Tuesday, December 31, 2013

明けましておめでとうございます - Akemashite omedetōgozaimasu ("happy new year" in Japanese)

by aleks
Great, some of my favorite Japanese foods,  Kakiage Soba Noodles  (Vegetable Tempura Soba)  and Kohaku Namasu (Vegetables Marinated in Rice Vinegar) are traditional for the celebration of the New Year's Eve.

Found the recipes on the internet, along with this self-description of the place I found them at: 'Cooking with Dog is a YouTube cooking show featured by a canine host Francis and a mysterious Japanese Chef whose real name is not disclosed. While Chef cooks a variety of popular dishes in Japan, Francis calmly sits next to her and narrates the recipes step-by-step in English. He sometimes gets sleepy and closes his eyes but don't worry, you will still hear his voice. […]'

Here, from 'Cooking with Dog', is how to make Kakiage Soba:

And here Kohaku Namasu (Vegetables Marinated in Rice Vinegar) :

If you go straight to youtube version, you will find recipes written under the videos:

• Kakiage Soba: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5PJ39D0lVA
• Namasu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzo_h5svaNM

Happy New Year!
And yes, I find 'Cooking with dog' quite addictive to watch:)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hummingbirds in Seattle winter

by aleks
12/8/13 - NOT SJG

SJG is closed for the season, so some news from our feathered friends outside of my window. Pacific Northwest has Anna's hummingbirds which do not migrate out but stay trough the winter, and there was one, gray and green, on a below-zero Saturday morning.  I spotted it on hummingbird feeder, but when looked closer noticed that it behaved rather strangely: instead of sipping and flying out, it looked as if it was drilling or mining: wrrr, wrrr..  Of course, the sugared water was frozen, and the poor bird tried to somehow get it out.  I quickly brought the feeder indoor, thawed the content and took it out again, only to repeat it a few more times during the day.

Searched the internet for 'heated hummingbird feeder' with zero results, but found some advice there: one was to bring the feeder indoor at night at put it back in the morning; good for the early risers, those who don't travel or oversleep, and not a lasting solution, as it freezes right back fast.  Plumber's heating tape advice looked rather cumbersome and expensive in executing, but advice about putting a 150 watts clip-on outdoor flash-lamp some 4-6 inches from the feeder looked promising.

Further research revealed that the lamp would need to be fitted with a pyrex glass bulb, + I would probably have to buy a short extension cord, as the lamp comes with an 8 feet cord only, so also  some sort of insulation where the cords meet would be required.  All of this  was still agreeable until I realized that the 150 watts flood-lamp would not only illuminate the hummers' feeder but ALSO our neighbors' deck and bedroom window.  Scratch that idea.

12/8/13 - NOT SJG. Hummingbird feeder 'heater' ingredients:
washcloth, 4 paperclips and 'hand warmers' packet

On the end I did bring the feeder inside for the night, but when I put it out the next morning it was in improved state:  a washcloth, 4 paperclips and a hand warmer (the packets you get in a drugstore to put in your gloves or shoes when it's freezing outside) solved the problem.  I folded the washcloth several times to fit it under the bottom of the feeder, sawed-in a paperclip in each corner (to be used as hooks on the feeder) and slipped a hand warmer packet between the layers closest to the feeder (with 4-5 layers insulating it from the air outside).

I had a customer in less than 2 minutes, and several of them returning often throughout the day! Literally every time I looked they were happy hummers there (they live in the neighbors' camellia tree), and although the 'heater' felt barely warm to touch, it kept the water in liquid state….

12/8/13 - NOT SJG; Steller's jays got fed, too (peanuts)

I wonder how the birds in the Japanese Garden fare now;  the humingbirds live there, too - last time they had a nest on the pine tree right by the moon viewing platform - we didn't tell visitors, because of the birds' 1st and 4th amendments' issues, although we spied on them some, and then told the allies about their activities…

12/8/13 - NOT SJG;  crows' bread diner - I LIKE crows very much

Ah, to further justify why this post is on the Japanese Garden Community blog, how about a link to a yummy Japanese Restaurant Style Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing - I came across it by accident, but after making it found eating it with a salad and alone, as a condiment and snack. It is THAT good! (Halving  the recipe will give you a small, full  jar -  think 2 smashed carrots, 1 inch+ of ginger root, tablespoon of miso and a small amount of vinegar and oils)...

