Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year in Japan

by aleks

First of all - reposting link to Hiroko's (our own SJG docent) childhood memories of New Year in Japan...

+ Another fragment of a holiday article from Billy Hammond, from his TanuTech webpage - again be sure to note his extensive index of Japan related information when you click the link to the rest of the article...

Also fragment of the Japanese New Year description from -  you will see pictures of  traditional shogatsu dishes when you click link below article....

Memories of New Year  
by Hiroko:

New Year was the biggest event of the year in my family. I literally counted days until the morning of the New Year. Whole family contributed preparing for the coming of the New Year, and that is the reason why it was engraved deeply in my mind.

Cleaning up the whole house took place a couple of weeks before the New Year. My father was the general of the operations, even he did not touch a thing on other days during the year. All the tatami mats were lifted, and shoji papers were changed. I was in charge of cleaning my family’s temple and shrine. This was a good chance for me to reacquaint with my ancestors by polishing their ihai, Buddhist memorial tablets which are black wooden lacquer tablet with his or her posthumous Buddhist name inscribed in gold in the front, and secular name, the date of death, and the age at death on the back.

New Year's in Japan

By Billy Hammond

The Japanese celebrate the New Year in a big way. The official New Year falls on January 1st, however, in actuality the season itself runs from the 31st of December through the 3rd of January.

Preparation for the New Year begins during the middle of December, with people preparing New Year's postcards usually purchased from the Japanese Postal Service known as nengajo. These cards are sent to business clients and aquaintances, friends, and family members. Those destined for businesses are usually printed commercially at a print shop while those sent to family and friends tend to be handmade. For people with large mailing lists, though, the trend is to have all the cards prepared commercially.

The nengajo often have caricatures of the animal representing the coming year on them, together with a standard New Year greeting. The person sending the card will usually add a brief, handwritten message to the back of the card to express his or her thanks for the assistance received during the past year with wishes for continued support in the new year. Cards are not sent to people who have had a relative pass away during the old year. People who have suffered the loss of a loved one during the year send out postcards asking that they not be sent nengajo beforehand, so a list is usually kept of who to send and who not to send cards to.
The rest of the article here....

• • • • • 

New Year 

New Year (shogatsu or oshogatsu) is the most important holiday in Japan. Most businesses shut down from January 1 to January 3, and families typically gather to spend the days together.

Years are traditionally viewed as completely separate, with each new year providing a fresh start. Consequently, all duties are supposed to be completed by the end of the year, while bonenkai parties ("year forgetting parties") are held with the purpose of leaving the old year's worries and troubles behind.

Homes and entrance gates are decorated with ornaments made of pine, bamboo and plum trees, and clothes and houses are cleaned.  On New Year's eve, toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), symbolizing longevity, are served. A more recent custom is watching the music show "kohaku uta gassen", a highly popular television program featuring many of Japan's most famous J-pop and enka singers in spectacular performances.
The rest of the article here...

New Year in Tokyo

I wish you will have a good new year. 
Yoi otoshi o omukae kudasai. (formal) 
Yoi otoshi o! (casual) 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Japan

by aleks
Our November continuing education meeting for the SJG docents was about Japanese Holidays and Festivals (see post from November 9, 2011) - being so close to Christmas date it sparked my curiosity about how is Christmas celebrated in Japan.

Internet is a wondrous invention: with a few keystrokes I came across many interesting descriptions of Christmas celebrations  in Japan; below is one that really grabbed my attention - it comes from TanuTech webpage -  a translation, software localization and publishing company, located in Kawachinagano City, Osaka, Japan.  When you click a link to this webpage, please note that besides this article the website  has an interesting index of Japan related information from Japanese holidays, through Japanese recipes, information on Japanese castles, use and misuse of Japanese language, and more - all written by Billy Hammond, who has lived in Japan for more that two decades.

Christmas in Japan

By: Billy Hammond

Christmas in Japan is quite different from the Chrismas celebrated in most countries in which the population has a large percentage of Christians or a Christian heritage. Only 1/2 of 1% of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, with the majority of Japanese being tolerant of all faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto, etc. In spite of this, the Japanese are great lovers of festivals and celebrations, including Christmas.

