Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The garden is closed for winter

SJG • 12/6/16 - Camellia Sasanqua 'Appledorn' in area S - flowers white in late fall and winter

by aleks
On December 1st, the first day of our winter closure, Rumi, Jessa and Pete hosted a special celebration for volunteers and staff of the Seattle Japanese Garden. Thank you all who organized this very nice get together where the guides could formally meet our new Niwashi volunteers - the garden stewards who help to maintain this beautiful space.  In the coming 2017 season we hope for a greater integrations of the two groups - some docents are already in the Niwashi program, and some Niwashi volunteers are planning to become docents.

SJG • 12/6/16 - Ripe persimon fruit on now leafless tree in orchard - note the frost on the ground

On December 6th the continuing education group met to finalize the details of the 2017 lectures, books to read, field trips and film offerings - watch this space for a list of all of the educational opportunities as soon as it gets formalized (a few speakers and dates are still negotiated) and the Calendar will also be posted on the right side of the blog, for your GO-to viewing throughout  the year.

SJG • 12/6/16 - Camellia sasanqua in N - flowers right on time: late fall

The film non-committee finished its business earlier that expected (most of the discussion was conducted via earlier emails); so  had time for a stroll around the garden and found unexpected abundance of color in winter - see posted pics. Small film appetizer:  the first movie of 2017 - Throne of Blood (蜘蛛巣城 Kumonosu-jō? - will be shown on the day of 'soft opening' of the Garden, March 1st (the official First Viewing ceremony will be hold on the following weekend) - mark your calendar now!

SJG • 12/6/16 - The film non-committee observed 'something wrong with this picture': Camellia japonica in N is blooming, too.  Dewey: 'isn't that a bit early?!' Yes, it is - normal time for c. japonica bloom is early spring.  

The garden might be closed, but some things continue to turn in its own rhythm -  I'll post soon about the two of them that I'm personally involved with:

• 1.) cooperation with Kubota garden and  related visit to UW Center for Urban Horticulture herbarium and

• 2.) MOSS container display garden which is being currently constructed;  the moss garden will have its own separate blog, which Miriam the Gardener already started but it needs some further organizing. There are about 10 000 mosses species in the world - the container moss garden and the moss blog will feature about 10 most prevalent in our Seattle Japanese garden.

12/2/16 - Dicranum scoparium - this particular moss does NOT grow in our garden (but related Dicranum howelii is) - it was chosen for a trial potting, while looking for the right container and soil mix for the display moss garden

SJG • 12/6/12 - bare bones of the SJ winter Garden

Thursday, November 3, 2016

FREE Workshop on recording your ethnic history this Saturday

by aleks
There's still time to register for the free workshop this Saturday on Preserving your Cultural & Historical Record, presented by Ethnic Heritage Council with University of Washington Libraries.

You are invited to bring your organization's brochures and flyers to share.
Please bring your lunch; beverages, light snacks and ethnic desserts will be provided.
You can view and download the program here. St. Demetrios Hall driving directions.

SJG today - 11/3/16 - Samidare maple reflected in the pond

Friday, October 21, 2016

MAPLE VIEWING FEST 紅葉狩り (Momijigari) coming this Sunday

by aleks

SJG • 10/18/16 - Peaceful shaded path behind the tea house garden

Maple Viewing Fest is rescheduled from the stormy last weekend to coming Sunday 11/23 from 10am to 5pm,  with special tours and attractions for visitors.  The garden looks truly splendid now, not just on Sunday, as the trees will continue to delight well past Momijigari celebrations.  Seattle Japanese Garden is a place to experience the fall's fleeting exquisiteness well into November,  when even the stubbornly slow-to-turn maples like shishigasira will finally acknowledge the season's change and all the ginkgo leaves will cover the ground like a golden snow.

SJG • 10/18/16 - A view from the west path  onto the sunny east path

SJG • 10/19/16 - Follow the stream 

Below is a link to a beautiful article just written by one of our guides, Corinne Kennedy for the 'official' SJG blog (this one being the 'community' blog).  She titled it  'Beyond Beauty: The Ephemeral Delights of Autumn':

Autumn is a beautiful time in Japan. Its mild, sunny weather, with colder nights, brings relief from the heat and humidity of summer. Maples and many other plants bring beautiful leaf colors, and some plants display late-appearing flowers or attractive berries. Our Seattle Japanese Garden manifests all of these aspects of autumn beauty. [...]

Nature, seasonal changes, and “insight into the truth of human existence” (Paul Varley, ibid.) are magically captured in the haiku form of poetry. Developed in 17th century Japan, it consists of three lines (5 syllables, 7 syllables, and finally 5 syllables). Here is a translation of an autumn haiku by the great poet Matsuo Basho (1644-94):

so very precious
and do they tint my tears? – the
fall of autumn leaves  [...]

The entire Corinne's article here...

