Saturday, December 8, 2012

This coming Monday! NEXT DANCE CINEMA

Short film by our own guide, Joan Laage,  'Kogut Butoh' (see line-up below) is playing in this fest :)

Velocity and Northwest Film Forum pair up to offer dance lovers and film lovers alike insight into how contemporary dance cinema continues to expand the possibilities of the screen.

Next Dance CinemaWhen:  MON DEC 10 / 7PM
Where:  Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave)

TICKETS $10 / $7 student-senior / $6 NWFF member

Velocity once again brings Next Dance Cinema to the Northwest Film Forum screens in the sixth year of this showcase of dance films from Pacific Northwest artists. Next Dance Cinema is part of Velocity’sNEXTNW2012: Real/Time  which includes live dance performances December 7+8+9 (8pm) in Velocity’s Founders Theater.

Michael Langan + Terah Maher (Seattle/SF) – Choros
Adam Sekuler, Daniel Mimura, Shannon Stewart, Rosa Vissers, Aaron Swartzman, David Wolbrecht, Meredith Horiuchi + Jeff Huston (Seattle) – 1922
Alice Gosti (Seattle) – Sea Tac ToiletteRobert Tyree (Portland) – PROTOTYPE: XXXXX
Jacob Rosen + Kate Wallich (Seattle) – Room With Themes
Rob Kitsos (Vancouver) – A Moving
Rodrigo Valenzuela + Molly Sides (Seattle) – Sides
Jacob Rosen + Kate Wallich (Seattle) – Yacht Club
Jenisa Ubben + Sarah Butler (Seattle) – Branches in the Clouds
***Joan Laage (Seattle) + Karolina Bieszczad Stie (Norway) – The Gardener
Katherine Wolf + Lara Paxton (Seattle) – Happiness Machines
Eric Eugene Aguilar (Seattle) – Veil
Jeff Huston (Seattle) – NonLinear.IntheTube


馬鹿は死ななきゃ治らない。 (Baka wa shinanakya naoranai) Literally: Unless an idiot dies, he won't be cured. 
Meaning: Only death will cure a fool. / You can't fix stupid.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seeking Volunteers JG guides

Photo: NSuyenaga

Seeking Volunteers To Become
Would you like to learn about the Japanese Garden and join other talented and dedicated people who share this Seattle treasure with visitors by leading tours?  Your experience need not be in the area of Japanese gardens or horticulture.  The Japanese Garden at Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum has opened applications for training to become a volunteer Tour Guide.   

Photo: NSuyenaga
Training will be held on five consecutive Wednesdays, March 13 through April 10, 2013, from 10 AM to 3PM. Curriculum will include techniques of effective guides, elements of the Japanese Garden, Japanese history and culture, and the history and unique features of the Seattle Japanese Garden. Fee for the training program is $100. The DEADLINE for application is January 18, 2013.

For Details And To Download An Application Visit: 

For questions contact:      

[The training is sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation & Arboretum Foundation]
Photo: NSuyenaga
• • • • 
井の中の蛙大海を知らず。 (I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu) Literally: A frog in a well does not know the great sea. 
Meaning: People are satisfied to judge things by their own narrow experience, never knowing of the wide world outside.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Maple fest

by aleks
SJG • 10/29/12

1-day Maple Fest in SJG took place over two and a half weeks ago, on Sunday October 14, when sixteen most prominent maples were labeled for public viewing with new, elegant tags.  The practice of labeling trees is rather un-Japanese, as the garden is cultural in nature, and tags, if even present, are usually hidden from the view so they don't disturb the experience of being in the Garden.

SJG • 10/29/12 - Yellow leaves of ginco biloba trees provide nice contrast

Only once a year, for educational purposes, when maples are at their autumnal best, they are labeled so the public can learn the names of the stars in the show; it was usually done for one day only, with hand-made paper signs covered with clear plastic, which were taken down at the end of the day.

SJG • 10/29/12 - Japanese maple, acer palmatum 'Omato' starts in spring with bright red leaves, then goes through shades of green and brown in summer, to return into red form in fall.

But the show goes on for quite a while, of course, especially this year, when the trees started to turn rather late.  Schools schedule field-trips for students to learn about foliage, to admire and draw it, and many people keep coming to delight in ever-changing beautiful scenery.

