—
looking still matters

                  Brian C. [no last name or contact info provided]

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by Peggy Garber

Third Place

consider the moon . . .
the audience is not unlike
the koi

                  Russell Nielson [spelling of last name unclear, perhaps Nelson or Nukor, email address also unclear]

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

for the autumn moon
another bowl of tea

                 Gwen Stamm 

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by Peggy Garber

needles outstretched
the crone-backed tree
beckons the moon

                  Samuel Levy 

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by Peggy Garber

orange moon—
can autumn fires
keep me from your gaze?

                  Karen Radcliff 

SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by Peggy Garber

the moon hides
behind the clouds
waiting to shine

                  Diana Danzberger 
SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by Peggy Garber

otsumi for 100 people
if the moon were here
it would be too crowded


SJG • 9/9/17 - Photo by NatSuyenaga

empty bento box
chilly breeze ruffles my scarf
waiting for the moon

                  Nina Marini 
SJG • 9/10/17 - The morning after the Otsukimi; Photo by km

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, through my pinhole camera

by aleks

I mean through my strainer/colander - I read one can get the same effect through tree leaves, but I only had a presence of mind to produce the  colander...

Seattle, 8/21/2017 - solar eclipse of 8/21/2017 through my strainer

It got spooky, weird and  dark, as if someone dimmed the sun for a moment, and then it gradually went back to the bright sunshine.  it must be how the nuclear winter might look like..  We had a hummingbird visitor for the moment of the eclipse:

Seattle solar eclipse of 8/21/17 - a hummingbird joins us 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yayoi Kusama 草間 彌生 or 弥生 Kusama Yayoi at SAM

photos by Tony
SAM • 8/14/17 - Yayoi Kusama in her own words (recorded interview is a part of the exhibition)

Yayoi'Kusama's first stop after leaving Japan was Seattle, where she had a solo show in 1957 at the now-long-gone Zoë Dusanne Gallery, before moving to New York City the following year.

SHE IS BACK!! Or, her art is at SAM till September 10th, 2017 -  the wildly popular exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors has new hours and new tickets available for everyone who wishes to see her artwork - check SAM's website.

If you are interested in buying Kusama's work, or up-to-date exhibition listings you may want to check the  Yayoi Kusama page at Artsy -  their mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone.

SAM • 8/14/17 - they only allow 3 people into each mirrored room: as you see - reflected indefinitely 

From Wikipedia: Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 弥生 Kusama Yayoi, born March 22, 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, soft sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition, and pattern. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced her contemporaries such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and George Segal and exhibited works alongside the likes of them.

SAM • 8/14/17: a bit like looking inside of a kaleidoscope

From June 29/2017 Review  Seattle Times: '“Infinity Mirrors” surveys the art of Kusama, the 88-year-old Japanese avant-garde artist who has been in and out of the spotlight for over six decades. As the title suggests, and at the request of the artist, the exhibition focuses on Kusama’s mirrored installations, rooms you can enter or peek into, and find yourself be surrounded by giant polka-dot balloons or glowing yellow pumpkins or thousands of reflections of hovering lanterns...[..]

SAM • 8/14/17 - line for seeing inside of polka-dot room
SAM  8/14/17 - Yayoi Kusama, 草間 彌生

SAM  8/14/17 - Yayoi Kusama, 草間 彌生

SAM  8/14/17 - Yayoi Kusama, 草間 彌生 - a room where YOU can add polka dots :)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wandering and Wondering in pics

text by Joan Laage, photos by aleks
August 6th, 2017 • Peace Park in Seattle - Sadako Sasaki's sculpture is covered with origami cranes,  as always, on Hiroshima's anniversary. Today somebody also fashioned her an origami cranes vest...

Butoh is a contemporary avant-garde dance form which erupted out of the turmoil and loss of identity post WW2 Japan. Hijikata Tatsumi, known as the principal founder, created the first butoh piece in 1959. Butoh combines dance, theater and influences of Japanese traditional performing arts with German Expressionist dance (Neue Tanz) to create a unique performing art that is both controversial and universal in its expression. Butoh has evolved to become an international art form with artists and groups devoted to teaching and performing it throughout the world.

SJG • 8/3/17 - Katrina Wolfe, Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Bruce Fogg, Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Erica Howard, Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Joan Laage, Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Shoko Zama, Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Musicians: Christopher Hydinger, Michael Shannon, David Stanford, Carl Lierman; Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle

SJG • 8/3/17 - Erica Howard & Douglas Ridings, Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle
SJG • 8/3/17 - Wandering and Wondering event by Daipan butoh collective in Seattle
One young lady lost her slipper in the pond...  Our event coordinator, Chie Iida, bravely went to the rescue with a fish net 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wandering and Wondering - Thursday, August 3rd, 4-7 pm

July 28, 2017
Kill Date: August 3, 2017

Something different for 1st Thursday…

Photo by Aurora Santiago

On August 3 Joan Laage will direct the 7th annual site-specific event Wandering and Wondering at the Seattle Japanese Garden. This year’s W&W is a free 1st Thursday event from 4-7 pm. The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E. Wander through the garden and wonder at the sights, sounds, and spirits emerging from the landscape.  Experience the beauty and tranquility of the garden in a unique way.

Over a three-hour period, visitors to the garden will encounter dancers and musicians dispersed in surprising locations throughout the garden as the performers engage in a minute-by-minute response to all the scents, sounds, sights and sensations of the garden. Visitors can also enjoy a photo exhibit featuring W&W from its beginning in 2011. The event’s director Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh) is pleased to present Wandering & Wondering, an annual event in both the Seattle Japanese Garden and Kubota Garden, and for the first time in the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

This year’s dancers are Bruce Fogg, Douglas Ridings, Joan Laage, Katrina Wolfe, Erica Howard, Helen Thorsen, Shoko Zama and Consuelo Gonzalez with music by Gyre (Michael Shannon, David Stanford and Carl Lierman) and Christopher Hydinger. Wandering & Wondering 2017 is co-presented by the Seattle Japanese Garden, Kogut Butoh and DAIPANbutoh Collective, and sponsored by Seattle’s Best Smiles located in Madison Park.

Here’s an audience comments from our 2011 performance:
Thank you for the beautiful afternoon at the Japanese Garden on Saturday. The musicians and dancers were exquisitely sensitive to the beauty of the garden. An added bonus was the great blue heron who seemed to be joining his gestures to the dance. I sincerely hope this event will be continued next year, and every year after. We and the world need more beauty like this. Thank you to all who made this possible.