Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kurama-dera Temple & Murin-an

11/25/14: Planning coffee near train station at Kurama

From Peggy:
11/23: Today, the entire group, minus Cara & Kim who are now on to Tokyo, took a train ride up into the mountains to Kurama.  Later, Steve & I went to Murin-an and then to Shoren-in Temple that was lit for night. Again, long lines to get in at Shoren-in, but the people keep moving and if you are patient, you get to see everything. 

Everyone went different ways today. Dewey & some went to Lake Biwa. Steve & I went to Ryoan-ji, Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Pavilion) & Kyoto Botanic Garden. 

We all met for a final dinner together, but forgot to take any pictures. We we having too much fun together. 

Nov. 2014 - Kurama: on the mountain trail

Kurama-dera (鞍馬寺?) is a temple in the far north of Kyoto, Japan which houses some National Treasures of Japan. It was a member of the Tendai sect and subordinate to Shōren-in from the 12th century until 1949 when it founded its own religious body. The object of worship is esoteric and unique to the temple. It is said to have been founded by a disciple of Jianzhen.

Situated in secluded wilderness at the base of Mount Kurama, it is accessible by its own cable car line, the Kurama-dera Cable. [...] It is an extremely popular temple for Japanese people to visit, owing to the many mysteries and occult events surrounding it, but does not appear in most English language guidebooks. [...] More here....

Nov. 2014 - Murin-an, historic residence: garden

Murin-an (無鄰菴?) is a Japanese garden in Kyoto, built by political and military leader Yamagata Aritomo between 1894 and 1898. It is an example of a classical Japanese promenade garden of the Meiji Period. [...]

Yamigata Aritomo was an important figure in the politics and military affairs of the Meiji Period. Born into an old Samurai family and devoted to military affairs, he traveled to Europe in 1869 as part of a delegation of experts to study the Prussian Army, and when he returned he helped re-organize the Japanese Army on the Prussian model. He became Minister of War in 1873, and was twice Prime Minister of Japan, from 1889 to 1891 and from 1898 to 1900.  [...] More here...

Nov. 2014 - Murin-an, historic residence: entrance

Our field-trippers are starting to come home this week, on different flights, different days and ways.  Have all safe trip home! 

Here is a fitting Kobayashi Issa haiku from 1816 for your trip:

botsu-botsu to neko made kaeru yozamu kana

one by one
even the cats come home...
cold nights

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Japan field trip: all the gardens, all the time - from Peggy

Peggy had trouble emailing photos from her iPad, but once she figured it out, we get to see the collection of the gardens our guides visited.  I'm posting just one photo from each garden, not to break the blogger, but I hope that when Peggy gets back she puts all her photos on a flickr account, and I will link to it from here. THANKS PEGGY!!! aleks

The Sentō Imperial Palace (仙洞御所 Sentō-gosho?) 22 acres  is a large garden in Kyoto, Japan, formerly the grounds of a palace for retired emperors (Emperor Daijō). [...] Sento Imperial Palace was completed in 1630 for Emperor Go-Mizunoo's retirement, along with the corresponding Ōmiya Palace for the Empress Dowager Nyoin. Both palaces were repeatedly destroyed by fire and reconstructed until a blaze in 1854, after which the Sento palace was never rebuilt. More here....

Our guides in Sento Gosho Imperial Garden - 11/19/14

The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa (修学院離宮 Shugaku-in Rikyū?), or Shugaku-in Detached Palace, is a set of gardens and outbuildings (mostly tea-houses) in the hills of the eastern suburbs of Kyoto, Japan (separate from the Kyoto Imperial Palace). It is one of Japan's most important large-scale cultural treasures; its gardens are one of the great masterpieces of Japanese gardening. More here...

Shugaku-in Imperial Garden. Upper garden of 3 with pond a fabulous Shakkei - 11/19/14

The Katsura Imperial Villa (桂離宮 Katsura Rikyū?), or Katsura Detached Palace, is a villa with associated gardens and outbuildings in the western suburbs of Kyoto, Japan (in Nishikyō-ku, separate from the Kyoto Imperial Palace). It is one of Japan's most important large-scale cultural treasures.

Its gardens are a masterpiece of Japanese gardening, and the buildings are even more important, one of the greatest achievements of Japanese architecture. The palace includes a shoin ("drawing room"), tea houses, and a strolling garden. It provides an invaluable window into the villas of princes of the Edo period. More here...

Katsura Imperial Garden - Recognize the rocky peninsula? 11/22/14

Tenryū-ji (天龍寺?)—more formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji (天龍資聖禅寺?)—is the head temple of the Tenryū branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, located in Susukinobaba-chō, Ukyō Ward, Kyoto, Japan. The temple was founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, primarily to venerate Gautama Buddha, and its first chief priest was Musō Soseki. Construction was completed in 1345. As a temple related to both the Ashikaga family and Emperor Go-Daigo, the temple is held in high esteem, and is ranked number one among Kyoto's so-called Five Mountains.  More here...

