Friday, April 26, 2013

Camellias are out but rhodies are in...

by aleks

SJG • 4/25/13 - Rhododendron Yakushimanum, Area ZZE

In February and March our exquisite camellias lend their color and beauty to the SJG. In April  rhododendrons start to compete, especially the showy ones, of the European breeding.

SJG • 4/26/13 - Rhododendron 'Unique' in area G

By May I usually feel like apologizing to the visitors for all those gaudy colors everywhere: not very Japanese...  But in creation of the Garden in 1960 Mr. Juki Iida remembered that rhododendron is a bellowed plant of PNW, so he included many of them for the local people to relate...

SJG • 4/ 26/13 - Rh. Kaempferi, i think, not sure...

Only when I joined the Plant Committee (responsible for making yearly updates to Kathleen Smith' booklet on the SJG plants) I found out how many of our rhodies are actually of Japanese origin - kurume hybrids or transplanted straight from Japan; they were chosen with great care and are displayed in choice spots to show their beauty.

SJG • 4/26/13 - Rhododendron 'pulchrum'in area I

If you are into garish, blatant color NOW is the time to visit SJG: the rhodies will be on fire for another 4 weeks or so...  More like an impressionist painting, and not subdued Japanese Garden. But what can i tell you? Deal with it.

SJG • 4/26/13 - Rhododendron Japonica is coming to to the neighborhood near you... 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Seattle Japanese Garden Film Series 2013

by Monzie

These films are for all the garden’s volunteers.  The Tateuchi Community Room opens for set-up at 12:45 pm.  Films begin at 1:00 pm. Discussion follows.

Thursday, September 26:   My Neighbor Totoro

Director:  Hayao Miyazaki

In this leading example of Japan’s highly popular animated films, two young girls, Satsuki and her younger sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother.  Satsuki and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoro (pronounced toe-toe-ro).  They soon befriend Totoro and have several magical adventures.  86 minutes.  2006

Thursday, October 24:    Shishu (Poetic Beauty) Intuition and Feeling in the Japanese Garden

Director:  Marc Keane with Yasuo Kitayama, Joji Hirota

Harmonious balance of thought and feeling, spirit and matter, is at the heart of the Japanese aesthetic.  Shishu is an elegant and poetic study of the Japanese garden that draws together the diverse threads that makes up one of the world’s oldest garden traditions and covers nature and man as sacred, origins of the Japanese garden aesthetic, Zen garden culture, the tea garden, the period from the Edo garden forward and the heart in the garden.  53 minutes. 

Thursday, November 14:     Hula Girls
Director:  San-il Lee

Young women in a small Japanese mining town look forward to renewing their community’s declining fortunes by building a Hawaiian tourist attraction. The film is based on the true story of Joban coal mine in which dwindling production caused the company to develop a radical “Hawaii Paradise” tourism plan in 1964.  The mine is not far from the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant.  108 minutes.  2006.

Playbill by: Shizue, Aleks, Dewey, Joan, the film non-committee

Monday, April 8, 2013

SJG photo-workshop and haiku information

by aleks
Photo: Ray Pfortner
•  Spring photo-workshop at the SJG with Ray Pfortner is coming soon - April 26/27 and May 10/11 - with a show in TCR in the fall.  Registration started  March 12 at Don't miss it, if you are interested - this 4-session class is a dream-come-true for all SJG photographers.
Cost: $200 with a $20 materials fee.  Instructor: Ray Pfortner |
Link to full flyer here.

• The SJG 2013 new Docent Training is winding down and almost finished (Day 5 - the last, is this wednesday).  One of the things cut off from the training due to the time constrains was haiku instruction, so the students will have to tackle that on their own. To make it easier on them here is  'Haiku and haiga resources' page, with a list of useful links in google docs (anybody with link can go there, no registration required).

• Our esteemed late guide, Jesse Hiraoka explained once that it’s up to the reader to interpret haiku, depending on one’s perspective, experience and understanding of the world; the 5 different translations of the same 'spring haiku' by Matsuo Basho below are examples of this concept.

Haru nare ya / na mo naki yama no / usugasumi
Matsuo Basho (1644-93)

• • •
Spring - through 

morning mist 

what mountains there?

Translated by Lucien Stryck

• • •
it’s spring now, yes spring!
above the nameless mountains
a faint haze and mist

Translated by Dr. Tim Chilcott

• • •
Yes, spring has come 

This morning a nameless hill 

Is shrouded in mist.

Translated by R.H.Blyth

• • •
A hill without a name
Veiled in morning mist.

Translated by Geoffrey Bownas And Anthony Thwaite

• • •
Spring morning marvel 

lovely nameless little hill 

on a sea of mist

Translated by Peter Beilenson

 As if to help you, new guides, and for enjoyment to all: Seattle Public Library is celebrating National Poetry Month in April by sharing 30 winning haikus from  the library readers - to read them all, go the library website;  also, the SPL main page,,  opens each day with a different haiku... 

Here is the beginning of the Seattle Times 4/8/13 article It’s haiku heaven at Seattle Public Library:  Seatttleites love their libraries. They check out literally millions of items — 11.5 million books, movies, DVDs and CDs (both hard copy and digital) in 2012 alone. They flock to author readings, queue up for story times, register for how-to and self-improvement sessions. They raise their own taxes to keep the libraries open, in an era when many cities are hammering plywood over library doors.  And they even write poetry to the library. [...]   For the rest of the article go here.... 

(The article's last sentences, about syllable count, promotes very common misconception of haiku in English, but I'll let it rest here, see the haiku above: some of them do, and some don't observe 5/7/5 formula. Hint: unlike Japanese, the English language has many one-syllable words, so it's easy to over-talk haiku; try the shortest version of your poem instead.)

SJG • 4/4/13 - Rain on the Turtle Island, seen through weeping willow branches