SJG • 10/29/12 - Over 100 years old Acer palmatum dissectum, Japanese lace leaf maple
starting to show off  its magnificent trunk

The decision was made to make green, more in style with the garden signs, which now stay on for enjoyment of people who didn't make it to the Garden on the Maple Fest Day;  they are taken down when the tree losses its leaves; when I visited the Garden last Monday quite a few were still in place - the Garden continues its autumn show and awaits your visit, before it closes for winter on Monday, November 12.

SJG • 10/29/12

Friday, October 26, 2012

Film: 'Shall we Dance' in SJG

by aleks
The 4th and last film in our Japanese film pilot-series will be shown this coming Thursday. We originally scheduled it for 1:30, bur the SJG  closes at 4 pm that day and the movie is 2hrs - just enough time to screen the film and clean the room after ourselves...

Please note, that  we are moving the time of screening half an hour down -  to 1:00 pm, instead of 1:30, so there is enough time left for little socializing afterwords (we will have tea and snacks)

Thursday November 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm in Tateuchi Community Room:   'Shall We Dance?' ( ダンス? Sharu wi Dansu?), 1996, dir. Masayuki Suo. 

A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons.   120 minutes.

Trailer here:

Rotten tomatoes reviews here (tomatometer 91%)

From wikipedia: At the Japanese Academy Awards it won 14 awards: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Film, Best Lighting, Best Music Score, Best Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Newcomer of the Year (in short, every award it was eligible to win)

Hoping to see you there for a couple of hours of shared hilarity!

- Joan K., Aleks M., Shizue P. and Nat S.
(the self-appointed film non-committe of this pilot-project)

• • • • • 

 The Maple Viewing Fest came and went; I took some pics and the post about maples in SJG is coming soon - both here and  the bloom-blog.
SJG * 10/12/2012 - Acer palmatum 'burgundy lace' - maple leaves 

Saturday, October 13, 2012


by Nat S.
Japanese theatrical release poster



in the TATEUCHI ROOM NEXT THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2012 at 1:30pm

The third offering in our pilot series is the highly acclaimed feature film by Director Yasujiro Ozu.  If you haven't seen it but the title sounds familiar, perhaps, it's because in 2012 "Tokyo Story" achieved #1 rank in a Director's Poll and #3 in a Critic's Poll which are conducted by the British Film Institute every ten years.  Join us in seeing the film by the director who took the top spot from Orson Welles.

The film was made in 1953 and takes place in that era. There are no samurai or famous historical figures. Ozu shows us family life and human nature in way that is simple and moving.  The story involves a couple who live in a small seaside town (Onomichi) in southwest Japan and travel by train to see their grown children in Tokyo and Osaka. Only their youngest unmarried daughter lives with them.  To know more about the film and since Roger Ebert tells it so well, please see his article online from 1972 and from 2003.

Before the start of the film on Thursday, there will be a 5-minute introduction by its host, Nat S.  The film runs 136 minutes so a brief intermission is scheduled at a suitable break-away point.  We invite you to stick around after the conclusion of the film for conversation.  Snacks and beverage provided. See you there!

Joan K., Aleks M., Shizue P. and Nat S.

Criterion Trailer here:

* * * * *

Unrelated EXTRA, EXTRA JG news from Patty- the- Gardener,  via aleks: 

the other day Patty turned my attention to a visitor on a brief migratory stop from the arctics - the Full Frontal/Greater White Fronted Goose.  I went after the bird with my camera, as Patty advised (several visitors  asked me recently about this strange bird they spotted, but that was the first time that I really saw it - thanks, Patty!)..  I  didn't have time to ask Patty how this all came about: why a solo bird, don't they fly in flocks? Where do they start? Some sources say Siberia... Where are they going?  Other sources say California...  Here is the pic I took, plus a link to an on-line description:

SJG - Oct. 12/2012 - Frontal/Greater White Fronted Goose on a short migratory visit to SJG

The white fronted goose write-up here:  from wikipedia:

Weather conditions are a key factor in the annual breeding success of White-fronted Geese. In the Arctic, the window of opportunity for nesting, incubating eggs, and raising a brood to flight state is open briefly, for about three months. Arriving in late May or early June, White-fronted Geese begin departing for fall staging areas in early September. This means that a delayed snowmelt or late spring storm can significantly reduce the birds' reproductive success...