Tenryu-ji: with hundreds of others to see the fall colors - 11/22/14

Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺?, lit. "Temple of the Silver Pavilion"), officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺?, lit. "Temple of Shining Mercy"), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represent the Higashiyama Culture of Muromachi period.   Ashikaga Yoshimasa initiated plans for creating a retirement villa and gardens as early as 1460;[1] and after his death, Yoshimasa would arrange for this property to become a Zen temple. More here...

Ginkaku-ji - 11/22/14

Byōdō-in (平等院?) is a Buddhist temple in the city of Uji in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.[1] It is jointly a temple of the Jōdo-shū (Pure Land) and Tendai-shū sects.  This temple was originally built in 998 in the Heian period as a rural villa of high ranking courtier Minamoto no Shigenobu, Minister of the Left. The property was purchased from Minamoto no Shigenobu's wife after he died by Fujiwara no Michinaga, one of the most powerful members of the Fujiwara clan. The villa was made into a Buddhist temple by Fujiwara no Yorimichi in 1052.  More here...

Byodo-in; Steve & Peggy joined several hundred at Byodo-in today (11/22) to see the Phoenix Temple with only a handful of non-Japanese in the mix.  It was 70 degrees and a gorgeous day!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Field-trip to Japan continues...

• From Dewey -  meeting locals:
Japan, Nov. 21,  2014: meeting locals (from Dewey)
Japan, Nov. 21, 2014: meeting locals (from Dewey)

• From Steve - Just another day in Kyoto:
Japan, Nov. 21, 2014: Just another day in Kyoto (from Steve)

• From Ruth:  'Well, on the 3rd day we lost our smartphone and so have had no way to send emails or to phone except by using our group leaders phone.  There are not internet cafes anymore because everyone has their own phone!  So we found an international community house with computers and a library and a wonderful space to hang out when it starts raining.

We have been so lucky with weather.  Partly sunny every day and no rain.  All the maples are at their peak and it is cold enouh at night that the leaves are staying on.  The town is ugly gray boxes but the gardens and hills all around are spectacular.  More wonderful than I imagined from the books and photos--but you know me, I have to feel things.'

• From Peggy - Saiho-ji Moss Garden:

Japan, Nov. 21, 2014: Saiho-ji Moss Garden (from Peggy)
Japan, Nov. 21, 2014: Saiho-ji Moss Garden (from Peggy)
Thank you, Gang! We appreciate all your reports, here,  back home in seattle (it rains here now)...  aleks

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kodai-ji - Lit at Night from Peggy in Japan

Well, our field-trippers are not just eating in  Japan, although that must be fun, too. Feast your eyes on the picks Peggy G. took of Kodai-ji.  (Kodai-ji is a zen temple established at the beginning of 17th century in Kyoto - more info here).  Thank you, Peggy, for great photos!

Kodai-ji - Lit at Night, 11/15/14

Kodai-ji - Lit at Night, 11/15/14

Kodai-ji - Lit at Night, 11/15/14

Kodai-ji - Lit at Night, 11/15/14

Kodai-ji - Lit at Night, 11/20/14

And Dewey reports: Katsura has taken all pines, plants off middle island of amanohashidate...."got too big and crowded".  Mother Nature Spurs growth, Japanese gardens tamp it down....

Dewy included the picture below with his Katsura report   - thank you Dewey!

man on the ladder, fear little pine... (caption by aleks)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Leaving Kyoto & waiting for bus to Katsura

Our Field Trippers to Japan, that is.  I do not think they sleep at all. Below pics from the last 24 hrs from Dewey - enjoy!

This batch came with a headline: 'Cara and Kim leave us tomorrow so we are having our first and last dinner together; do you know everyone's names?' (I do, but won't help internet snoopers, so posting without names):

Our guides in Japan, November 2014

Our guides in Japan, November 2014

Our guides in Japan, November 2014

Next batch was titled: 'now we have had too much beer', but only more food in the pictures:

Our guides in Japan, November 2014 - food tour?:)

Separate batch came from Kyoto, captions by Dewey:

Roof top garden.... [Kyoto, 2014]

Christmas has come to the stores  [Kyoto, 2014]

Hmmmmm....  [Kyoto, 2014]

Lunch....  [Kyoto, 2014]

latest from the station while waiting for bus to Katsura;
traditional Japanese restaurant - [Kyoto, 2014]
Thank you, Dewy, and how come we didn't include your group's report from the trip to Japan for 2015 continuing ed. calendar?  Will have to make a special session, I guess. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

HELLO from our guides in Japan!

by Dewey (in Japan)
I wrote our docents on a field-trip to Japan:  'dear field-trippers, can you spare a picture for the guides back home?'... I asked them to share their smart phone takes.  This is Dewey's photo-report, see if you can decipher it :). i wrote back 'than kju, Dewey. :)  aleks  (captions are Dewey's)

Dinner when group growing. [Japan, Nov. 2014]

Hi Aleks

Whywhy are you not here with us?
And take your own damn pictures on your own smart phone?

