Monday, December 7, 2015

Two presentations on Japanese Garden

Time: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 3:30 PM
Place: UW Arboretum Foundation, 2300 Arboretum Drive East
           Seattle, WA 98112 (Both with Power Point Presentation)

“Design of Kurimoto Japanese Garden at University of Alberta”
by Dr. Isao Nakase, University of Hyogo, Japan

“Garden of Enlightenment of Tohoku”
 by Koichi Kobayashi, Seattle, USA

      San Diego, CA
      Los Angels, CA
      Saratoga. CA
      Seattle, WA
      Vancouver B.C.
      January 15-25, 2016

Isao Nakase Presents:

① 日本庭園におけるデザインアイデア  Design ideas in Japanese Garden
     自然立地が庭園の基本 : 京都の庭と借景 Base for Japanese Garden-Kyoto Garden
     否定の美の観点から見た日本庭園: Japanese Garden as seen from denial
     デザイン技法 : 縮景・借景、多様な感覚(有機感覚)、スケール感、時間などについて。

②クリモト庭園のコンセプトと設計のついて Concept for Kurimoto Garden
     日本風カナダ庭園 : なぜ、緑豊かなエドモントンに日本庭園 Why in Edmonton?
      地域主義の庭園 : 地元の素材 、技術、人材 High localization

Koichi Kobayashi Presents :

Reflections from "Garden of Enlightenment of Tohoku"
North American's participation on building a commemorative Japanese Garden for victims of 2011 Earthquake Disaster and Recovery. Introduction to 2016 Program and beyond.

A. Design of Kurimoto Japanese Garden at University of Alberta

The Kurimoto Japanese Garden began with the approval of a proposal by Dr. Marion Shipley and the Friends of the Devonian Botanic Garden in 1978. The garden is named after Dr. Yuichi Kurimoto, who was the first Japanese national to graduate from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Arts in 1930. The two Mayday trees, located on the centre hill, were planted by Hiroshi Kurimoto in memory of his parents in 1993.

The Kurimoto Japanese Garden's main purpose is to provide a cultural exchange between the Japanese and Canadians. This exchange has created a place for meditation and contemplation, rather than just another pretty garden. The garden is the creation of the designer, the late Tadashi Kubo, Kubo and Associates, Osaka, Japan. It was implemented by his representative Kozo Mitani, Japan. An attempt is made to idealize or make abstractions of the surrounding nature. There are subtleties left untouched in the garden where visitors are left create images in their own minds. Thus, each person entering and leaving the garden gates forms his or her own interpretation of the garden.

Isao Nakase, PhD
Director General, Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo  
Professor Emeritus, University of Hyogo

Born in 1948 in Osaka Prefecture, and completes a master’s course in agriculture at Graduate School of Osaka Prefectural University.  Before taking the current post, I served as an instructor, and Associate Professor at Osaka Prefectural University, and a visiting scholar at University of California, Berkeley.  I took my PhD in agriculture at Kyusyu University.  I was awarded a prize by Japanese Institute of Landscape Architects.
My main publications include: American Landscape no Shiso (“Concepts of American Landscape”), Kashima Institute of Publishing Co., Ltd.; Mori, Hito, Machizukuri (“Forest, Humans, and Urban Planning”), Gakugei Shuppan-sha; Kankyo wo Mamorisodateru Gijyutsu (“Technology Protecting and Nurturing the Environment: Environmental Strategies for Self-Governing Bodies and Communities”), Gyosei Corporation; Kodomono tameno Asobi Kankyo (“The Environment for Children’s Playing”), Kashima Institute of Publishing Co., Ltd.; Midori-Kukan no Universal Design (“Universal Design for Greenery Environments”), Gakugei Syuppan-sha; Anzen to Saisei no Machizukuri (“Safe, Reproductive Urban Planning”), Gakugei Syuppan-sha.
I had been appointed as a president of Japanese Institute of Landscape Architects, a vice president of Japanese Society of People-Plant Relationship, a member of Independent Administrative Institution Evaluation Committee of Ministry of Finance Japan, a temporary member of Central Environmental Council Japan, a committee member of Japan Groundwork Association, a member of an environmental assessment committee in Hyogo Prefecture, a member of a local urban planning council in Hyogo Prefecture, a member of a council for lives of residents in Hyogo Prefecture, and Director of Tamba no Mori Association.  I am also involved in NPOs by working as a member of an executive committee of a national citizens’ summit for dragonflies, and as a director-general of Hanshin Green Network for reconstructing areas damaged by the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake.

B. Garden of Enlightenment of Tohoku

There are many of you who have benefited overtime being associated with Japan or apprenticed and studied in Japan, yet some of you including myself, who do not know how to assist Tohoku, Japan for their recovery from disasters of March 11, 9011, in some meaningful and constructive way.

There is a unique opportunity to assist in building a Japanese Garden near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. This garden, when completed, will be a memorial and prayer for victims of disaster and commemorate their efforts in recovery and future development.

Designing and building of this garden is organized by Sendai Chapter of the Japanese Garden Society. It is being built on a five year program with a completion date set at 2019 to coincide with the society's 100 year anniversary.

The garden has been under construction and constatnt design improvement for the last three years under careful eyes of Japanese garden masters of Masaki Kikuchi, Eietsu Yokoyama and Yoshinori Hirose of the Garden Society of Japan.

This presentation is about the purpose of the garden, people involved and our (Team North America) participation in the project, 2015.

Koichi Kobayashi, JILA
Principal, Kobayashi Global of Seattle
Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Hyogo University

Koichi served as the President of Puget Sound Japanese Garden Society and Kobayashi & Associates. His practice and teaching covers both sides of the Pacific. Koichi Kobayashi, A.S.L.A., J.I.L.A., is a registered Landscape Architect, and has over 40 years experience in the fields of landscape architecture, urban design and environmental planning. .Hs education includes a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972 and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Kyoto University, Japan in 1968.Since starting his own firm in 1981, Koichi has been involved with all the projects completed by the firm. His work experience covers USA, Canada, Japan, China, Korea and Dubai. He has served as an Executive Board Member of WASLA (1988,1992) as well as a number of other professional and civic commissions and boards in Washington and Ohio as well as  in Japan. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Japanese Institute of Landscape Architects and North American Japanese Garden Society. He is a recipient of a number of awards including American President Design Excellence and Federal Design Achievement and Japanese Institute of Landscape Architectural Award. Currently he is based  out of Seattle, Washington, USA, serving domestic as well as overseas clients , NPOs and volunteer organizations.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Guest Performers of Japanese Music & Dance from Japan

Wariki (see below) will provide a free lecture / demo on taiko drums, Japanese dance, fue (flute) and shamisen (3-stringed Japanese instrument):

When: Jan 15, 2016, 2:45 p.m 
Where: Carlson Theater at Bellevue College (3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007). 

*Free Japanese snacks available in the Carlson lobby

Wariki, a three-man group, will be coming from Japan to Bellevue this January as part of the 2nd Annual Bellevue World Taiko Festival.  On Friday, January 15, they will also be giving a free lecture / demonstration for the Bellevue College community. Everyone is welcome.

Wariki is dedicated to the re-creation of traditional art forms into theatrical productions. Wariki’s members are masters of their instruments and traditional performing art forms and have been performing individually for more than 30 years. They have been touring and performing  in Japan and around the world (US, Canada, Europe, etc.) as a group since the group’s founding over 15 years ago. 