Friday, October 12, 2012

An Autumn Stroll

by Lynnda

Morning light, SJG - photo by Lynnda
 Last week, I took my daughter and granddaughter to the Japanese Garden for a fall stroll.  Sophie, who is 27 months old, still remembers feeding the koi with Ellie, Aleks' granddaughter, earlier this summer.  I wanted to give her another chance to feed the koi before their digestive systems go into hibernation.  And the weather did not disappoint!  This fall, everyone is talking about how wonderful the weather's been.  Beware, visitors from other states - this is NOT a typical autumn! The autumn foliage is not yet at the peak of brilliance, so the color show will continue to unfold over the next month.

Feeding koi at the SJG - photo by Lynnda

The koi slowly swam to where the food was floating, but before they could even think to open their mouths, the ducks were swimming on top of them, looking as though they were harassing everything with fins.  The turtles didn't even bother showing up at the feeding stations!  I kept throwing food to the mallards on one side of the moon-viewing platform so Brooke and Sophie could give the koi a chance to slurp some fish kibble.

Autumn viburnum in bloom - photo by Lynnda

Mallard - photo by Lynnda
 Many of the viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum) are flowering, not as heavily as in the spring, but the contrast in the blossoms and the foliage as it begins to change from green to rust, burgundy, and maroon, can take your breath away. This viburnum was on the western side on the sea, north of the zig-zag bridge.  I saw a lone blue iris (Iris ensata) blooming near the tea house, and there were also a few Japanese primroses (Primula japonica), the flowers on much shorter stems than the spring blooms.

Cotoneasters in granite - photo by Lynnda

 The cotoneasters (Cotoneaster hybrid) are brilliant along the granite wall at the north end of the inland sea.  The red berries are spectacular, showcasing the plants growing out of small spaces between the boulders.  Sitting on this bench, or the one above the granite wall, allows one to have an overview of the garden's colors.  This tapestry will continue to unfold until the garden closes for the season.  If you have a chance to visit between now and November 11, do it!  The warm autumn sun brings out the fall colors, but I also think the garden has a special allure in the soft rains that are soon to begin.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Butoh dance at Velocity & Japanese music in Wing Luke

The two in post title ARE SEPARATE events - please look below for info, dates, and contacts. Please note that Garden docent Joan Laage performs Silver Lining with Kaoru Okumura on Butoh Festival Saturday’s program (October 27). 

Also: SJG Maple Viewing this Sunday, October 14! Come and see our magnificent maples' leaves turning.  aleks

• • • • • 
DAIPANbutoh Collective presents
Seattle Butoh Festival 2012
October 22-28, 2012
Velocity Dance Center
1621 12th Avenue
Guest artists: SU-EN Butoh Company (Sweden) & Atsushi Takenouchi –Jinen Butoh(Japan/Paris)

October 22  7 pm  Artist Talk featuring SU-EN
October 23-28  (various times) Workshops with SU-EN and Atsushi
October 26 & 27   8 pm  Performances by SU-EN, Atsushi and members of DAIPAN
October 28  6 pm  Butoh Open:
     Workshop participant’s perform their own works plus a piece by Seattlite Vanessa Skantze
Plus Portland Festival Extension October 29-November 2 with guest Atsushi Takenouchi

Garden docent Joan Laage performs Silver Lining with Kaoru Okumura on Saturday’s program (October 27).

4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs support
DAIPANbutoh is a Shunpike Partner

photos (coming):
SU-EN (photo by Gunnar H Stening)
Atsushi Takenouchi (Karolina Bieszczad)

• • • • •

The Hakakumei Shakuhachi dojo in Seattle is sponsoring a performance featuring Kakizakai Kaoru (shakuhachi) and Mitsuki Dazai (koto) in Seattle on October 27, 2012 at 8pm.  These virtuoso performers will be playing a mix of old and new music, Japanese folk tunes, modern duets and classic Zen pieces.  The concert will be held at the Tateuchi Story Theater inside the Wing Luke Museum, 719 South King Street in the International District.  This will be a popular event and seating is limited.

