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 cheryl.brown@seattle.gov
For more information about the workshop: raypfortner@gmail.com
Ro learn about Ray and his work: RayPfortner.com

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.