Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Polish theater meets Japanese butoh dance


by aleks
Sunday, April 17, 4:30 pm 
Borderlines: Kantor's 'Dead Class' Revisited 
Polish Cultural Center at Capotol Hill: 1714 18th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
Free admission

The Polish Salon of Poetry in Seattle and Kogut Butoh present evening of poetry and performance  Borderlines: Kantor's 'Dead Class' Revisited, directed by Joan Laage and staged with five other artists. 'The Dead Class' is a famous play by Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990), Polish playwright and director renown for his ascetic performances. Joan 'Kogut' Laage is known in Seattle for her dance performances based on the Butoh style. The program includes a book exhibit and video clips about Kantor.

Joan Laage is one of our docents and she is also an accomplished butoh dancer/director - many Garden visitors know her work from various performances on different occasions, from Moon-viewing celebrations to annual Wandering and Wondering presentations .  Come to Polish Cultural Center to see how she and her dance group Daipan butoh translated the famous Polish theatrical piece of 1970s into 21 century butoh dance.

Press release for the performance is here...
More about Tadeusz cantor and his work at CRICOTEKA - Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor.

SJG • 3/31/16


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Our book club has a BOOK SHELF!

Recommended Reading to Better Understand Japanese Gardens and Japan in General
Recommendations of Seattle Japanese Garden (SJG) Docents and Friends

Browse this list as you might a bookshelf in a friend’s home; the readings have been submitted by SJG docents and friends, for which, and whom, the SJG Reading Group facilitators are grateful! The list is in alphabetical order by title, although none of our bookshelves might actually be organized that way….   One asterisk (*) at the end of a listing means a reading was discussed by the SJG Reading Group, and two asterisks (**) mean it’s scheduled to be discussed in the future. Go and browse the shelf here!

After this post goes to archives you can still access the BOOK SHELF - it's now pinned on the left side of this blog, above the FILM BANK. Enjoy!

Hanami continues at UW quad: yoshino cherries  - 3/12/116
Is it just me, or the yoshinos are getting paler in color with each year?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The garden is open & sakura on the UW quad

SJG • 3/6/16 - Reverend Barrish of Tsubaki Shinto temple in front of the Garden's gate , blessing ceremony
by aleks

The SJG officially opened for 2016 season on March 6 and welcomes you for the reminder of the year, and the 2016 Cherry Blossom Viewing (sakura) on UW quad opened 2 days later, on March 8 with calligraphy, aka poetry and tea ceremony - the blossoms will be there for you for another 2 weeks or so.

SJG • 3/6/16 - Rev. Barrish inside the Garden, blessing the pond with offering of sake and rice

Only 3 years earlier those events were like 3 weeks apart (check this blog's  past entries)  - what can I say?  We had another warm winter in Seattle and the cherries are blooming almost immediately after, or nearly with  the ornamental plums - a traditional Japanese spring harbinger...


UW Quad yoshino cherries • 3/12/16

UW yoshino cherry blossoms - up close on the trunk

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Welcome Rock Arrangement By Dick Yamasaki

Seattle Japanese Garden At Washington Park Arboretum
By Koichi Kobayashi
SJG •  “Welcome Rock Arrangement by Dick Yamasaki “ - photo by Koichi Kobayashi

SJG •  “Welcome Rock Arrangement by Dick Yamasaki “ - photo by Koichi Kobayashi

This is a story about a set of rock installment.

I have been trying to determine who is responsible for placing an impressive set of rock you can see on your left hand side of pathway right after entering current south gate at the Seattle Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum. It is widely known that most of rock installation in this garden was executed by Yamasaki/Yorozu team and supervised by Juki Iida during 1959-1960 construction period.  But this set of rock is very powerful and is not a typical rock set as seen in other gardens produced by Juki Iida and other parts of this garden.

 Area between the current entrance gate to WPA vintage stone bridge was not completed by end of initial construction and there was no entrance at the south end of the garden.  I verified this by examining original construction drawing and as built drawing produced by Nobumasa Kitamura of Tokyo Metropolitan Parks Department.  It has been documented that completion of this area was supervised by Dick Yamasaki who was also responsible for installing rock retaining wall on the north end of lake. I speculated that Dick Yamasaki installed this set of rocks.

In a strange encountering recently with Larry Hettick who is married to Suzie, who is related to Fumi Yamasaki, wife of Dick Yamasaki, Larry was told by Dick Yamasaki that Dick Yamasaki himself installed this rock arrangement.  That cleared my speculation over a long time.  Now I would like to propose to name this rock arrangement as “Welcome Rock Arrangement by Dick Yamasaki “.

For more (supporting documents for this article) go here.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Juki Iida's 1974 'Niwa' article - 2015 translation

by aleks
The Seattle Japanese Garden will open its gates to the public in a few days on March 1st, and the following Sunday March 6th it'll have an official First Viewing with a customary Shinto ceremony.

This is a good time to reflect on the words of Juki Iida, the builder of our Garden, penned after his visit to Seattle and the Garden 13 years after the construction was finished; the article was originally published in the Japanese magazine 'Niwa' in February 1974, and just recently translated into English by Shizue Prochaska and Julie E. Coryell.