December 25th is not a national holiday in Japan, although December 23rd, which is the birthdate of the present emperor, is. Although it is not an official holiday the Japanese tend to celebrate Christmas, especially in a commercial way. The Japanese celebrate Christmas Eve by eating a 'Christmas Cake' which the father of the family purchases on his way home from work (or his wife does in the case where he has to work on Christmas Eve). Stores all over carry versions of this Christmas cake and drop the price of it drastically on December 25th in order to sell everything out by the 26th. This has resulted in a rather interesting expression in which young girls are referred to as a 'Christmas cakes': marriageable until their 25th birthday and requiring heavy discounts to get married after their 25th birthdays.

In recent years, thanks to the marketing prowess of the folks at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Christmas Chicken Dinner has become quite popular. Many Japanese even make reservations for their "Christmas Chicken" ahead of time. People line up at their outlets to pick up their orders. As a result of KFC's brilliant advertising campaign, most Japanese now believe that Westerners celebrate Christmas with a chicken dinner instead of the more common ham or turkey.

Christmas Eve has been hyped by the T.V. media as being a time for romantic miracles. It is seen as a time to be spent with one's boyfriend or girlfriend in a romantic setting, so fancy restaurants and hotels are often booked solid at this time. It is often also a time when girls get to reveal their affections to boys and vice versa. Because of this, extending a girl an invitation to be together on Christmas Eve has very deep, romantic implications.
The rest of the article here...
• • • • •

Wonder how do you say 'Merry Christmas' in Japanese? This Japanese Language  has detailed instructions, including pronunciation - if you stay on that page too long, like I did,  you will also find out how to sing the  Rudolf Song in Japanese or get to the Japanese song/animation about Santa Claus (included below) - that webpage is full of holiday fun, so enjoy... :)

Merii Kurisumasu!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NYC uses Haiku to bring Poetry to the Streets

by Lynnda
with added 12/22 P.S. from aleks

What a surprise to stumble upon a story about New York City and the use of haiku to provide traffic safety reminders.  This article was aired on December 3, 2011 on NPR's Weekend Edition.  Each haiku is accompanied by boldly colored graphics to illustrate the potential problems of inattention to the warnings. 

Artist John Morse designed 12 signs for display around the five boroughs.  Here are three of the signs.  To see the full story, and see all of the signs, follow this link: haiku in NYC

    John Morse/NYC DOT
"One of the joys of doing this sort of thing is how many people have responded to it with their own haiku," Morse says. "There's just a plethora of haiku coming out. It's so exciting."

Haiku is traditionally thought of as Japanese poetry that involves imagery of nature and how that is experienced by the poet.  The standard haiku has three lines and a total of 17 syllables, usually in a 5-7-5 rhythm.

If you feel creative, write your own haiku and leave it as a comment!
P.S. from aleks:  Metro Transit Seattle had a long lasting (1992-2007) public art project 'Poetry on Buses', which started with haiku form, I believe, then moved into more free form.  Here are links to:
 • Seattle Weekly 2007 article about 'Poetry on Buses'  by Rachel Shimp
King County Metro Transit archive of 'Poetry on Buses'  1997-2007 - enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

LUMINOUS - the Art of Asia at SAM

Website for this image: Poem Scroll with a Deer

by aleks
'LUMINOUS • The Art of Asia'  exhibition at Seattle Art Museum will be displayed till January 8th, 2012  - make sure you see it, as it is quite extraordinary.  It showcases the jewels of SAM’s Asian collections, from Chinese bronzes and Japanese lacquers to Korean ceramics and South Asian sculpture and painting;  but the collection itself is not what drew me in:  how many more vases, scrolls and kimonos one can see in a lifetime -  it is the way it is presented which makes it all very special.

This particular exhibit is all about context - something usually very missing  in museums and  easily making me leave the place when I'm sufficiently dazzled and overwhelmed, but not necessarily wiser.

Artist Do Ho Suh, who put it together, was exceptionally mindful about that very aspect - seeing his way  of arranging material  is a super-satisfying experience and easily incorporated into what one already knows: by learning how objects circled the globe, lost and gained value depending on surroundings, their original meaning (usually sacral) as opposed to current meaning  (esthetic).

I was particularly touched by a story and exhibit of 'Poem Scroll with a deer' - it turns out that SAM owned the second half of a 72' scroll like forever, but it wasn't until last year's scroll's visit to japan, that it was reunited with the first half, that was in pieces and dispersed among public and private collections there!  here is the scroll and the story:

Website for this image: The literature Network Forums

I like to visit exhibitions twice: once with a guide and once by myself (not necessarily in that order)  - this one I'd like to visit many, many times.