In addition, Kakizakai Sensei will be offering private shakuhachi instruction and workshops during his visit from Thursday 10/25 through Sunday 10/28.  For more information, including advanced ticket purchase information for the concert, go to

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Photo exhibition opening Sunday, October 7th

by aleks
Coming very soon (THIS Sunday) and open to everyone who wants to see it: 
October 7, 2-5 pm in Tateuchi Community Room, SJG
Photographs from Ray Pfortner's spring workshop in Seattle Japanese Garden.

Photo by Mary Ann Cahlill

Come and see what the students saw through their lenses - some of the angles will delight or surprise you, as they show the Garden the way you may never saw it.  All the pics in this post are from the upcoming exhibition.

The exhibition will be open until the Garden closes this season (Nov. 12);  if you are in the Garden ask the entrance Gate people if there is someone available to show you the photographs (Tateuchi Community Room is not always open due to lack of supervision);  or, if you took a guided tour ask your guide about it.  The letter (below) from Mary, who schedules the tours,  encourages docents to share the exhibition with you, but it may not always fit the guide's tour plan, so ask!  (The class Mary mentions at the end of her letter is described in the previous blog-post).

Photo by Marcia M. Mueller

Good afternoon, Garden guides. 
Currently all Public and Private Tours during September are fully staffed by you! 

Any time you’re at the Garden, whether you’re attending a meeting or event, or guiding a personal, Private, or Public Tour, you’re invited to share with your guests the exciting new “Impressions Without Walls” photo exhibit in the Tateuchi Community Room (TCR).  It will be available through the end of the 2012 season.    

These Japanese Garden images were captured by photographers participating in Ray Pfortner’s “Mixed Media Photography Workshop” this past Spring.  Each photographer submitted 8 images for judging, and were invited to frame their top 3 images for exhibition in this show.   It’s a great collection of late Winter/early Spring Garden impressions. 

And every viewer is invited to choose their personal “best in show” and place a ballot in the “People’s Choice” ballot box on the TCR counter. 

The prints, framed or unframed, are available for purchase and contact info for each photographer is included for that purpose.  All photographers have offered to donate 30% of any purchase to the Japanese Garden! 

If you’d like to view the exhibit and/or share it with others, just ask the cashier on duty to open the TCR for you.  You’ll be responsible for monitoring the room until you close it up again.  This is a great idea for beginning or ending any tour or visit to the Garden.  On some weekend days, the photographers themselves will be staffing the TCR and making the exhibit available for everyone.    

If you feel inspired to contribute to a future exhibit consider registering for Ray’s next “Mixed Media Photography Workshop” which takes place in mid to late October.  A photo show for this Autumn workshop is planned to coincide with opening of the 2013 season! 
It’s class #89288; you can register at the Garden or on the Seattle Parks website.  It’s $220. (or $200. if you have a Garden annual pass.)

Meanwhile, enjoy!           
Photo by Mireille Kools
Photo by Dan Driscoll

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photo workshop and exhibition coming to SJG

by aleks
There was a spring photo workshop with  Ray Pfortner in Japanese Garden, and the exhibition of the top photos from his class is about to be mounted on Sunday, October 7, 2-5 pm in Tateuchi Community Room (more on the exhibition in the next post, coming in a few days). The fall photo workshop is coming to the Garden soon and here is info from Ray's flyer, if you didn't see it:

Mixed-Media Photography workshop
For All Visual Artists at the Seattle Japanese Garden
With Ray Pfortner, Educator & Photographer

Improve your camera and composition skills - no matter what your final art medium - by photographing the Japanese Garden with exclusive early morning and evening access at the peak of fall foliage. Learn by doing - shooting, sharing the test results for online and in-class critiques, having your work juried, and by exhibiting your art whether a framed photograph, painting, drawing or in some other technique.

Be part of a juried, mixed-media show at the Garden in 2013 - and explore how to prepare your work for exhibiting from selecting and pricing to framing and hanging.

For all visual artists with any camera and any level of experience who want to get more out of their camera   and do more with their photography, whether making photographs for framing or for artist's reference to render later in your medium of choice.