This event is sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islanders Student Association and Katarou-kai, a Japanese language culture exchange club of Bellevue College. (edited by Keiko)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

紅葉狩り • Momijigari (maple viewing) goes on

SJG • 10/21/15 - our magnificent lace leaf maple (acer palmatum dissectum) 

by aleks
In summer of 1973 the builder of our garden, Juki Iida, travelled to Seattle for 2 weeks and it was the first time he saw the garden 13 years after he created it...  Everyone was wondering what his reaction would be to see the garden somewhat matured and closer to what his vision for the garden was, when he built it.

SJG • 10/21/15 - Dobashi (earthen bridge) & Yatsuhasi (8-plank bridge) amids  autumn colors

Well, there is a record of what he thought, because upon return to Japan he penned an article about the garden and his experience of re-visiting it for Niwa magazine.  Julie Coryell and Shizue Prohaska recently translated that article to English, and it will be the topic of the next post;  for a teaser let's just say he found things in the garden he wasn't too wild about.

SJG • 10/27/15 - Osakazuki akame maple screening the tea house...  HI, Mary Ann Wiley, this maple was planted in your memory.

In the meantime enjoy a few pics of Momijigari progress during the last two weeks.

SJG • 10/27/15 - people resting on the bench by the katsuga style lantern 

SJG - 10/27/15 - East path of the Garden

To put you in the 1960s mood, when our Garden was created,  a song ‘Ue o muite arukou' by Kyu Sakamoto - the number one song of 1961 in Japan:

'The song was picked up in 1963, one-and-a-half years after its initial release, by a foreign record label executive visiting Japan. Later that year the song was released internationally in among others the US and the UK, making Sakamoto Japan’s internationally best known singer.' 
- See more about the artist and the song at:

Monday, October 12, 2015

A few pics from Maple Viewing 2015

by aleks
SJG • 10/11/15 - Taiko drummers and onlookers celebrate Momijigari
SJG • 10/11/15 - Taiko drummers 

SJG • 10/11/15  

SJG • 10/11/15 - Waterfall

Kobayashi Issa, 1808

aki kaze ni kotoshi haetaru momiji kana

in autumn wind
this year's crop...
red leaves
Translated by David G. Lanoue

SJG • 10/11/15 - Tea House Garden

Saturday, October 10, 2015

紅葉狩り •  Momijigari (Maple Viewing) + books, films, butoh

by aleks
SJG • 10/10/15: Red leaves of Japanese Fullmoon Maple (Acer japonicum 'Vitifolium') in area C 

紅葉狩り • MOMIJIGARI  (Maple Viewing) starts tomorrow, October 11: we have 3 tours scheduled to guide you on your visit to our stunning maples.  16 of our most remarkable specimens are temporarily labeled, a practice definitely un-Japanese, but we do this exception for a short time in fall (till the leaves fall down) so the visitors can combine enjoyment with learning pleasures regarding those exotic Asian beauties.  The trees are READY for you!

SJG • 10/10/15 - Our garden, as seen through TCR  door

Our continuing ed. classes for the guides (and friends) offer us many unusual glimpses into Japanese culture: we have lectures, but also a film club, book club, plant classes and field trips.  I have to say that despite being a guide for 10+ years, until very recently  I felt slightly like an usurper: the Japanese culture as far away from the one I grew up in  as from the one I presently live in: how come  I am allowed to go around and give tours of this place?  'Well, somebody has to' I used to quell my anxieties, so  this multi-faceted exposure is doing what no guide training could ever do for me:  things I read, heard and was lectured about, are finally falling into place like a puzzle on its way to some probable completion, instead of having 1000 pieces scattered randomly.

SJG • Persimmons are getting ripe...

Our last BOOK CLUB was a very spirited discussion about Ruth Ozeki 'A Tale for the Time Being', but we still have one meeting to go: on October 21 the group will be talking about 'The Life of Isamu Noguchi' (2004) by Masayo Duus.  Who in Seattle is not familiar with Black Sun sculpture (although some see a donut there),  a 1969 work by Isamu Noguchi in Volunteer Park?  The view from the sculpture includes the Space Needle, Olympic Mountains, and Elliott Bay. Be warned thought: the library queue for the book is so long you will probably have to buy it in order to finish reading on time.