Here is more info on the exhibition:

Luminous: The Art of Asia
October 13, 2011–January 8, 2012
SAM Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

Wednesday–Sunday: 10 am–5 pm
Thursday & Friday: 10 am–9 pm
Monday & Tuesday: closed

Free Days:
All free day programs include access to special exhibitions as well as all SAM collections and installations. Exceptions may apply to special exhibits that carry a surcharge.
First Thursdays: Free to all
First Friday: Free to seniors (age 62+)
Second Fridays, 5–9 pm: Free to teens (ages 13–19) with ID

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nobuko, our fellow SJG guide and friend honored

On edit: 12/3/11 - ooops, only now found and posted text that MAC attached (in blue ink below)
Mary Ann C. (MAC here, on this blog) forwarded this info to me to post:

December 2011 - pic by MAC

I was at the Wing Luke Asian Museum Tuesday night when Nobuko was presented with her Denny Award by the Seattle Parks and Recreation.  It was a festive night with one of our own being very deservedly honored. I've attached the comments made about Nobuko and a couple of pictures for the blog.  This is the last time I ask you to post this for me!  I'll either have to learn or not post again in the future:

Congratulations to Nobuko, who was the recipient of the Seattle Parks and Recreation's Denny Award for “Best New Resource”.  The Denny Award began in 2003 to recognize “outstanding volunteer sterwardship.”  This award was presented to Nobuko at the Awards Ceremony, held at the Wing Luke Asian Museum on Tuesday night (29th).  Laurie (JGAC member) introduced her, outlining the ways that Nobuko has contributed to the Japanese Garden:  “Nobuko has been a member of the Japanese Garden Advisory Council for 3 years, and has worked very hard to reach out to the Japanese and Japanese-American community in Seattle on behalf of the Japanese Garden.  She has taken on the leadership of the committee focused on a new fundraising event – the Garden Party.  

The first party was held in 2010, as a way to recognize the sponsors of the Garden's 50th Anniversary.  Nobuko solicited the majority of the $10,000 raised from these sponsors.  This year, she again led the planning committee for the Garden Party, which succeeded in raising $14,000. Using her connections to the travel industry, Nobuko secured two first class domestic airline tickets for the raffle drawing held at the party.  The local United Ailines representative was so impressed with Nobuko's work that he has verbally committed to providing two business class tickets to Japan as a fundraising prize for next year's Garden Party.  She is also a member of Unit 86, giving guided tours of the Garden, and is involved with the Japan-American Society.  In all of her activities, Nobuko works with people from a variety of organizations and has gained the respect of these groups.  The Garden has benefited from this, by being able to expand its reach throughout the greater Seattle community.”  In her acceptance speech, Nobuko very graciously acknowledged the team effort that has contributed to the successes achieved these past two years.   

December 2011- pic by MAC

Oh, do  learn blogging, Mary Ann - you have so much to contribute, please use me to find out more!
AND SUPER Congratulations. Nobuko!  from all of us at the Seattle Japanese Garden!

- about Denny's award here
- more about about Nobuko's award  here

We love you, Nobuko!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lecture on Chinese Garden Design - Wed. November 30

June 2011 - members of Unit 86 visiting Seattle Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden Design & Lore

Inaugural Lecture in New Pacific Connections Series

The Arboretum Foundation and UW Botanic Gardens invite you to join us for a free lecture about Chinese gardens on Wednesday, November 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Graham Visitors Center. The talk is entitled "Chinese Garden Design & Lore" and will be presented by garden writer andWashington Park Arboretum Bulletin editor Jan Whitner.

The lecture is the first in the Pacific Connections Series, an enrichment activity program that we are offering to our new Pacific Connections Garden Stewards.

To mark the kick-off of the series, we are opening up the first lecture to all our members, volunteers, and friends. Space is limited (only 25 seats are available), so RSVP soon to reserve your spot.

Please RSVP to Rhonda Bush by email or phone (206-941-2550).

P.S. from aleks - related links for your pre-lecture enjoyment:

• Chinese and Japanese Gardens  – By Paul Hicks – snip: [...] The great influence of China on the evolution of Japanese gardening is particularly interesting given the many physical, cultural and historical differences between the two lands. A good way to learn about the art of the classical Chinese garden is to visit the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden on Staten Island. [...]