SJG • 10/19/16 - A closer look at the loveliness of red-tipped maple leaves
SJG • 10/18/16 - Yellow flames of ginkgoes reflected in pond

Friday, October 7, 2016

Film Sugihara Chiune, "Persona Non Grata" 10/14 at Uptown

by aleks
After its world premiere in Lithuania in October 2015, a new film about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, "Persona Non Grata," opens SPFF (Seattle Polish Film Festival) next Friday, October 14 at SIFF Cinema Uptown at 6:30 pm. Director Cellin Gluck will be present for the film screening, followed by Q &A.

The film tells the story of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara who was posted in Lithuania during World War II, and who defied orders and issued over 2,000 transit visas to Jewish refugees, famously continuing to sign visas even as his train pulled away from the station. He is estimated to have saved over 6,000 lives from the Nazis, who invaded Lithuania a year later in 1941.

Directed by Japanese American Cellin Gluck, "Persona Non Grata" was filmed in Poland and stars Japanese actors Toshiaki Karasawa and Koyuki, and Polish actors Borys Szyc and Agnieszka Grochowska.

WHEN:  Friday, October 14th, 6:30 pm
WHERE: SIFF Cinema Uptown on 511 Queen Anne Ave N. Seattle 98109
You can buy tickets right before the film or on-line via SIIF; tickets and FB page here:

Here is an informative article about the film from

And a January 2016 interview with Cellin Gluck, Director Of “Persona Non Grata,” from

Trailer here:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peggy's pics of 2016 Otsukimi

by aleks
Peggy G. was kind to share what her camera registered the night we honored a harvest moon a week ago (amazingly, it was her iPhone 6S and not a special low light equipment!). Enjoy and thank you, Peggy!

SJG • 9/17/17 - Photo by Peggy G.
SJG • 9/17/17 - Photo by Peggy G.

SJG • 9/17/17 - Photo by Peggy G.

SJG • 9/17/17 - Photo by Peggy G.

SJG • 9/17/17 - Photo by Peggy G.
For more Peggy's Otsukimi 2016 go here...

Monday, September 19, 2016

お月見 (Otsukimi) 2016 & Moon Viewing Haiku Winners

by aleks
SJG • 9/17/16 - the gate entrance

We had another fabulous Moon Viewing celebration last Saturday, complete with traditional Japanese tea ceremonies in the Shoseian Tea House,  bento dinners in the courtyard and Tatueuchi Community Room + floating lanterns launch on the pond at dusk.

From our  moon viewing platform we were delighted with haiku readings by Michael Dylan Welch from Haiku Northwest and music from several artists:
• Marcia and Kuniko Takamura on koto
• James Jennings on Shakuhachi
• Gretchen Yanover on electric cello
• Gary Stroutsos on bamboo flute

SJG • 9/17/16. Photo by Tony 

It was a cloudy evening, with prediction of 70% rain for the start of the fest, but luckily we only got a slight drizzle somewhere half-way trough.  No moon, alas. But that's OK: the ceremony does not require the moon to be present, as waiting for it is sufficient to celebrate this dating back to the 8th century tradition of honoring the autumn harvest moon.

SJG • 9/17/16. Photo by Tony

2016 Seattle Japanese Garden Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

Judged by Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch (from 126 entries)

First Place:

Lying in bed,
moonlight through the window,
my second blanket

Kaitlin Powell

Second Place:

the moon viewing
even the fish
need umbrellas

Anonymous (please let us know your name by emailing

Third Place:

the pond’s still surface
       reflects the full moon
              reflecting the sun

Kelvin Kleinman

SJG • 9/17/16 - tea ceremonies in the Shoseian Tea House. Photo by Tony 

Adult Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

silver reflection
     drifting on the water
          faint as a caress

Rachel Burgoon

sun descending moon ascending
in a garden by a pond
a young boy looks up

Mahdi Mohammad Bagher

the moon is high
and so am I
the stars are out

B. St. J.

The moon is full,
and I am full too,
full of memories

Robbie Emmet

Small moons among us
The artificial lights flicker
The full moon shrouded
  Rebecca Church

SJG • 9/17/16 - Gretchen Yanover on electric cello

The pond’s hungry koi
Nibbling for their evening meal
Eat nothing but moon


Again the night is dark.
With flashlights and white balloons
let’s make our own moons.

Mata tsuki nai.
Hai-tekku wo tsukaite
tsuki wo shimas

Maurice Varon

Moon viewing in the park
I slip on a rock
Ah, the koi

Rodney Smith

drifting fog
an acquaintance
I’d rather not meet

Sky Ramirez

Even if you claim
it’s not a competition
no one “views” the sun

R. Thursday

SJG • 9/17/16. Photo by Tony

Youth Honorable Mentions  (in no particular order):

Look up to the sky
the moon smiles to you happily
to say hi to you

Olivia Near, age 10

The koi swim around
like a circle beautiful
as the moon

Olivia Near, age 10

Shadows on the sky
are like ghosts dancing on the moon
that are saying hello

Olivia Near, age 10

peaceful quiet dark
it drives away nightmares the moon
I gaze at the moon

Isaac Kim, age 8

Dear moon
you are so beautiful
I love your moonlight
you make me smile every night

Eliza Kim, age 5

SJG • 9/17/16 - Gary Stroutsos on bamboo flute. Photo by Tony
SJG • 9/17/16