SJG • 10/10/15: The fall leaf, hanging in the air on a a spider web...

The FILM CLUB is done for the 2015 season, and we closed with 'Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things', directed by Masaki Kobayashi (1964).  I want to use this space to tell you that if you are striving to understand the Japanese culture you definitely should see it!  The film is described and categorized in English as 'horror', so I joined the screening  somewhat reluctantly as I don't find this  particular genre especially appealing.

But Kaidan (怪談) (sometimes transliterated kwaidan) is a Japanese word consisting of two kanji: 怪 (kai) meaning “strange, mysterious, rare or bewitching apparition" and 談 (dan) meaning “talk” or “recited narrative”  (from wikipedia), which slightly explains why I was pleasantly surprised that I did not see I thought I would... It is a hauntingly beautiful film consisting of four separate stories, based on Lafcadio Hearn's collections of Japanese folk tales. And there you have it: those a bit hard to penetrate tales of Heike, imperial court intrigues and zen philosophy suddenly get a backdrop that makes them accessible... The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.   Roger Ebert described Kwaidan as "an assembly of ghost stories that is among the most beautiful films I've seen" and I share his opinion.

BUTOH reminder:  next Saturday, October 17th, 8 pm in Taoist Studies Institute: An evening of two new butoh works inspired by Polish theater director Tadeusz Kantor
8 pm @ Taoist Studies Institute, 225 N 70th St, Seattle 98103
Tickets $12 or $15 at the door. Reservations are highly recommended:

SJG • 10/10/15: full moon maple leaf on the path

And finally, a thrilling BOOK I just came across: ‘Garden Plants of Japan’  by Ran-Levy-Yamamori and Gerard Taafee (2004): same plants as in our Garden + oodles of useful info on how those plants do in their native habitat: what a great cultural/botanical/geographical/climate read!  For instance, did you know that cryptomeria japonica grows in wild on both sides of the islands?  But here is a clincher:  cryptomeria on the side of the Sea of Japan adapted to a heavy snowfall with branches that sweep downwards, allowing snow to slide off them without causing much damage to the trees; while cryptomeria on the Pacific Ocean side have branches that are more horizontal and cannot bear big amounts of snow. Amazing...

Kaidan trailer:

Monday, September 14, 2015

秋の七草 • Aki-no Nanakusa / (Seven Flowers of Autumn) + plant class & books

by aleks
Several years ago when the plant committee was researching plants in a small bed by azumaya, we found out that 4 or 5 of of them belong to seven representative flowers of autumn  - Aki-no Nanakuksa / 秋の七草 (as opposed to the Seven Herbs in Spring (Haru-no Nanakusa /  春の七草) which are edible wild herbs of spring.)

A poem by Yamanoue-no Okura (660–733), from the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry goes like this:

秋の野に 咲きたる花を 指折り(およびをり)
かき数ふれば 七種(ななくさ)の花
Aki-no No-ni Sakitaru Hana-wo Oyobiori
Kakikazoureba Nanakusa-no Hana
(Meaning: When I count on my fingers the flowers that bloom in the autumn fields, I find there are seven.)

萩の花 尾花 葛花 瞿麦の花 姫部志
また藤袴 朝貌の花
Hagi-no Hana Obana Kuzuhana Nadeshiko-no Hana Ominaeshi Mata Fujihakama Asagao-no Hana
(Meaning: Bush clover, Japanese pampas grass, Pueraria lobata, dianthus, Patrinia Scabiosaefolia, thoroughwort and bellflower.)

