Friday, February 20, 2015

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR + Seattle Japanese Garden opens March 1st!


The Second Month
二月
春もややけしきととのふ月と梅
haru mo yaya keshiki totonou tsuki to ume

gradually spring—
the land just so
with moon and plum
- Basho
 translated by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch


SJG • 2/17/15 - Camellia 'Lily Pons' blooming 

by aleks
•  First Viewing is Sunday, March 1, from 11 am – 3pm.  There are changes to Rev. Barrish’s ceremony this year:  the bulk of the Shinto ceremony will take place in the courtyard outside of the gates with the gates still closed.   There'll be chairs, an overhead tent if necessary, and heat lamps to keep us all comfortable.  Then, we’ll open the gates with ceremonial reverence.  We’ll follow the reverend into the garden to do our first walk together, as he continues his purification ritual. SEE YOU THERE!  Guides will begin public tours April first with a daily tour at 12:30 M-F and twice on week-ends 12:30 and 2:00.



 • Please note  Cont. Ed calendar for the guides and volunteers below (and on the calendar page), especially:
“47 Ronin (Chushingura)”, 1962 film which comes very soon and with bento lunch box if you want it (March 8, Sunday at 10 am)


We have some very talented guides among us:

• Michele Malo just penned a book titled 'A summer in Peach Creek' and you can get it here...  Congratulations, Michele! No, it's NOT about Japanese garden, but we will have interview on this blog with Michele soon, because injuring minds want to know why she is pondering murderers in West Virginia while she is guiding (she wrote a book about it,  so it must have been heavily on her mind, whatever she was doing)

•  Dewey Webster (who is also a guide in the Seattle Chinese Garden) completed a galleries of pictures from a trip he and his wife took recently to China (on the way to the field trip to Japan with other SJG guides - see previous posts) - they used to live in Beijing before moving to Seattle.  You can see their experiences from that trip on Dewey's website, (next to his pictures from Japan) - quite gripping and dizzying!

Marylin Tsuchia just launched a new website for the travels to Japan that she and her husband Kazuo guide: take a look and maybe travel with them -  they have a few spaces left for this year's tours!



 2015 CLASS, FILM, BOOK, FIELD TRIP SCHEDULE 
Japanese Garden Unit 86 Continuing Education (for SJG guides, volunteers and staff)

Events will take place in the TCR. Days of the week and times vary. (No scheduled May CE events.) Look for more detailed email information monthly—schedule is subject to change.

• March 8, Sunday, 10-3: FILM—“47 Ronin (Chushingura)” (1962)—special showing with lunch intermission, optional bento lunch, and post-film discussion facilitated by Patty G. and Cara I.

• March 21, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Kyoto’s Gardens: Autumn 2014 docent trip—beautiful photos—with Dewey W.

• April 1, Wednesday, Noon-3:30 : FILM—“Enlightenment Guaranteed” (1999)

• April 18, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS/BOOK—discussion with Leslie Helms, author Yokohama Yankee. Book Group launch facilitated by Cara I. and Corinne K.

• June 20, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Harrison Moretz—Taoist Influences in Japanese and Chinese Gardens

• July 1, Wednesday, 10-Noon: BOOK GROUP #2—discussion of Wabi Sabi by Leonard Koren—“an enduring classic”

• August 5, Wednesday, Noon-3:30: FILM—“Japanese Dance: Succession of a Kyomai Master” (2000)—the world of Kyoto-style dance

• August 15, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Dale Brotherton—Tea House Architecture

• September 9, Wednesday, 10-Noon:  BOOK GROUP #3—title to be announced

• September 19, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Featured Plants of Our Japanese Garden— Unit 86 Plant List Committee Garden Tours

• October 7, Wednesday, Noon-3:30:  FILM—“Kaidan” (1964) Tales of the supernatural

• October 21, Wednesday, 10-Noon: BOOK GROUP #4—title to be announced

• November 19, Thursday, 10-Noon: CLASS—Masa Mizuno, Garden Specialist—Seattle Japanese Garden 2015 Update—Bring questions!

• Field Trips–to be announced: Possible: Marenakos, Seike Garden (Highline), Bonsai Collection, Taoist Retreat. Dewey Webster facilitates and takes suggestions.


Friday, February 6, 2015

For your winter enlightenment


SJG • 11/8/14
Please note: the link to Koichi's essay below is open to anyone by signing up. aleks.

1. Monologue on Japanese Garden from Koichi Kobayashi:

Dear Friends of Japanese Garden,

I have uploaded the following monologue at my academia.edu website.
Monologue on Japanese Garden :
How can we respond to a question of “What is Japanese Garden?” in a simple and clear manner for gardens outside of Japan? Draft, Feb. 2015

If interested,  please go to:
https://www.academia.edu/10469235/Monologue_on_Japanese_Garden_How_can_we_respond_to_a_question_of_What_is_Japanese_Garden_in_a_simple_and_clear_manner_for_gardens_outside_of_Japan

If you cannot make a link, please send me a message so that I can mail it to you directly.
Koichi Kobayashi

It starts with the following :

Preface

I started writing this paper to create an introduction as to how best to develop, design and foster Japanese gardens abroad.

Japanese garden has been said to be an important aspects of Japanese culture which nurtures international understanding and friendship. Many Japanese gardens have been built as products of attraction to things oriental, government public relations in form of expositions , friendship-sister city relationship, showing of wealth of individuals and others over the years in America and in Europe.

Even though these initial roles still exist, today the role of public and private Japanese gardens, especially in North America has expanded beyond landscaping and recreation; they are used in commercial settings, for weddings and events, for cultural programs for professional medical therapy and more.

I am, however, observing recurrent problems gardens facing changes in a name of making the gardens adapting to modern requirements and sustainability contrary o the soul of Japanese garden and problems in creation of gardens which astray from the soul of Japanese garden in my understanding.

I truly believe we should come back to the following to challenge questions:

What is Japanese garden (in Japan ) ? and

What is Japanese garden abroad?


2.  Butoh in Japanese Garden - Wandering & Wondering last August:



• • • • •
Next post: 
2015 Continuing Education, Seattle Japanese Garden Unit 86:
Class, Film, Book, Field Trip Schedule

Monday, January 12, 2015

Kyoto 2015 Calendar, SJG field trip to Kyoto - memories

by aleks


Attention Kyoto lovers!   Dewey put together a 2015 calendar from the field trip to Kyoto some of our guides took in fall of 2014.  The picture of January page is featured above and i shows  SHINSEN-EN temple; the rest of the calendar has other beautiful pictures of Kyoto gardens and temples.   All of the pictures were featured in Dewey's posts summarizing the trip on 12/16, 12/19 & 12/28) (links: part 1 here, part 2 here,  and part 3 here) and now you can have them in supersize paper version to look over all year round.

The calendar is a nice memento not only for those who went for a Kyoto trip, but also a learning tool/material for those who didn't:  together with Dewey's posts on the subject you will have a nice, brief and informative Kyoto compendium,  should you ever consider going there or just study it from afar.

The calendars are now fully designed and ready for print, but turnaround time between when Dewey can order and receive the calendars is about 10 day, so order yours ASAP from Dewey's webpage - once on Dewey's webpage  you can view all the the 13 photos which make up the calendar cover plus months - under the tab KYOTO GARDENS 2014 - CALENDAR: "2015 Kyoto Gardens":
http://www.deweywebster.net

The calendar cost is $25 plus $5.00 for postage.  Ask here or ask Dewey...

+ Also on Dewy's webpage (under the tab KYOTO GARDENS 2014, sub-tab "GARDENS 101") you can view his entire photo-essay from our guides Kyoto field trip in one-page post.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Invitation to a probably a most memorable travel to Japan

by Koichi Kobayashi

You are invited to join in a select group of people to participate in assisting building a memorial Japanese Garden to commemorate victims of tsunami/earthquake of March 11, 2011 in Tohoku, Japan and recovery from it. Garden building project is organized by Japanese Garden Association as a 5 year program. You will receive training from traditional Japanese gardeners who supervise building and will befriend with young Japanese gardeners from all around Japan as well.

After garden building, we will visit gardens and temples of World Heritage, designation,  coastal cities undergoing recovery and coastline area which is designated as a new National Park. Travel will start from Seattle on October 8 through 22 ending in Tokyo.  Optional travel goes to Kyoto/Osaka.

Supported by Seattle Japanese Garden Society, Japanese Garden Society (Tokyo) and assisted by North American Japanese Garden Association. ( confirmation is pending at this time).

There are many of you who have benefited overtime being associated with Japan or apprenticed and studied in Japan, yet some of you including myself, who do not know how to assist Tohoku, Japan for their recovery from disasters of March 11, 9011, in some meaningful and constructive way.

There is a unique opportunity to assist in building a Japanese Garden near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. This garden, when completed, will be a memorial and prayer for victims of disaster and commemorate their efforts in recovery and future development.

Designing and building of this garden is organized by Sendai Chapter of the Japanese Garden Society. It is being built on a five year program with a completion date set at 2019 to coincide with the society's 100 year anniversary.

This is an excellent opportunity for those thinking and pondering how best to participate in recovery in Tohoku but mutually beneficial. You could attempt to do that in signing up  for a work study and volunteer program being developed by Koichi Kobayashi with an assistance from Japanese Garden Society and NAJGA.

With this program, participants will engage in assisting building a commemorative Japanese garden under Japanese expert's supervision, visiting and learning conditions and people of cities devastated.

This is the base program for thirteen days. There could be an optional tour to Kyoto, for five days. Program start will start on October 8, 2015 in Sendai with October 8 departure from Seattle. Cost will be around $4,800.

If you are interested in joining, please send me your name, address, email, work place, profession etc. to Koichi Kobayashi.

For preliminary itinerary, see next page.

Koichi Kobayashi
kobayashik206@gmail.com
Ph. 206- 2869644

December 20, 2014 - Preliminary Itinerary:  Base Plan

Day 1:  Departure from Seattle (Delta Air) Departure date is October 8, 2015.
Day 2:  Arrival in Tokyo  and orientation
Day 3:  Transfer to Sendai & Introduction to Garden Building
Day 4:  Garden Building

Day 5:  Garden Building ( Presentation on Japanese gardens in North America by participants)
Day 6:  Garden Building and Farewell Party ( Oct. 13)
Day 7:  Tour Sendai and Matsushima
Day 8: Transfer to and tour Hiraizumi/Moutsuji Temple

Day 9: Tour Hiraizumi/Moutsuji Temple) and surroundings
Day 10: Transfer to Rikuzentakata ( Undergoing massive construction with a new park)
Day 11: Learn Rikuzentakata and tour surrounding coastline ( New National Park)
Day 12: Departure from Rikuzentakata to Tokyo( Free on your own in PM)
Day 13: Leave for Seattle ( Delta Air)

Preliminary Itinerary:  Option Plan

For those going to Kyoto area:
Day 13:  Departure from Rikuzentakata to Kyoto
Day 14:  Kyoto: Town, Temples and Gardens
Day 15:  Kyoto
Day 16:  Nara/Osaka
Day 17:  Leave for Seattle from Kansai Air Port (Osaka)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

SJG Field Trip to Kyoto Fall 2014 What we saw and why we saw it... Part 3 of 3

by Dewey Webster

6.) MODERN ERA (1868 - )


MODERN ERA (1868 - ) ZHIHŌ-IN.  Photo by Dewey Webster

• MODERN ERA (1868 - ) ZHIHŌ-IN
In the ‘60’s this temple had Mirei Shigemori design its gardens in a contemporary take on traditional karesansui (“dry landscape) conventions. In this one, The Garden of the Cross, it is not a turtle island harking to Daoism, but it is a cross, referring to the icon of Christianity, which he has designed. The stones on an angle to the walkway are the upright; the three from the dark on in the foreground, the speckled one in the middle, and the hard to see one in the hedge, are the cross bar. If you extend the upright under the walkway at the end….


MODERN ERA (1868 - ) ZHIHŌ-IN. Photo by Dewey Webster

• MODERN ERA (1868 - ) ZHIHŌ-IN
…it terminates in the stone lantern. Look familiar? It is an Oribe, similar to the one in our tea garden. Hard to see but in its base there is a carving of a monk-like figure. During the 17th – 19th Centuries of oppression of Christianity, the Oribe was often found in homes of “Hidden Christians” who could pray to it as the Cross of Calvary without arousing official suspicion.


MODERN ERA (1868 - ) KENNIN-JI.  Photo by Dewey Webster


• MODERN ERA (1868 - ) KENNIN-JI
A recent member of the SJG community, Mark Bourne suggested we visit Chōontei (“Sound of Waves Garden”), which he worked on while apprenticing to the master landscape gardener Yasuo Kitayama. The central stone arrangement represents the Buddha and his two attendants; one in the foreground, a praying believer, and, on the left, a stone for seated meditation.


MODERN ERA (1868 - ) KENNIN-JI.
Photo by Dewey Webster


• MODERN ERA (1868 - ) KENNIN-JI
I was surprised by the number of women (and men) walking the streets and gardens in kimono, so I asked about it.

Seems the Mayor is promoting the wearing of kimono, indeed he does so most frequently. And he has gotten various tourist related associations (taxi, tourist sites, hotels, restaurants) to back it by having discounts for guests who also wear them.

What if you no longer have kimono in the bottom of your dresser, or do not wish to lug them to Kyoto when you visit? No problem, there are kimono rental stores at your service.