Bring 5 samples of your work to the first Saturday session, bring your camera, extra batteries, your battery chargers, extra memory cards and warm clothing to both Saturday sessions.

Friday, October 12, 6:30-8:30 pm
Saturday, October 13 & 27, 7-11am & 2-6pm
Tuition: $220 ($200 for Garden Members)
Materials: $20
Space is limited to 12. 

To register contact Cheryl at 306-386-9106 or
For more information about the workshop:
Ro learn about Ray and his work:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Madame Secretary takes her camera to Japanese Garden

by aleks
Jeanne P.,  Unit 86 Secretary went to the Garden equipped with her camera 2 days ago; and just as well... She met 'Dirty Harry, the heron'  while poking around:

SJG • 9/20/12 - Heron meets a person. Photo by Jeanne P.

I asked if it's ok to post this great pic of her. Here is Jeanne's reply:

Of course you can post it. I wish it were better. I just thought it was charming that this young man seemed to be communicating with the heron he was photographing, and the heron was so calm. I have another one you might like. Same heron with a family and a bunch of koi.

This is the other photo Madame Secretary  took - same heron with a family and a bunch of koi:

SJG • 9/20/12 - Heron meets a family... Photo by Jeanne P.

• • • •
P.S. If you saw a ghost-post about upcoming photo exhibition and workshop with Ray Pfortner  that disappeared before your very own (lying) eyes...  Well, you are NOT feeble-minded or  crazy. At all!  It was there, but I  had to take the post down, because I had trouble with placing the text and the photos, especially. It will re-appear as soon as i can fix it with Ray's help.  The photo-exhibition from a spring workshop is October 7th, Sunday, 2-5 pm. More info coming. So stay tuned, please.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keiro-No-Hi - Respect for the Elders

by aleks
I stopped by the Garden to participate a bit in one of the most touching Japanese celebrations: keiro-no-hi, or Respect-for-the-Aged Day. It's a national holiday in Japan and according to the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government, keiro-no-hi is defined as “The day to give respect to the elderly, who have served society for many years, and celebrate their longevity.”

SJG • 9/17/12 - Tankokai Tea Ceremony (second of 3 that day) in front of Tateuchi Community Room - the senior adults are  viewing from inside

Our western, so called  'culture' is pretty disrespectful to elders if you ask me, so it is extremely refreshing that Seattle Parks and Recreation Department finds it important to honor the wisdom and experience of grey headed fellow humans by offering a free welcome day of music, tea ceremonies and refreshments in a beautiful setting of the Garden that is getting gently 'autumnal' itself at this time of the year.

SJG • 9/17/12  - Respect for the Elders Day

I do not know much about this grand Keiro-No-Hi tradition, except for the experience of it in our Japanese Garden, so here are a few 'lifts' from better sources of information:

From Suite-101, shared free lance publishing siteJapan's Keiro no Hi can be traced back as far as 1947, but it became increasingly popular around the country and was declared a national holiday in 1966. Originally it occurred every September 15, but beginning in 2003 it was changed to the third Monday in September in order to offer a long weekend.

Keiro No Hi Traditions
The holiday is born out of a traditional Confucian value of respect for one's elders. In some neighborhoods, volunteers deliver free lunches around the area to elderly neighbors and friends. Smaller villages often hold "keirokai" ceremonies in which school children and young people sing and dance as part of a celebration for their elders, that also includes a free lunch, tea and dessert for the attendees. [...]

SJG • 9/17/12 - Midori Kono Thiel just finished her second koto performance
in the Yamada style; standing with Rachel Harris - SJG events coordinator
 Thank you, Rachel, for a great day! 

TsukuBlog has detailed historical explanation of the holiday by Avi Landau, complete with Japanese 'meaning' that is derived from how the ages are written in Kanji characters: it goes to 100 y.o. so check it yourself:

The 60th year (kanreki, 還暦), meaning a return to the beginning of the cycle, as it heralds completing the path through the full five cycles of the Sino-Japanese zodiac (jikkan-junishi), and coming back once again to the original combination of signs that you were born with. This event is commonly celebrated throughout East-Asia.

The 70th year (koki, 古希), the name of which derives from a popular verse by the great Chinese poet Tufu (Toho, 杜甫, in Japanese). The poem goes: Jinsei nanaju korai mare nari (人生七十古来稀なり),meaning that (in those days) reaching the age of 70 was a rare occurrence. [...]

SJG • 9/17/12  - Respect for the Elders Day...

No wonder that Japan is one of the countries with the longest life expectancy in the world:).  Thanks Midori,  Seattle Tankokai and Seattle Parks!

I found this amazing flowers blooming by the E path, area I. Have no clue what it is - hopefully will find out to tell you.

UPDATE on flowers, from Liz, commenting below: The flowers are Colchicum, also known as Autumn Crocus (although not related to crocus at all).  Thanks Liz!  More on the plant here on wikipedia : [...] Its leaves, corm and seeds are poisonous. Murderess Catherine Wilson is thought to have used it to poison a number of victims in the 19th century. [...]

Friday, September 7, 2012

O-tsukimi haiku

I missed the Haiku Contest final reading, but here is Michael Dylan Welch's report [of  Haiku Northwest, which organized the contest] and his Facebook post regarding the event; he and Tanya McDonald read aloud 28 poems out of the 155 poems that were submitted that night.  aleks (+ my pics to Michael's text)

SJG • 9/1/12 - Tankokai Tea ceremony just ended in Shoseian Teahouse

Seattle Japanese Garden Moonviewing Haiku Contest
September 1, 2012
Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch, Judges

• First Place:
Moonbeams fall
through maple leaves—
moth wings shimmer

Frank Edwards

• Second Place:
moon beams stream
through the open bedroom window
I light your candle

Kerry Campbell

• Third Place:
thirty-five-watt bulb
a bare moon above the sink
warm hand clasping mine

Andrew Savage

You will find additional poems read during o-tsukimi here....

• • • • •

SJG • 9/1/12 - The crowds; people also occupied  all rails of the zigzag bridge,
and more standing wherever they could fit  

From Michael's Facebook post: An amazing thing happened at last night's moonviewing event at the Seattle Japanese Garden, attended by about 600 people. Tanya McDonald and I judged a few hundred entries for the haiku contest, and one of the entries had a surprise extra line at the end of it. I knew immediately that I had to read it when we announced all the awards. 

SJG • 9/1/12 - I waited a long time to get this pic people-less:)
After a full evening of Japanese cultural performances and music, and the launching of candle-boats onto the pond after dark, as the full moon rose over the pines, Tanya and I read a selection of poems, and then announced the top three winners, with much laughter and cheering. 

After that, I had that additional poem to read. I said the person's name first, and asked if he was present. Matthew came up to the front and I asked him privately (everyone could see, but no one could hear) if he definitely wanted me to read what he submitted, and he said yes. This is what I read, his poem about the moon:

I'll light your way
in every phase of life.
My world revolves about you.

Franklin, will you marry me?

And there, in front of 600 people, they hugged intensely while the audience burst into cheers and applause. And Franklin said yes. What's more, completely unscripted, the person who we had just given first place to in the haiku contest was also Franklin. What a wonderful way to end a spectacular moonviewing event!
Michael Dylan Welch

SJG • 9/1/12 - Candle-boats on the pond after dark, my poor camera tried for you...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Moon Viewing (o-tsukimi)

by aleks

A line of people throughout the entire courtyard is what I saw when I arrived for the Moon Viewing ceremony last Saturday, September 1st; they were waiting to buy tickets. Not good, I thought, because I also heard that ticket pre-sales went exceptionally well this year. One of the things I like about our Seattle Japanese Garden is how understated everything about it is; as it should be  in a place designed for relaxation, meditation and respite from business and crazyness of everyday life.

SJG • 9/1/2012 - a paper moon over the weeping willow tree

My private dislike for crowds in the Japanese Garden and the Park Department's joy from profits the tickets sales brought are probably hard to reconcile, but I'm happy to report that the Garden held well with all the people who gathered to share the festivities and welcome the autumn full moon. Despite the fact that I had never had to maneuver  that many people on my way to the task I was entrusted with - launching the tiny boats with candles on them on the pond at dusk - the general atmosphere was that of shared quiet joy, and not a carnival, as I was afraid seeing how many people the event attracted this year.

SJG • 9/1/2012 - Joan Laage and Consuelo Gonzalez in 'Lunar Hare' - butoh dance.

Inspired by the legendary rabbit in the moon and moon imagery, it was first performed as a solo in Tokyo in 1988, and later, in a full-length work entitled Four Seasons in a Rock Garden in Taipei, Taiwan, and in Seattle with Joan's company Dappin' Butoh where Consuelo danced the role as the moon. Joan performs under the name Kogut Butoh and is a founding member of DAIPANbutoh Collective based in Seattle. She studied under butoh masters Kazuo Ohno and Yoko Ashikawa in Tokyo in the late 80s and performed in Ashikawa's company Gnome. A docent at the garden, Joan created the annual summer site-specific performance called Wandering and Wondering which Consuelo has performed in the past two years."

We all enjoyed a dance by Joan Laage and Consuelo Gonzalez (Kogut Butoh from DAIPABbutoh Collective), classical and contemporary koto music by Silk Strings (a koto ensemble renowned for performing a wide range of genre on Koto and other traditional Japanese instruments), a selection of traditional Japanese dances by the Fujima Dance Ensemble, which presented seasonal dances with glimpse of the Moon, and Okinawan folk and traditional music by Mako and Munjuru. Haiku Northwest held its traditional contest on the beauty of the moon, while the Astronomical Society provided the telescopes, and Seattle Tankokai  (Seattle Japanese tea ceremony association) presented a Tsukimi Chakai (Moon Viewing Tea).

SJG • 9/1/2012 - Koto music by the Silk Strings
• • • • • •

• But hey, how about this o-tsukimi related item: just recently, while working on SJG Plant List corrections, I learned from Maggie C. that the south bed of Azumaya has 4 of the 7 flowers of autumn, associated with Moon Viewing:

  - HAGI: bush clover, Latin name is Lespedeza thunbergii
  - SUSUKI (also say OBANA): Japanese pampas grass, Latin name is Miscanthus sinensis
  - FUJIBAKAMA: no English name, Latin name is Eupatrium foltnei
  - KIKYOU (also called ASAGAO): balloon flower, Latin name is Platycodon grandiflorum

Maggie C. provided this helpful link about the 7 flowers of autumn, while Hiroko chimed in:

Hi All,
To complete the Japanese seven flowers of autumn in our garden, we only need Kudzu (Pueraria thumbergiana), Pink (Dianthus superbus va. Longicalycinus) and Golden Valerian (Patrinia scabiosaefolia).
However, Kudzu is notoriously invasive in certain condition, and I would avoid adding it in our garden. I am sure that Sue and Patti will agree with me. The other two are available in US, and it might be fun to add them to the garden in future.

SJG • 9/1/2012 - a couple resting on he bench by the paper bark maple

•The wiki entry on o-tsukimi is this:
Tsukimi (月見?) or Otsukimi, literally moon-viewing, refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon. The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japaneselunisolar calendar; the waxing moon is celebrated on the 13th day of the ninth month. These days normally fall in September and October of the modern solar calendar.  [...] More here...

• The winner of the contest on moon haiku is still unknown to me, but here something else on the topic:

"The autumn moon is incomparably beautiful.  Any man who
supposes the moon is always the same, regardless of the season,
and is therefore unable to detect the difference in autumn, must
be exceedingly insensitive."

                                 --The Tsurezuregusa, by Kenko  (AD 1331);
                                     Translated by Donald Keene.

• I'm sorry about lack of nighttime pics - my camera doesn't handle the darkness well..

SJG • 9/1/2012 - Guide Heidi contemplates what she sees:) WOW!

• And NO, I didn't see the moon. It was hiding low,  somewhere below the tree line above the Garden... but saw it well from the parking lot,  when I was driving off.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday, August 23 • 1:30 pm: Japanese film in Tateuchi Community Room

by aleks
Our second film this season will be 'Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire' - parts of the 2004 PBS documentary series.  There is a change from the original plan, though: Shizue, the host of the Thursday session, after further reviewing of the film decided that part 2 will be more interesting to watch, more about people and customs  than originally planned rather dry part 1. Since we have Tateuchi Room reserved till 5 pm, part 3 will be shown after a brief intermission for those who are interested.

The whole thing is on youtube, so if you want to watch the part 1 ahead of screening (not necessary), here it is, in several installments, we hope you are going to join us for part 2 and 3 and a good discussion (plus cookies!):

or here:

The PBS description of parts looks like this:

Tokugawa Ieyasu unifies Japan and establishes a dynasty that will rule Japan for over 250 years. 

The grandson of Ieyasu, Tokugawa Iemitsu, tightens control over Japan's warlords and expels all foreigners. 

Isolated from the West, 18th century Edo flourishes culturally and economically, becoming one of the liveliest cities in the world. But foreign forces are coming. 

• • • 
About the previous film:
If we were unable to attend the first session of the 'films in Tateuchi Community Room', the beautiful 'Dream Window' movie (featuring the gardens of Saiho-ji, Shugaku-in, Katsura Villa, Tenryu-ji, and Sogetsu Hall, plus contemporary landscapes +  a diverse group of Japanese artists providing an excellent commentary), talk to Thomas: he has a copy of it in his drawer, and willing to lend. This Smithsonian video offering is NOT available in the general dvd collection on amazon or anywhere else, and trade with Smithsonian will short you for about $150 :(.

• • • 

About the next films:
After  next Thursday, the last two film offerings for this season will be:

• OCTOBER:  Thursday 10/18//12, 1:30 pm - TokyoStory  (Tōkyō Monogatari), 1953, by widely acclaimed director Yasujirō Ozu.  It is regarded as one of the 10 greatest films of all time.  The story is of a visit made by an aging couple from a small town to see their children and grandchildren in distant, growing, postwar Tokyo. With elegance and sensitivity the film portrays characters with whom we can identify, and taps human experiences common to us all.  (For more background click Roger Eber review from 1972 and 2003.) 136 minutes - a brief intermission is planned.

• NOVEMBER:  Thursday 11/1/12, 1:30 - Shall We Dance? 1996, dir. Masayuki Suo. A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons.  Trailer hereRotten tomatoes reviews here. 120 minutes.

Again: this is a private event, for guides, staff  and their friends only (for mainly legal reasons), but if you want to see these films, befriend SJG volunteer or a staff person, OR become a volunteer for SJG yourself... You are invited, one way or the other.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE next Thursday!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wandering & Wondering - Saturday, August 4

by aleks
SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering

Another wonderful performance of butoh dance in the Garden, which became even more magical with the sound of delicate music coming from different directions and dancers appearing and reappearing on the paths, solo here, and as a group there.

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering

Two six years old girls who came with us to see butoh dancing were very interested in figuring out what is happening;  they pretty soon determined that the entire Garden became a stage, or that the dancers are part of the Garden - pretty much doesn't matter which way around: 'Look, she is gardening, and pretending  she is smelling the flowers,  and now watering them'....

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering

'They are having a party now, pretending they are talking and laughing' -  the group was sharing a drink of water, and it didn't escape the girls that the dancers didn't stop performing, but incorporated that activity into the dance. 'They are hugging and saying goodbye now' - on the group splitting and wandering off to different corners of the Garden again...

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering - Sadie and Ellie watching... Pic by Michal
The event was directed by Joan Laage, of Kogut Butoh based in Seattle. Dancers were  Bruce Fogg, Consuelo Gonzalez, Joan Laage, Lin Lucas, Kaoru Okumura, Vanessa Skantze and Helen Thorsen. Musicians were Susie Kozawa, Dean Moore, Mike Shannon, Esther Sugai and Samuel Yoder.

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering. Pic by Michal

Thank you dancers and musicians!  And thank you, Joan Laage, who is also a guide in SJG - I shall shadow her tour sometimes, she is probably dancing it....

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering. Pic by Michal
Ellie's haiku on the occasion on watching butoh in 90 agrees weather:

butoh dancing
very slow -
looked very hot


Sadie and I 
thought the butoh
is having a party!

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering
SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering
I have more pics, but the post is becoming too long - next year you have to see it yourself!