• Thoughts and notes from a lecture by Mark Bourne at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco - snip: [...] The cultural differences are substantial between Japanese and Western gardens, and even between Chinese and Japanese gardens. The idea of Chinese gardens is something that you walk through, like a strolling garden. For this reason, Chinese and Western gardens have more in common with each other than with Japanese gardens. [...]

Lynnda's post about Seattle Chinese Garden on this blog - snip: [...] Chinese architecture has aspects that are meant to thwart evil spirits. The sweeping tips of the roof are to keep airborn evil spirits from coming to earth. Once the spirits flow onto the roof, they are directed up again by the upward curve of the roof. [...]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Japanese Holidays & Festivals

by aleks

Last Saturday a team of our own docents treated us all to a delightful and delicious presentation about the nature of Japanese Holidays and Festivals from Tsukimi (Moon Viewing Festival), through Bunka-no-hi (Culture Day), Gantan (New Year's day), Kodomono-hi (Children's Day), Tanabata ('Evening of the 7th' or Star Festival) to Obon (Holiday commemorating one's ancestors).  Perhaps one day Keiko will write a detailed post about those holidays, below just a few impressions from a grateful attendee of the presentation.

Tateuchi Community Room • 11/5/11  - Continuing Education meeting:
Keiko running PPP on Japanese Holidays and Festivals

Keiko run an overview of all holidays via  power point presentation, while Shizue stepped in here and there,  to demonstrate hands-on examples of games played, dolls and cards used by children and adults during different festivities. Sue did a sub-presentation on '3 friends of winter' (pine, bamboo and plum) and their role in holiday spirit and decorations, including an example of a gate maker kodamatsu and pictures of dishes used where (one so inclined) could find the three friends among other depicted images - all fun and games.

Obon: Chiba, Japan. 2011

We were also treated to a reading of Hiroko's personal memories of celebrating New Year as a child in Japan - her taking the time to record it made us all feeling much closer to a 'real thing' than any official documentary on the topic would do (link to Hiroko's memories below).

TCR • 11/5/11- Learning about hagoita, for a game of hanetsuki.

It was a very lively continuing education meeting, filled with many questions, laughter and sharing - of the many hands-on articles I personally had fun with the English version of 'One hundred poems from the Japanese', translated by Kenneth Roxtroth.  This venerable looking volume, filled with poems as old as 7th century, surprised me with the intensity and sensibility of those short verses;  I instantly wanted to engross myself in the collection of quite often powerful poems, but with wondrous happenings around me in real life I had to postpone it for a future trip to library.

Here a a few offerings from the volume + more on Rexroth archive webpage:

I have always known 
That at last I would 
Take this road, but yesterday 
I did not know that it would be today.
- NARIHIRA (9th century)

That spring night I spent 
Pillowed on your arm 
Never really happened 
Except in a dream. 
Unfortunately I am 
Talked about anyway.
- LADY SUWO (11th-12th century)

TCR • 11/5/11 - Delicious Japanese food Shizue-san kindly shared with us

The meeting ended with food offering: Shizue brought a dazzling variety of Japanese food - a rice dish called chirashi-zushi, daikon and carrot salad Namasu, tofu, beans and different veggies, all neatly packed in traditional  stackable lacquered boxes, while Keiko prepared and presented in a crock-pot amazing amazake  - warm and sweet fermented rice wine with close to zero alcohol content - I found a recipe here, but it looks very involved, perhaps Keiko can share her own recipe. After many years of having cold amazake (PCC co-op sells it  in refrigerator section), I learned  that it's supposed to be served warm, and it was way more delicious that way.   And certainly cold amazake is not as bad as cold pierogis: once in the past I designed a Polish-style dinner, which was prepared without my supervision in someone else's house  +  my instruction were probably not clear, because later I was told that the appetizer was particularly gross: the poor pierogi dumplings were served cold before dinner, instead of being a main hot entry.

THANK YOU! our Continuing Education Committee  and the last Saturday Presenters for this truly memorable teachings - we are lucky to have such an interesting group of people working as a TEAM to educate the rest of us.

•  Link to the lecture's  handout containing a list of all holidays
•  Link to Hiroko's memories of her childhood New Years celebrations in Japan

Below some additional outstanding links courtesy of Keiko-san, who helped me tremendously in researching this little report by patiently providing her time and expertise, sharing many explanations, web-resources, Obon photograph,  as well as a lively discussion on the art of translating Japanese poetry... Thank you, Keiko-san for all the assistance and enjoyment you gifted me with and that went into making this post!