MODERN ERA (1868 - ) ZHIHŌ-IN.  Photo by Dewey Webster

• MODERN ERA (1868 - ) ZHIHŌ-IN
Let’s close with two gardens that show the breadth of design of View Gardens. Here, the Main Garden at Zhihō-in, also by Mirei ShIgemori, uses deeply raked gravel and sharp stones to evoke the energy of rough waves and rugged rocky islands.


MODERN ERA (1868 - ) KOTŌ-IN.  Photo by Dewey Webster

• MODERN ERA (1868 - ) KOTŌ-IN
And here, the Main Garden at Kotō-in, the greens of moss, dappled with fallen maple leaves, envelop one with a sense of boundless calm and serenity.


 新年おめでとうございます
Shinnen omedetou gozaimasu
("New year congradulations")
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

SJG Field Trip to Kyoto Fall 2014 What we saw and why we saw it... Part 2 of 3

by Dewey Webster

5.) EDO ERA (1603 – 1867): 

 EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) RENGE-JI

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) RENGE-JI
With civil peace and prosperity, which characterized the Edo Era, some gardens quietly retreated into the woodwork. This one, built up against a cliff, was known for its borrowed view of the trees up said cliff. However the trees immediately around the pond have grown so as to block much of that view. It makes the feeling of enclosure and intimacy very strong.

EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) RENGE-JI

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) RENGE-JI
Now this is something one does not see everyday…a Chinese stele in a Japanese garden. It is quite authentic: a slab of stone incised with some important story, standing on a large tortoise (turtles!!) with an unusual cap-stone (in China the important ones are inside an open-air enclosure - think azumaya).

The founder of this temple was a priest at Manshu-in, in Kyoto, a temple with a long Chinese connection. His master there was from China, and when the founder died, the Chinese priest had this stele made in China and erected here. As is often the case, the inscription is a recounting of his disciple’s life and deeds.




EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) SHŌDEN-JI

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) SHŌDEN-JI
Here is a borrowed view that has not been occluded! Built to view Mt. Hiei on the horizon, the entire city of Kyoto, which spreads from here to it, is hidden by the trees, which the temple owns. It is also protected from high rises being built on this side, since the temple owns the land beyond and has put a golf course on it.

EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) SHŌDEN-JI

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) SHŌDEN-JI
Temples are often laid out with the Main Gate directly accessing the garden, which fronts the main building. But only the most VIP of VIP’s gets to use it (we normal folk come in the side door). However the walk from it, to the main building is carefully maintained and becomes an element of the overall garden design.


EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL KATSURA RIKKYU

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL KATSURA RIKKYU
OK, so this is Edo too, but since Katsura and our garden have a close relationship I am including it as well. Certainly the suhama with the Misaki Lantern is familiar to us all. Now look beyond: island with pine tree – stone bridge – another island (missing it’s pine… recently died) and off camera to the right, another bridge to the shore. Seem familiar? Our bridge is wood, and we have only one island, but hey, the Imperial Family had more resources. This is a representation of Amanohashidate, a famous crescent of sand covered with pine trees on the Japan Sea Coast. Beyond this is a teahouse. And as you know our garden design called for a building beyond our bridges and island.

EDO ERA (1603 – 1867)
IMPERIAL KATSURA RIKKYU




• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL KATSURA RIKKYU
Now I doubt our designers had in mind something as grand as the Old Villa at Katsura. Often held up as THE iconic building of traditional Japanese architecture, is has a moon viewing platform, just going off screen to the right, facing the center portion of the garden.

And the stepping-stones indicate that this is not a VIEW garden, but it is a STROLL garden (tho the Imperials may have boated about more than traipsed across stepping stones).




EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL SHUGAKU-IN

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL SHUGAKU-IN
Here is STROLL on a grand scale. Sure, they probably boated about too, but to get to this vantage point there had to be some climbing involved. And engineering too...a pond on the side of hill? They do it all the time for their rice fields by building a dam across the hill…the straight line on the opposite shore is the top of the dam. It is also SHAKKEI (“borrowed landscape”) on a grand scale as well… incorporating all the hills in north Kyoto and beyond. Would a retired Emperor settle for less?


EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL SHUGAKU-IN

• EDO ERA (1603 – 1867) IMPERIAL SHUGAKU-IN
Needless to say seeing these “Imperials” is pretty popular, but the guided groups are limited to 40, so reservations are made, and groups fill, months in advance. However, knowing that for many foreign tourists that is difficult to do, it is usually possible to get a spot if not the same day one applies, within a few days, so all of us were able to do so. Also for our benefit, they loan audio guides in English, keyed to the number at each stop…6 in this case…so when not too busy taking photos one can hear about the location.

_________

Next (last) post on SJG field trip to Japan: MODERN ERA...