12/8/13 - NOT SJG; the usual little suspects munching on their seed mixture

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Film in TCR + few goodies

by aleks

Edit 11/11/13: SJG FILM BANK - For the last 2 years SJG film non-committee have been meeting and discussing films to be screened in TCR; last year we shared four movies, this year three… The link below goes to google-doc that contains suggestions and recommendations for the films discussed, but not yet shown - it was put together by non-committe member Joan K. and filled with ideas from YOU and non-committee members. If you have more suggestions, please email us and we will add them to the JAPANESE FILM BANK - happy winter viewing!

SJG • 10/22/13 - Only recently I became aware that some of our non-evergreen azaleas are more than one-pony trickers: here is a royal azalea along the second shortcut -  in spring it has very distinctive pale green leaves, then white to pink flowers, in late summer its leaves become pinkish, and in late fall the leaves turn golden yellow with pinkish tint.

•  All SJG volunteers received the note below, re-posting here as a reminder and for those also interested, but not notified (you can come as my friend)…. This is an offering from film non-commitee:

1 pm, THIS Thursday, November 14 – Film:  Hula Girls.   Join us in the Tateuchi Room to view the inspiring 1965 film, Hula Girls, based on the true story of how the people of a small coal mining town on the north east coast of Japan coped with economic decline by building a Hawaiian Village.  (They built it, and many came!) The two-hour film also portrays a touching tale of personal redemption.  A recent documentary on the village’s recovery from the tsunami in 2011 is available in DVD from the Japanese Consulate in Seattle and may be shown at another time if interest warrants it.

SJG • 10/22/13 - late afternoon sun on the East path

• Here is a contribution from a new guide, Victoria B. who just had last of the season tour 'with delightful 5th graders from a Waldorf school. […] One girl said she wanted to bring a tatami mat and put it under the wisteria arbor and live there!   Many said they wanted to come back in the spring when things were blooming.'  

Victoria shared this with me ( thank you, Victoria!), because I was nominally her mentor (she really didn't need one), and included this morsel, to share with all of you:

'A friend who sends me websites with funny or beautiful photos, sent me one with fall-foliage photos-- one photo from each state with the dates that the colors are best.   The one representing Washington State is in our garden!   It shows the kasuga lantern and the WPA bridge.  Here's the website-- I don't know if someone would send the link to the docents or if you could put it on your website but I think its a great honor that we have the most stunning fall foliage of anywhere in Washington.



SJG • 10/22/13 - A young visitor on the WPA bridge

• and this comes from our old, old  guide (well, not really, but she wasn't just trained, so i can joke - i'm an ancient guide judging by the year of training), Jeanne P:

'Aleks, I don't know if this is appropriate for the blog, since it is a commercial venture. On the other hand, it is about (mostly) local potters inspired by traditional Japanese pottery. Here is the link:



SJG - 10/22/13 - stripe bark maple's leaves

• And a reminder from cont. ed. committee - for volunteers only,  the rest of you just go ahead and get jealous, or  become SJG volunteers...

10:30 am, Thursday, November 21 - Special talk/Cont Ed,

Masa Mizuno will present a talk on the maintenance and history of Seattle Japanese Garden. Masa & Associates specializes in the continuity and refinement of established gardens, instruction/presentations, building, and consulting of commercial, private and public gardens in Canada and the U.S., including Seattle Japanese Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. We are fortunate to have him with us.