• MacCauley's translation of Hyakunin-isshu from University of Virginia Library
• Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs (1867) by J. M. W. Silver. (The Project Gutenberg eBook)
• Japanese Irises by the Japan Iris Society
• Free desktop wallpaper (shichi-go-san)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumn in Seattle Japanese Garden

by aleks
Click on the pics to see them larger
For those of you who can't come and see it in person.

SJG • 11/1/11

SJG • 10/27/11

SJG • 10/27/11

SJG • 11/1/111

SJG • 10/27/11

SJG • 11/1/11

SJG • 11/1/11

SJG • 11/1/11

SJG • 11/1/11

Yasuo Kuwahara - 'The Song of the Japanese Autumn' 
performed by HET CONSORT - Part I: 

前人の植えた樹 (Zennin no ueta ki)  
You benefit from predecessors' hardships (lit. Trees planed by predecessors)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Maple Fest stars - part 2

by aleks
11/6/11 Edit: added 4 new pics to illustrate Nikko and Omato maples color progress
Click on the pics to see them larger

Here are the remaining maples which were marked by name for the Maple Fest Oct. 16, and are still performing their magic tricks, while awaiting your visit.

8.) Acer palmatum 'Yatsubusa' - dwarf leaf maple:
Native of Japan, it sits on the right side of the entrance path, right before paperbark maple and it has  exceptionally small and dainty leaves.   I googled it to see for fall color patterns, only to be dazzled by too many varieties:  mikawa yatsubusa, kiyohime yatsubusa (ground cover type), kashima yatsubusa, shishi yatsubusa....  I think I felt a bit better before getting a glimpse of the depth of my ignorance; well  - most of them get orange-red leaves in autumn and some get red tips or edges, but ours is still firmly green.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Yatsubusa' - dwarf leaf maple, it's the green
tree in the center, between bench and pine, Area  C
SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Yatsubusa' - dwarf leaf maple, tiny leaves

9.) Acer sieboldianum - Siebold maple:
Never really noticed much this modest maple, which sits in out of the way, between the paths place, in area F.   But now it is, ah, so strikingly beautiful, leaning over the water in her autumn brilliant orange and red regalia... It's native to the mountains of Japan.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer sieboldianum - Siebold maple, Area F
SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer sieboldianum - Siebold maple, leaves

10.) Acer nikoense - Nikko maple:
We had really hard time to find it:  Sue - the Master Gardener and 3 of us, guides,  walked along the service road several times back and forth trying to locate it, to no avail...  We finally discovered it on the edge of the orchard - fortunately it had the official green Park label attached, so we were sure it was IT.

Originally we were under-impressed  - another maple not looking like a Japanese maple at all, just a big, green tree -  but the next day Sue mentioned that she and Patty read up on it, and that once in fall color it is supposed to be spectacular - so we will all look forward to it.  Also Keiko emailed that she didn't recognize it because it wasn't looking like magnificent Nikko maples she saw in Japan, and only later she remembered Kathleen Smith's maple lecture/tour some years ago and stopping by this particular tree,  even making a drawing of its branches then. Apparently wait and see attitude is needed, before we are gifted with what this native of China and Japan does in autumn while living in the Pacific Northwest climate.  I'll try to photograph it some more, as the fall progresses...

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer nikoense - Nikko maple,  the green tall one in the middle,
between orange tree on the left and smaller orchard tree on the right, Area ZZW

SJG • 11/1/11 - The same Acer nikoense - Nikko maple, 2 weeks later;
Now redder, but even though the acer Japonicum on the left stopped its blaze,
the Nikko maple does  not look  the happiest in our Garden

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer nikoense - Nikko maple, tri-foliate leaves which turn
pinkish-red-purple in fall and separate as they fall;
found a branch that is slowly turning
SJG • 11/1/11 - Acer nikoense - Nikko maple, tri-foliate leaves 2 weeks later

11.) Acer palmatum 'Samidare' - Japanese maple:
This native of Japan resides next to the zigzag bridge and, like most maples this year,  is late turing - last year it was bright red for the Maple Fest and I remember clicking lots of pics of it (one small sits on the top left column of this blog). Its leaf has seven lobes and branches turn different shades of orange, red and purple in autumn.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Samidare' - Japanese maple, Area Q
SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Samidare' - Japanese maple, leaves