Below the beginning of Juki Iida article's translation; the whole translation at link below the excerpt.  The captions under the pictures of the Garden how it looks today, are taken from the Juki Iida's 1974 article.
• • • 
Next week:  look for the article by Koichi Kobayashi on the 'Welcome Rock by Dick Yamasaki' (the stone arrangement in the area between the current south entrance gate and WPA vintage stone bridge, which was not completed by the end of the initial garden construction).

SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] We pruned most of the lower branches of some trees located in the path of view lines. Of course, I had to admit that our work looked pretty strange, however, it was done with the future in mind. Fortunately we obtained spruce and yew trees seven-to-eight-feet high so we could plant them from the base of the waterfall up the hill around the jūsansō-tō, thirteen-story pagoda.[…]


ABOUT THE JAPANESE GARDEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON By Jūki Iida
Shizue Prochaska and Julie E. Coryell, translators, 2015.
[Note: translators added information within brackets for clarity].


Gai Yō, Introduction
This garden was constructed thirteen years ago between 1959 and 1960. I learned that
the University of Washington made the initial request to build a garden. Consul General Yoshiharu Takeno in Seattle contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which in turn, conveyed the request to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
When I was asked to assist in this project, two points struck me. First, how could rocks, plants, and other materials for a large-scale Japanese garden be obtained outside of Japan? Second, how could people of European descent and second-generation gardeners [of Japanese descent] build such a garden? Never having experienced such a project and thinking it could be a great opportunity to learn, I was happy to undertake the work.


SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] The pond covers 850 tsubo [about 1.5 acres]. The plan is a stroll garden in “somewhat Momoyama style.” Where the creek enters the pond, large sawa tobi ishi, marsh stepping-stones connect the shores. A yukimi-tōrō, snow-viewing stone lantern stands nearby.[…]’



Sekkei, Planning
With the leadership of [master landscape designer Sensei] Kiyoshi Inoshita, the design team included [Tokyo Metropolitan Park Department Director] Tatsuo Moriwaki, [Tokyo Metropolitan Park Department Engineer] Nobumasa Kitamura, Messrs. [Shoshi] Iwao Ishikawa, Naotomo Ueno, Chikara Itō, and myself. The year before [in 1958] discussion of building a Japanese garden in Seattle started around the time Park Director Moriwaki visited the United States and viewed the site personally. Using his firsthand report and photographs and other materials sent to us from Seattle, we formed the basic plan.


Genchi Chōsa, Site Research
In the autumn of 1959, I traveled to America to check the initial plan for the proposed garden site and to explore the availability of rocks, trees, shrubs, and other materials. The day after my arrival, I attended a meeting of the Arboretum Foundation members with the Acting Consul General and [Cultural Affairs liaison James] Fukuda. There I explained the plan in detail. Everyone present appeared to be satisfied with the design. I was told that the garden was planned to be built for the centennial celebration of the Japan-

America treaty [1858] but was delayed for various reasons. The Arboretum Foundation members left matters in my hands to build an authentic Japanese garden “not to be found” outside Japan. 


SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] A yatsuhashi, zigzag bridge and a dobashi, earthen bridge link the middle island to the shores.[…]’


Zōen Shikichi , Garden Site
The garden site covers about 6,000 plus tsubo [actually three and a half acres], stretching north to south fronting a public road to the east. It faces slopes of zōkibayashi, woodlands, to the northwest and south. There is a numasawachi, marsh, at the bottom of the slopes. I found the site ideal for building a Japanese garden and not likely to require extensive revision of the design. There is already a teahouse donated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the south side of a small hill. [...]

The whole article  (+ a dictionary of Japanese terms used in the article) here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9dTvsGBY3zjaE9xTHdVeEktUlU/view?usp=sharing

SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] To create the atmosphere of a harbor town and boat landing, between the foot of the north slope and the pond we used sandstone pavers measuring two by seven-feet, and to represent a lighthouse, we placed an omokage-gata tōrō, face-style or reflection lantern. To protect the foot of the slope we created a seven-foot high rock wall and planted a chain of small shrubs on top of the wall. […]’


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This May: Invitation to the most memorable tour to Kyoto and Kansai, Japan


We are currently finalizing a group tour (Max. ten)  to Kansai Region of Japan. This tour will concentrate on gardens, architecture and townscape of  Kyoto, Nara and Takayama of Japan starting on May 13 for 12 days.

Special feature of this tour is to follow a number of gardens illustrated by Yuri Ugaya in her just published book, “ Splendid Gardens in Kyoto”. She once studied with me when I was a visiting professor at Awaji Landscape and Horticulture Academy of  Hyogo University.

-- 
Koichi Kobayashi

小林 竑一 

Visiting Research Fellow
Hyogo University, Japan

Kobayashi Global, Seattle, WA. USA


The link below will take you to 5-page detailed schedule of the trip, features, pictures of potential places to visit, cost and contact: