Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Daily tours June through September!

by aleks

Every time I'm in Portland, OR or Vancouver, B.C. I take guided tours of their Chinese and Japanese Gardens. I take it, because they are available, almost hour on the hour, and I always learn something new, and always think that I wish our Garden was that well staffed - with an exception of the 50th anniversary of the Garden last year we usually only offer weekend and wednesday tours, alas.

SJG • 5/20/13

So the most recent email from Mary (our tour coordinator), accompanying June public tour schedule,  put a smile on my face:

Good afternoon, Garden guides. 

June through September your Public Tours are available to lucky visitors
on a daily basis!   Those months bring us the most visitors from far away
places and the same four months attract very few Private Tour requests. 
Summer offers many opportunities for you to spread the Japanese
Garden message throughout our small world. 

Beginning June 1st, Public Tours are scheduled at 12:30 pm every day! 
On Saturdays and Sundays, there will still be the added tour at 2:30 pm. [...]

There are 40 Public Tour assignments on the June schedule. 
With 43 veteran guides self designated as active and available, and the
addition of 15 newly trained guides, staffing this schedule should be easy
as a summer breeze!  Thanks very much to each of you for your close
attention to Garden needs during this busy part of the season.   Mary

• • • • • 
SJG • 5/20/13

 See you in the Garden!

晴耕雨読 (seiko udoku) 
Literally: clear sky, cultivate, rainy, reading 
Meaning: Farm when it's sunny, read when it rains.

Read more:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Invitation to Noh Performances

by Keiko P.
One of the most prominent young Noh Performer, TAKEDA Munenori is coming to this area from Japan. His performing schedule is listed at the end. At these performances, they plan to explain noh and translate the story of the play in English .

Noh is Japanese traditional play. The actors' movements are slow and full of rituals; they are  symbolical and spiritual. Traditionally, the players were all males. Dinah Birch describes noh in The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.) as below. 

Nōh plays 
A form of ceremonial, ritualistic drama peculiar to Japan, slow, symbolical, and spiritual in character. The style originated in the 14th century, was perfected in the 15th, and flourished during the Edo or Tokugawa period (1603–1868). It has since been revived. The plays are short (one or two acts), in prose and verse, and a chorus contributes comments. The scenery and props are minimal, though the masks and costumes are often lavish. They were formerly acted only at the shōgun's court, five or six in succession, presenting a complete life drama, beginning with a play of the divine age, then a battle piece, a ‘play of women’, a psychological piece (dealing with the sins and struggles of mortals), a morality, and finally a congratulatory piece, praising the shōgun's lords and reign. The text was complemented by symbolic gestures, chanting, and music. About 200 Nōh plays are extant. Of these the most interesting are the psychological pieces, in which some type of human character or some intense emotion is taken as the subject. In various respects the Nōh plays are comparable with the early Greek drama. Both Ezra *Pound and W. B. *Yeats were much influenced by the Nōh theatre: in ‘Certain Noble Plays of Japan’ (1916), Yeats describes the impact of its ritual, simplicity, and stylization on his own plays.

The dates and locations of local noh play are as below. Please visit to purchase your tickets. 

(1) Wednesday, June 26th at Jewel Box Theatre, Poulsbo, WA
(Exhibit 7:00 - 8:30pm)
(2) Friday, June 28th at Nikkei place, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(Exhibit 6:00 - 7:30pm)
(3) Saturday June 29th at Act Theatre, Seattle, WA
(Exhibit  2:00 - 3:30pm)
(4) Sunday, June 30th at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge
Island, WA (Exhibit 6:00 - 7:30pm)

For those of you curious to see what noh-play looks like, here is one example of Youtube video I found on noh. 

Reference: Birch, Dinah. "Noh Plays." The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. Web. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Almost everything in bloom now

by aleks
SJG • 5/6/13 - Rh, Altaclarence, area F

'The Garden speaks for itself', as Mary N. put it in her recent email for current assignments...  You can guide without saying much, as visitors are too busy taking all of it in.
SJG • 5/6/13 - Rh. 'Mars' in V area

It will be like this for the reminder of May and some of June: rhododendrons, azaleas, wisteria and irises all on show.
SJG • 5/6/13 - Rhododendron augustinii • rhododendron; Area W (tea House Garden)

Other things Japanese things happening around town:
SJG • 5/6/13 - Rh.arnoldiana, at the foothils of the Garden

• SAAM exhibition: Legends, Tales, Poetry: Visual Narrative in Japanese Art
December 22, 2012–July 21, 2013
We just did DIY tour of the SJG today for the guides and it was a hoot, thanks to Shizue-san and Dewey-san. Keiko-san  couldn't make it, due to the work pressures, but we thank her for the intent!
SJG • 5/6/13 - Rh.  Dawn in L area, along the E path

• Second Thursday Japanese Films : The Tale of Genji
June 13, 2013; 7–9 pm; Stimson Auditorium
The Tale of Genji (1987) Dir. Gisaburo Sugii

Based on the novel by Murasaki Shikibu. Genji, the son of the emperor, is charming and good looking but cannot stop pursuing his father's young and beautiful bride. Genji wanders from one affair to another, seeking fulfillment.

SJG  • 5/6/13 - Rh. moonbeam in V area; long before G and Z  bloom, due to shade

• BOOK READING: Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan by Leslie Helm | Saturday, May 18 @ 4pm

Leslie Helm’s decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family’s 140 years in Japan, beginning with his German great grandfather, who worked as a military adviser in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family’s poignant experiences of love and war help Helm learn to embrace his Japanese and American heritage. This is the first book to look at Japan across five generations with perspective that is both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws on his great grandfather’s unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.
Free | In the Tateuchi Story Theatre at The Wing

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Field Trip for docents to SAAM next Thursday


Our meet-up for a "do-it-ourselves" tour the Japanese Exhibit at Seattle Asian Art Museum is set for THURSDAY MAY 9 at 10:30.

Since the Museum is in Volunteer Park, which is so close to the Garden, car pooling is not necessary. Indeed, check METRO PLANNER to see how to reach it by public transportation.

In case you can not join us, but still wish a tour, public tours are given each Saturday at 11:30.


Dewey W.,  docent
Seattle Japanese Garden

• Thank you docents Shizue-san and Keiko-san for help with this tour!
•• Cliff-notes for 'Tale of Genji' (prominently displayed at this tour) here:

SJG • 5/1/13 - Kasuga lantern at the fork of the Main and E and W paths
SJG • 5/1/13 - magnolia along the W Path