12.) Acer Palmatum 'Omato' - Japanese maple:
Located between wisteria trellis and the East fence, 7 lobes Omato has leaves that in spring are bright red, turn to green in the summer and then turn deep red again in the late autumn.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer Palmatum 'Omato' - Japanese maple, Area K
SJG • 11/1/11 - The same Acer Palmatum 'Omato' - Japanese maple,
2 weeks later getting crimson red again

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer Palmatum 'Omato' - Japanese maple, leaves
SJG • 11/1/11 - Acer Palmatum 'Omato' - Japanese maple, leaves, 2 weeks later

13.) Acer palmatum 'shishigashira' - Lion's mane maple: 
Sometimes referred to as 'Lion's Head Maple', it holds its foliage in interesting tufts. Native of Japan, Shishigashira lives on the mountain path leading to the North Hill, above the village.  Its densely packed small leaves have 7 lobes, and it is usually one of the last to flaunt its golden orange and crimson tones in autumn.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'shishigashira' - Lion's mane maple
Center left in the pic - holds its foliage along the branches in bundles,
giving it bold architectural appeal; Area N.
SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'shishigashira' - Lion's mane maple 

14.) Acer circinatum - vine maple:
Ooops, or what is left of it this year - this native to NW US already turned and adjourned :( - will ask the Gardeners if it's normal and look for the others, as there are 6 vine maples in the Garden...

Wiki entry says  that it grows from southwest British Columbia to northern California, always within 300 km of the Pacific Ocean coast.  The enigmatic description provided for the Maple Fest reads: 'Leaves have 5-11 lobes and can turn brilliant orange red'.  CAN? Meaning might not or do something else? Oh, well, missed whatever it did, but found some leaves on the ground still.

SJG - 10/19/11 - Acer circinatum - vine maple; already turned and adjourned, Area Y
SJG - 10/19/11 - Acer circinatum - vine maple, leaf (on the ground the tree bare)

15. Acer palmatum 'Shigitatsusawa':
Sometimes spelled 'Shigitatsu Sawa', this maple grows in the shaded area (it doesn't like intense sun) along the service road on the West side of the Garden. It has reticulated leaves (which appear variegated due to the contrast created between leaf surface and the prominent leaf veins) with 7-9 lobes, pale green in spring changing to a medium green in summer with a less defined vein. Fall color is golden yellow with a contrasting vein.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Shigitatsusawa', Area ZZW

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Shigitatsusawa',  leaves

16. Acer griseum - Paper-bark maple:
Almost forgot you, dear paper-bark maple, because your fascinating peeling bark is pointed to all year round - walked right past and had to go back to get a pic...

Our paper-bark maple sits close to the entrance of the Garden, in area C - it's a tall, mature tree, with leaves not resembling typical maple, and too high in the sky for my camera to capture them.

SJG • 10/27/11 - Acer griseum - Paper-bark maple,  peeling bark trunk 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

About all those interesting Japanese names of the maples - hopefully, it'll be in the next post.  Keiko, are you ready?  Fascinating what you said that 'Shigitatsusawa' means 'shigi bird standing near the water' (if I recall correctly this beautiful image), and that shigi is something between egret and tashigi, a rice field shigi?     I'll email you the list of maple names soon, and possibly we can start from there -  can't wait for this linguistic adventure.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Maple Fest stars - part 1

by aleks
11/6/11 Edit:  added a few pics to show how the fall maple color progressed
(click on the pics to see them large)

Last week I went to the Garden and recorded all the displayed maples to share with the world,   and here they are:

SJG • 10/19/11 Koto-no-ito
1.) Acer palmatum 'Koto-no-ito'.  There is one before the entrance to the Garden and a few more inside; depending on amount of light they receive and probably something (scientifically) else, they are getting into their autumnal dresses at different speed.

The one in the pic on the left, as well as the one on the East path  of the Garden are still rather completely green.  The one on the West path, close to the moon-viewing platform is quite orange and red.  Koto-no-itos reside in areas A, F and V.

And here is the colorful one and its leaves:
SJG • 10/19/11 - Koto-no-ito

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum Koto-no-ito leaves

2.) Acer palmatum 'Inazuma' - Keiko informed me that Inazuma means 'lightning' in Japanese  (soon  Keiko and I will write a communal post about certain maples and their names):

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer Palmatum 'Inazuma' near the entrance gate.
It's the biggest brown mass, right  above  a small something in the foreground
(I should have asked Tony to take the pics:( )

SJG • 11/1/11 - The same Acer Palmatum 'Inazuma' 2 weeks later; the small
'something'  in the foreground turned out acer palmatum dissectum,
here already in nearly bye-bye stage.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer Palmatum 'Inazuma'  leaves

3.)  Acer palmatum 'Sango-Kaku', Japanese coral bark maple:

It also lives near the Garden entrance, a few steps north  of Inazuma.  You may not notice it immediately, because it sits closer to the fence than the path.
SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Sango-Kaku', Japanese coral bark maple;
it the one non-green color in the pic, towards the fence, Area C
SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum 'Sango-Kaku', Japanese coral bark maple;
bark and leaves

4.) Acer palmatum dissectum, Japanese lace leaf maple:

There is one in areas B, C and Y.  I never noticed the one in Y, but the ones in B and C usually are mentioned right at the beginning of the tours, because they are both close to the entrance and both about 100 years old - these specimens grow very slow, so they were already quite mature when set in the Garden 50 years ago - now one of the crown  jewels.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum dissectum, Japanese lace leaf maple:
Yes, I can see why labels are un-Japanese - while they help us identify the tree, they
ARE quite unsightly - that ugly white strip just offends  the eye...  

SJG • 11/1/11 - The same Acer palmatum dissectum, Japanese lace leaf maple.
2 weeks later, now in true fall color
When recently looking for haiku about autumn leaves I learned that the phrase  'red leaves' usually denote the summer, not autumn; I think it's because many maples native to Japan start with red leaves in summer, later greening, yellowing or doing something totally unexpectedly spectacular.  Such is the case with lace leaf maple, which starts with new red leaves and ends with orange through green periods.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum dissectum, Japanese lace leaf maple

5.) Acer japonicum vitifolium, Japanese full-moon maple:
There are two of them, kind of kiddy corner from each other, not far from the entrance, in the areas C and Z, facing the path from opposite sides.  Actually, only one of maples was marked, so when Keiko asked if the other is a 'full moon' I answered 'no', because at the first glance they didn't even look similar to me: one bright red into almost black on the  edges, the other a variety of vibrant hues of orange, red, yellow and even some green still.  Fortunately Keiko didn't believe me and checked the plant book; surely enough they were both full moon maples, again each doing their own (scientifically =  yeah, you guessed it: I don't know what I'm talking about ) different stuff.

SJG • 10/19/11 - 5.) Acer japonicum vitifolium, Japanese full moon maple.  The one in area Z (on the left) is still changing colors and wears green, orange yellow and red leaves. The one in area C (on the right) is all in red, with leaves already falling to the ground.
SJG • 10/19/11 - 5.) Acer japonicum vitifolium, Japanese full moon maple, leaves. 

6.) Acer capillipes, stripped-bark maple:

When Forest and I went to look for it in area M we couldn't find it, fortunately Marilyn knew where the one in area Z is (several of us, guides, were waiting for a school bus that got stuck on 520-bridge and we were passing the time re-uniting the labels with the maples).  Now it became apparent why we couldn't locate the first one: they look nothing like a typical maple,  and both specimens are quite large trees, with much bigger than many dainty Japanese maples trunks (YES, green stripped)  and leaves you'd probably not guess being maples.

SJG 10/19/11 - Acer capillipes, stripped-bark maple
SJG 10/19/11 - Acer capillipes, stripped-bark maple leaves.  You can see
that the leaves higher up, above the other tree level turned already,
while the leaves on the lower branches are still green.

7.) Acer palmatum "Burgundy Lace', Japanese maple:

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum "Burgundy Lace',
Japanese maple
There are two of them, spreading next to each other in area B, along the path connecting the service road and the main entrance path - they are pretty big, therefore hard to photograph without getting much of other stuff in the pic.  Their crowns form a shady canopy above the path, and you likely only notice them either approaching from the service road or knowing what you are looking for.  In spring their deeply divided leaves are burgundy, becoming bronze in summer and fall.

SJG • 10/19/11 - Acer palmatum "Burgundy Lace', Japanese maple leaves
SJG • 11/1/11 - the same Acer palmatum "Burgundy Lace' 2 weeks later,
now getting redder again

Part 2 of this Maple Fest post coming tomorrow...  Now I'll finish with gratuitous pic of the burning bush, just because it looks stunning:

SJG • 10/19/11 - The burning bush is trained like a tree
above what I think is some sort of azalea