• • • 
HULA GIRLS trailer:

P.S. The leaves are mostly gone now, just a few reminders in pics...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maple Fest - some 10 days later...

by aleks
SJG • 10/22/13 - lace-leaf maple, leaf up-close
We showed the film 'Dream window' today in Tateuchi Community Room, to a very enthusiastic audience of guides. The film non-commitee is considering showing it at least once a year from now on, as it should probably be a 'required viewing' for all who guide in the Japanese Gardens  - not very many new guides had time to attend today, so we will try to reach them later with this.

The Maple Fest is continuing:  below some pics from last Tuesday:

SJG • 10/22/13 - our very old (past 100 years) lace-leaf maple, finally almost red

SJG • 10/22/13 - The Tea House Garden, seen from across the pond
SJG • 10/22/13 - Kathleen Smith beloved fern maple at ZZW
I didn't know it fades so fast: mere 10 days from  green to red, to fall on the ground...
SJG • 10/22/13 - Look at the Omato: it is all red, RED now!
Just a few posts below it was merely brownish...

SJG • 10/22/13 - don't even know what to call it.  Just out of this world. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Maple Fest

by aleks
Maple Fest started October 13th, Sunday, this year, and is still going on:  16 maples have  tags, so you can learn their proper names, this time of the year only, as it is very un-Japanese to label plants in the Garden.  Due to the east coast travels I missed the show opening, but Allan Seidenverg kindly sent these photos taken by Paula last Sunday:

SJG •10/13/13 - Maple Fest celebration; photo by Paula

SJG •10/13/13 - Maple Fest celebration; photo by Paula
SJG •10/13/13 - Maple Fest celebration; photo by Paula

Today I went and photographed the maples as they are, now when the show is 10 days in progress:  some maples are still stubbornly not turning, like the habitually late in season shishigashira, some progressed to crimson red, like omato and osakazuki, and some are almost gone, like circinatum and full moon - pretty soon I'll post some of them here, and file ALL of them on the bloom blog (URL in the left column).

In the meantime, and for the contrast, maple turning on the east coast:
10/17/13 - leaves turning in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.
Locals noted it is unusually orangey this year.

REMINDER:  Film 'Dream window' about gardens of Japan, this Thursday, 10/24/13 at 1 pm in Tateuchi Room - everybody welcome.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a few PSAs

by aleks

1.) Very sadly, our very loved and esteemed fellow guide, Mary Ann Wiley, is no longer with us. Her obituary is here....

SJG • 10/4/13 - Guides learning about maples from the Plant Committee;
here on the North Path, by the  Acer Palmatum 'shishigashira' or Lion's Mane Maple
(the last to turn its leaves in our season)

2.)  For everyone: Maple Fest is coming this Sunday, October 13; sixteen prominent maples will be labeled, and stay that way, till there are any leaves left on them this fall.  I'll be traveling to the east coast on the day of the Maple Fest and miss it, but perhaps some fellow bloggers would write and share about it here, please? I've been photographing  these maples for several years now, and will shortly include them in the bloom blog = photo album of SJG plants  (URL on the left side of this blog).

SJG • 10/4/13 - Guides learning about maples from the Plant Committee; here by 'Omato', on the East path

3.) For everyone: Our next film showing,  'Dream Window', 1992 - is at 1 pm Thursday, October 24. All interested invited.

4.) For everyone: 4th Annual Photography Workshop−Autumn at the Seattle Japanese Garden
with Ray Pfortner, educator & photographer starts Friday, Oct. 11 & 18, 6:30-9 pm (at Laurelhurst Community Center). Tuition: $220* ($200 for Garden members) Materials: $20. To register, contact Cheryl Brown at 206.386.9106 or cheryl.brown@seattle.gov

5.) For everyone: Tonight a fellow guide, Nat S. and I + our partners went to see 'Vermeer and Music' - streaming from The National Gallery, London, to our American movie theaters - very enjoyable:  to see more about the series check 'Exhibition on screen' here...

SJG • 10/4/13  - and this is just for you, Mary Ann Wiley! A maple turning on ZZW, or so called Service Road.

6.) For guides only: A reminder about our October 19th Fall Meeting (9:30 am start) followed by the Volunteer Luncheon.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Of interest in SAAM

by aleks
I haven't seen it yet, but plan to do so, and hope so are YOU :)

enlarge image
Poem Scroll with Deer (detail), 1610s, painting by Tawaraya Sotatsu

A Fuller View of China, Japan and Korea 
August 10, 2013–April 13, 2014
SAAM Foster Galleries

Dr. Richard Fuller’s 40 years as the museum’s founding director are the bedrock of its history, and his passion for art resonates with collectors of his time and beyond. In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, this installation shows how Dr. Fuller, his family and friends, and several more recent Seattle collectors, built SAM’s celebrated Asian art collections. Featuring some of SAM’s best-loved works such as the Poem Scroll with Deer, the installation showcases the incredible quality and diversity that make SAM’s Asian art collection one of the finest in the country. The selected Chinese paintings and calligraphy also celebrate the launch of an innovative online scholarly catalogue, a multi-year project sponsored by the J. Paul Getty Foundation.
–Xiaojin Wu, Associate Curator for Japanese and Korean Art

I think my favorite poem scroll with deer (17th century) is on view, again! YAY!

SJG • 9/23/13 - Cotoneaster hybrid in area N, bearing fall fruits

Thursday, September 19, 2013

3 films coming to TCR + butoh dance announcement

Harvest moon over Seattle - 9/17/13

by aleks

The film non-committe (Shizue P., Joan K., Dewey W. and aleks) wants everyone to know about the great program  they have put together for you:  the fall film series for all garden volunteers and their friends (if you are NOT a volunteer and want to come, please show up and befriend me for a day, my pleasure). Please mark your calendars for these films:

•   opens with 'My neighbor Totoro' 1998, 1 pm Thursday, September 26, Tateuchi Room - a highly popular animated movie about the adventures of two sisters and magical creatures called Totoro.  Join us to watch this delightful film and discuss it afterward with refreshments.

'Dream Window', 1992 - 1 pm Thursday, October 24

'Hula Girls', 2006 - 1 pm Thursday, November 14

Also, while reviewing the many films before we chose the ones above, Joan K. put this FILM BANK feature for you - suggestions from all members of film non-commitee; it is residing on google docs here - check it out!

Harvest moon over Seattle - 9/17/13

* * * 
BUTOH dancing:

The Engendering Project: Casting Shadows
Butoh artist Joan Laage (one of our guides!) with Kaoru Okumura (video/photography) and Jackie An (music) - October 4 & 5, 2013, 8 pm  Ticket Prices: $12/$15  www.brownpapertickets.com/event/459485

Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave, Seattle WA 98122

Directed by Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh), The Engendering Project: Casting Shadows emerged out of investigating how gender fluidity and transformation have continued to shape the artist’s work over the past two decades. Joan’s collaborators are Kaoru Okumura (video and photography) and an electric string trio directed by Jackie An with Doris Bartha and Emily Price. The Engendering Project is supported in part by the CityArtist Projects 2013, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

The Engendering Project: Ever Betweening
Velocity’s SPEAKEASY Series

October 6, 2013   5-6:30pm Donation

Join director/performer Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh), her project collaborators Kaoru Okumura and Jackie An, and invited guests Michelle Miller, Douglas Ridings, and Tanja Woloshen who recently wrote a thesis on queer identities and butoh (Canada) in a roundtable discussion hosted by Velocity’s Tonya Lockyer focused on gender fluidity and transformation in performance.

Harvest moon over Seattle - 9/19/13

Friday, August 30, 2013

Calling all Maple lovers to mark your calendars for October 5!

by aleks
SJG • 10/29/12 - Osakazuki, area X
Edit 9/24: if you cannot come to the meeting, email any plant committee member for a handout on the 16 featured maples; it contains descriptions of the trees, leaf shapes and colors, their location + pics (the tree itself and the leaves)...

An October Continuing Education class will be on maples in the Japanese Garden in preparation for the Maple Viewing Event on October 13th and for your interests. It will be presented by the Japanese Garden Plant List Committee.

