Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 弥生 Kusama Yayoi

photos by Tony
SAM • 8/14/17 - Yayoi Kusama in her own words (recorded interview is a part of 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!! At SAM till September 10th, 2017 - with the wildly popular exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors.  New hours and new tickets available for everyone who wishes to see her artwork - check SAM's website.

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

PRESS RELEASE
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.



Friday, July 14, 2017

Our granddaughters

by aleks
Sophie and Ellie, docent Lynnda L.'s and my granddaughters, meet every summer  in the Seattle Japanese garden - we created a tradition for the girls to visit each other while exploring the garden.  This year Lynnda created a book for Sophie, memorizing several years of those visits -  the girls looked at the book while having an after tour snack.


SJG • 7/5/17 -Sophie, her little brother Nick and Ellie feed the koi

SJG • 7/5/17 -Ellie reading Sophie's book about their Garden visits

SJG • 7/5/17 - the annual 'bridge' picture - this year fantastically bombed by our  Master Gardener, Pete Putnicki :)



For the Lynnda's entire adorable book for Sophie go here (sorry, some pages copied upside down - don't know how to fix it, but you can still read them!)


P.S. I'll post links to posts about their previous Garden visits later tonight.

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 5th, noon: BOOK CLUB: Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata

by aleks
SJG - 5/31/17 - Miriam, our Gardener, sheering the azaleas

Our Book Club meets this Wednesday at noon at TCR to discuss ''Thousand Cranes' (千羽鶴 Senbazuru, 1952), by Nobel Prize laureate Yasunari Kawabata and translated by Edward G. Seidensticker.

From wikipedia: [...] Set in a post World War II Japan, the protagonist, Kikuji, has been orphaned by the death of his mother and father. He becomes involved with one of the former mistresses of his father, Mrs. Ota, who commits suicide seemingly for the shame she associates with the affair. After Mrs. Ota's death, Kikuji then transfers much of his love and grief over Mrs Ota's death to her daughter, Fumiko. [...]

I agree with this thought from a review posted on 'Japanese Literature Book Group': [...] The novels by Kawabata, more than any of the other Japanese classics I’ve read, really make me regret the fact that I can’t read in Japanese. His writing is just so sparse and poetic. Although the translation does a good job at trying to portray the artistry behind the words, it simply must be more beautiful and meaningful in the original Japanese. I’ve heard Kawabata’s writing described as brush strokes, like writing haiku in traditional Japanese calligraphy, and I think that is a very apt description. [...]

Here a picture and about Shino ware (water jar), featured in the book...

From M.A.Orthofer, 20 January 2013 Review of the book: [...] An effective story of deep emotion and suffocatingly binding personal ties (that still exert a hold even after death), Thousand Cranes is uncomfortably but powerfully understated -- with the slightly stilted feel of the translation working quite well as well here. Presented like the smooth surface of a body of water, the roiling underneath is suggested but barely shown, leaving much for the reader to read into the text, as Kawabata presents a surprisingly deep, layered, and disturbing story in such a short space and with such simple brushstrokes. [...]

As much as I enjoyed the book and particularly the topic of Japan in 1950s being a transient state between cultural practices of the past and beginning to adopt western cultural and social customs, the words from the above review by Orthofer struck me as reflecting my own reading experience of this masterpiece: suffocating, uncomfortable and disturbing - but obviously that was the author's intent, so not unhappy about getting into his head for this reading journey :)...

If you are an over-thinker, and like to analyze everything in depth, this Eslkevin's Blog post titled 'THOUSAND CRANES, BEAUTY, WAR, WARES and SUICIDES' will be really up your ally - i know I appreciated every thought in it.  {About eslkevin: I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.}.

So, book lovers: see you Wednesday at noon at TCR!

SJG - 5/31/17 - blooming irises


Monday, June 19, 2017

Saving Legacy of Seko Garden in Bellevue, WA.

by Koichi Kobayashi   
小林 竑一

Visiting Research Fellow
University of Hyogo, Japan

(Draft June 19, 2017)


 Japanese Gardens have been stages historically for illustrating Japanese art and culture at many places around the world.  The Japanese garden at Seko residence on the shore of the Phantom Lake in the City of Bellevue is no exception, however being held in private ownership.  The garden has held a number of community events and it has been an important asset for Japanese American community and for the citizens of the city of Bellevue overtime.



 Kaichi Seko born in 1896 in Japan and immigrated to the USA in 1920 ? started building his residence and garden shortly after his release from the Japanese Internment Cap at Minidoka, Idaho in late 1950s. A number of Japanese gardens were built in the camp.
Kaichi must have seen or being associated with a number of Japanese gardens created in the camp, guided by such gardener as Fujitaro Kubota, who designed and constructed Kubota Japanese garden in Seattle.

The Seko garden in Bellevue had been designed and constructed primarily by Kaichi and his son, Roy, who initially wanted to be a landscape architect before joining his father in opening and managing Bush Garden Restaurant in Seattle.

Their garden works had been assisted by Richard Yamasaki, who gained his knowledge on Japanese garden through his life long association with Juki Iida, who is  one of the designer of the Seattle Japanese Garden at UW Arboretum. Upon visiting the Seko garden, Juki Iida stated to Joan Seko, wife of Roy, that he sees three personalities in the garden: that of  Kaichi, Roy and Richard Yamasaki.


Joan Seko wrote her memory on the garden as “Kaichi Seko’s bonsai plants were already twenty to thirty years old when they were planted. The large alpine tree was bought to the house probably around 1965. It was still quite small but has grown to be very tall. It is very hardy and has withstood many snow storms and icy weather.The waterfall pump was installed in in 1980’s as well as the low voltage night lighting. The pump water is from Phantom Lake and recycles back into the lake when used. Even during the water shortage times we were able to use the waterfall since it was not using City of Bellevue water. The carps were put into the pond nearest the house in the early 1960’s. They grew to be around three foot long. We had a wire net over the pond to keep the wild animals away until they grew to be very large. In 2002 my children gave us small carps to put into the pond but they quickly died without any rhyme or reason. Maybe there wasn’t enough oxygen available. We have many water lilies and cattails. People fishing could get twenty fish in one hour with no problems. Phantom Lake is a private lake owned by people who have shoreline properties. The county made it into a public lake when they wanted to put trout into it. When the lake had public access we had many people come in with boats and tossing beer cans and bottles into the lake instead of disposing of them. The owners were up in arms and signed petitions and finally got the lake back as being private. The shoreline property owners pay taxes for partial lake bottom ownership. The county also comes in each year to make certain the shoreline owners get rid of the purple strife flowering plants that has been brought in from Europe. Although very pretty it is detrimental to our waterline and spreads its seeds quickly. We get a notice each year to remove the roots so they will not come back readily. [...]

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