We are a smart phone challenge group. I think Peggy G. good do it. I can do it. Car I has not been able to be with us much. But she might be aable to do it. She's away is not. Ruth lost her phone. There does not have one. I forget to use mine. So my images are allin memory cards so don't be surprised if response is muted.

More as it happens
Bye for now! じゃ、またね!再见👋

Jizo's protecting us on the road [Japan, Nov. 2014]
English menu outfront of a noodle shop [Japan, Nov. 2014)
Not the alone at famous Gardens [Japan, Nov. 2014)
Special display for autumn season. Site of light show at night. Steven and Peggy went to it. They liked it. [Japan, Nov. 2014]
The priest  Mark arranged to teach us  Zen 101 [Japan, Nov. 2014]
Resent fad is do do the maple leaf rag in kimonos. Old fad of doing gestures for photos still continues [Japan, Nov. 2014]

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Maple Show is OVER!

by Maggie C. (text) and aleks (pics)
SJG •  11/8/14 - Koto-no-Ito maple in the courtyard;
Maggie:  'Acer palmatum ‘Koto-no-Ito - Terrific!'

Last Saturday we had a continuing education class on fall maples in Japanese Garden. A few days before the event Maggie went to the Garden to inspect the trees and this is what she reported to the rest of the Plant List Committee (a hapless group that was tasked with educating/informing the rest of docents on the autumnal state of our maples):

SJG • 11/8/14 - Koto-no-Ito leaves:  each year's new growth produces wider leaves, with more chlorophyl in them: after the leaves drop, they reemerge in spring in narrower form, which results in temporary two-tone autumn color:  this year's leaves are still green while re-emerged leaves are narrow and already turned into yellow  strings.

Hello Plant Listers,

I visited the garden today to take a look at the Maples.  And the news isn’t very good…Here is a summary:

Acer capillipes - very few leaves in area Z;  more leaves remain in are M, but they are pretty brown

‘Burgandy Lace’ - okay for leaves, but the color is dull

Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ - maybe 10 brown shaggy leaves left

Acer palmatum ‘Shigitatsu sawa’ - mabye 20 brown shaggy leaves left

Acer circinatum - no leaves left

Acer nikoense - Actually quite a few colorful red leaves

Acer palmatum ‘Samidare’ - still leaves on the tree, and they are dull yellow or green

Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ - still green leaves on the tree; at the treetop, a few changing to yellow 

Acer plamatum ‘Omato’ - forgot to make a note, but think the leaves are on and are red

Acer palmatum ‘Tsuma Gake’ - leaves on…the fall color is dull brown

Acer palmatum ‘Koto-no-Ito - Terrific!

Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki Akame’ - Terrific!

Acer griseum Paper Bark Maple - very few leaves; mostly old samaras

Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ - leaves all gone

Acer palmatum ‘Yatsubusa’ - many rather dull brown leaves

Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ - Area B specimen has no leaves; Area C has orange leaves

SJG • 11/8/14 - Acer palmatum 'Dissectum' in Area C: few orange leaves still attached, but most of them are blanketing the ground below the tree (a.p. 'Dissectum' in Area B is completely bare)

The combo of such a warm fall, then rain and wind, and the Maple Tour scheduled this late in the fall, our tour is a bit compromised.   What is providing color…the Ginkos, Acer Japonica, and blooming Camellia Sasanquas.

Thinking that the paucity of the maples might shorten the tour,   maybe we spend a bit more time in the Tateuchi room talking about the maples?  We hand our the  Maples booklet, the glossary, bibliography, and the Maple Information sheet, right? 


SJG • 11/8/14 euonymus myrianthus fruit
in Area S (native to W. China)
SJG • 11/8/14 - euonymus hamiltonianus
in Area L (native to Japan to Himalayas)

Maple leaves being or not being there, we still had a grand time: looked at magnificent ginkos,  blooming camellias, euonymus and persimmon in fruit.

SJG • 11/8/14 - diospyros kaki or Chinese Persimmon in the orchard: quite a few fruits  this year  (first fruit in 2004), but what about its yellow leaves? Unlike in Issa's 1813 haiku (trans. by David Lanoue):
kaki no ha ya makka ni natte sugu ni chiru
persimmon leaves--
once they turn crimson
game over