Meet at the Tateuchi Community Room at 10 AM and class will start at 10:00 sharp.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM –General Introduction to (Japanese) Maples and explanation of handouts.

10:30 AM-12 PM—Guided walk of the Japanese Garden to learn about Trees selected for Maple Viewing.

Some of the coming attractions:

SJG • 10/19/12 - Samidare, area Q
SJG • 10/19/11- Vitifolium, area C & Z
SJG • 11/1/12 - Yatsabusa, area C
SJG • 11/1/12 - Yatsabusa, area C

Monday, August 19, 2013

Moon Viewing Event

Posted by Cara I.
SJG• 8/17/13 -
Koto performance by Marcia and Kuniko Takamura© Aurora Santiago

On Saturday night, the Garden held its annual Moon Viewing event – always special because the Garden is only open one night a year. Once a year, the stone lanterns are lit, and candles on small boats sparkle in the pond. Paper lanterns strung on trees are aglow, and luminaria along the paths guide visitors, all to complement the moonlight.

SJG• 8/17/13 - © Aurora Santiago

The event is inspired by otsukimi, or moon-viewing, festivals in Japan. The practice started in the late 8th century CE, when the aristocracy enjoyed the moon’s reflection on the water from boats on lakes and ponds. Traditionally held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar year, moon-viewing in Japan these days means eating round, white dumplings (tsukimi dango) and appreciating the beauty of the harvest moon.

SJG• 8/17/13 - © Aurora Santiago

This past Saturday, almost 300 celebrants at the Seattle Japanese Garden enjoyed an unexpectedly clear (rain was predicted!) and beautiful view of the almost full moon. Visitors sat in the orchard near the moon-viewing platform to see performances of music and dance – koto masters Kuniko and Marcia Takamura, flute (shinobue) player Yasuko Hongo Harris, and the Fujima Dance Ensemble helped us welcome the moon.

Others participated in a moon-viewing tea ceremony with Seattle Tankokai in the teahouse. Members of the Seattle Astronomical Society set up telescopes above the harbor town area so that we could ooh and ahh at detailed, clear images of the moon (There IS a rabbit  pounding rice in it!!). Inspired to creativity, many of us strolled to the east entrance where Haiku Northwest held a haiku writing contest – later, winners’ poems were recited for all to hear, including one about signs in the Garden, especially ‘Please Stay on the Path’, in which the poet noted that the moon does not follow rules….

SJG• 8/17/13  - Yashuko Harris plays shinobue at Moon Viewing celebration
© Aurora Santiago

As night fell, the entire Garden was gently lit by the lanterns and luminaria, and the many flickering, twinkling boats that volunteers launched into the pond. In spite of the crowd, the mood was serene, tranquil.

SJG• 8/17/13 - © Aurora Santiago

Throughout the memorable evening, denizens of the Garden – the koi and turtles, and the crows, squirrels, and bats we don’t see during the day – seemed perplexed but accepting of our intrusion. And the moon kindly watched over us all.

SJG • 8/17/13 • Fujima Dancers  © Aurora Santiago

Friday, August 16, 2013

Wandering and Wondering - butoh in the Garden

by Aurora Santiago

Here are a few photos taken during the Wandering and Wondering performance by Joan Laage and her Daipan Group.  I will be posting the pictures at my flickr site this week -  Aurora's Flickr account here...

SJG - 8/10/13 - © Aurora Santiago
SJG - 8/10/13 - Samuel Yoder © Aurora Santiago
SJG - 8/10/13 - Joan Laage © Aurora Santiago
SJG - 8/10/13 - Michael Shannon © Aurora Santiago
SJG - 8/10/13 -  Bruce Fogg © Aurora Santiago
SJG • 8/10/13 - Kaoru Okumura © Aurora Santiago
SJG • 8/10/13-  Stephen Passero © Aurora Santiago
Domo Arigato to all the dancers and those behind the curtains who made it happen!

* * * * *
Reminder:  MOON VIEWING tomorrow, Saturday, 8/16 at  6-10 pm...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Garden Party pics and handy calendar of SJG events

by aleks
If you attended the SJG Garden Party on 7/26 go to Aurora's Flickr account and contact her if she has your picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/santiagoa/

SJG • 7/26/13 - Auctioned print from the original
paper cutting 'May Shower'  by Aki Sogabe. Photo: Aurora Santiago

SJG • 7/26/13 - Silent auction table; the big print in the background
is a photo/donation from Briand Sanderson, of Ray's photo-workshop.
Photo: Aurora Santiago

SJG • 7/26/13 - Kiyomi Tashiro, Chikuzen Biwa master of the Japan
Arts Connection Lab, plays Biwa ( Japanese Lute).
Photo: Aurora Santiago 

SJG • 7/26/13 - Kimono presentation was conducted by special guest, Yu Ugawa
from Kobe, helped by her daughter Mariko Ugawa Kayama  and  Linda Inagawa.
Here Linda describes the traditional wedding kimono and how it is worn.
Yu Ugawa did the same  in Japanese.  Photo: Aurora Santiago

SJG • 7/26/13 - Kimono presentation was conducted by special guest , Yu Ugawa from Kobe.
helped by her daughter Mariko Ugawa Kayama  and  Linda Inagawa;
the man modeling blue kimono is Dick Foley, the master of ceremonies and auctioneer.
Photo: Aurora Santiago

SJG • 7/26/13 - Yu Ugawa removes Erica's hood to display the beautiful headpiece.
Photo: Aurora Santiago

SJG • 7/26/13 - Yu, Erica and Linda stroll in the garden.
Photo: Aurora Santiago
SJG • 7/26/13 - Garden guest thanks Yu and Erica for the wonderful
kimono presentation.  Photo: Aurora Santiago

• • • • • 

Confused about SJG news/events info coming from too many sources and wondering how to incorporate all of it into your own calendar? Oh, so am I... so here is a friendly PSA combining them all, or most of them, anyway. yours, aleks

for AUGUST 2013:

• 8/10, tomorrow - 2:00-5:00 pm - Wandering and Wondering - local BUTOH artists and musicians (including our guide Joan Laage) performances inspired by the Garden. SJG, just come and enjoy.

• 8/14, Wed. 9:30-11:30am - a tour of Seward Park led by Paul Talbert (PT is involved with the Seward Park Torii restoration project). if interested email Dewey.

• 8/14, Wed.  3:00- 5:00 pm - Mary's retirement party at Sandpoint clubhouse - if you need directions ask Jeanne P.

• 8/17, Sat.  7:00-10 pm  Otsukimi (Moon Viewing)  - report to Rachel for volunteering opportunities.

• 8/24, Sat., 10:30-12:00 noon  - Cont. Ed: Exquisite Japanese garden film—“Dream Window: Reflections on the Japanese Garden.”


• Somewhere in September: photo exhibition of the workshop spring class - stay tuned.

Garden events:
9/15, 2013 (Sunday) - Keiro no Hi (Respect for Elders) - all day, report to Rachel for volunteering
10/13, Sun. - Momijigari (Maple Viewing) - all day, report to Rachel for volunteering

Cont. Ed. meetings: 
•Thur, 9/19, 10:30-12:00 - Robert Hoshide, Architect—Gatehouse Design, Seattle Japanese Garden.
•Thur, 11/ 21, 10:30-12:00 - Masa Mizuno—Maintenance and History of Seattle Japanese Garden.

Japanese Film Club (TCR, 1 PM):
• 9/26, Thursday, 1:00 pm, TCR:  My Neighbor Totoro.  Director:  Hayao Miyazaki.  86 minutes.  
• 10/24, Thursday, 1:00 pm, TCR:    Shishu (Poetic Beauty)Intuition and Feeling in the Japanese Garden. Director:  Marc Keane with Yasuo Kitayama, Joji Hirota.  53 minutes.
• 11/14, Thursday, 1:00 pm, TCR:   Hula Girls.  Director:  San-il Lee.   108 minutes.  2006.