SJG • 9/9/15:  HAGI, bush clover or lespedeza

Struck by this 'coincidence' I wrote to Jim Thomas, a former head gardener in SJG:

dear Jim,

this is aleks, of the SJG plant group. some time ago we discovered that the small flower bed south of azumaya contains 4 of the 7 autumn flowers ((susuki/miscanthus, hagi/lespedeza, fujibakama/eupatorium & kikyo/platycodon).

 we think it is no accident and want to ask you if you know the story behind it, or perhaps you heard something  from Mr. Yamasaki (if the flower bed was planted before your  time in the garden….  in september we are doing a cont. ed. class for the guides that includes the 7 flowers of autumn and appearance of some of them in our garden - any of your thoughts on the topic much appreciated!

many thanks! aleks

p.s. we understand that the missing kudzu and, to some extend, patrinia are invasive and probable reason for omission, but who knows why the pink is missing, too… well, the usually strong eupatorium didn’t show up this year - speculation is the heat and lack f water did it, hopefully temporarily only.  

Jim answered:

Hello Aleks,
You are right, the planting at the Azumaya was no accident. Shortly after taking charge at the Garden I read through Prof. Iida's writings and descriptions of our garden. He talked about an orchard of cherry trees under planted with the "seven flowers of Autumn". 

With Bonnie Mitchell's help I found the names of the plants. Unfortunately only the Hagi and Suzuki are the native Japanese species. The rest are the proper genus but a western species. I did have pinks initially. They fell victim to the slugs and didn't get replaced. 

My intention was to create beds of these plants throughout the orchard adding interest and reducing the amount of lawn to mow. 

I also had Hagi and Suzuki plants at the south end of the orchard. However I think the site was too shady for them. 

I hope this information helps with your class. And thank you for your continued support of the Garden.

Jim Thomas 
SJG• 9/9/15 - Susuki, or zebra grass, behind hagi...

And Hiroko (of the Plant Group) commented:

Hi all,
Jim gave us a very interesting information. I have never read Mr. Iida’s writing mentioning the planting of seven fall flowers. I have one article by Mr. Iida which I am sure you all have. That was included in the training folder. I also have the same article in original Japanese which I treasure. He does not mention anything about the seven flowers in the orchard in the article, and there must be another writing by Mr. Iida which Jim must have read somewhere, and I would love to read it.

I think we should mention Mr. Iida’s original idea of planting seven flowers of autumn in our garden in the training material this fall. Mr. Iida’s style of stroll garden was new and unique during his career in that he incorporated more natural scenery like grove of mixed trees (copse) into a traditional Japanese garden. After the WWII, suburbs of Tokyo was rapidly urbanized and nature was gradually disappearing from the daily life. Mr. Iida tried to make nature more accessible to people by creating public parks in more natural style with grove of mixed trees which were abundant a few decades before around Tokyo. This historical assessment of Mr. Iida’s work is from what I read in a Japanese book. I will bring the book to the next meeting.  

I think his idea of planting seven flowers of autumn in the Japanese garden is in line with his creating more natural style garden to convey the feeling of undisturbed field with wild flowers.

Thank you for your patience reading my thoughts. I would love to hear your thoughts, too.

SJG - 9/7/15: the Garden starts to have that autumny feel...

Jim also said this about the moss in our Garden (we are researching moss, as well):

I don't have a specific recollection of where I read Prof Iida's mention of the seven flowers. Possibly in the Arboretum Bulletin. In the article he talked about different areas of the garden. His description of the orchard was something about it being "a table land above the lake" having cherry trees and the seven flowers. 

Regarding moss in the garden. You probably know that the most desirable type is Polytrichum or hair cap moss. It is one of many in the garden. The original members of Unit #86 used to make field trips to collect it to plant in the garden. Later we propagated it at the Park Department nursery. Transplanting it into the garden wasn't always successful. So that effort ended and we let the native mosses colonize on their own. I never pursued the nomenclature of the other mosses as their classification is based on their reproductive structures and was more important in my botany classes in college than in the garden. 
One interesting note. During Bonnie Mitchell and Urasenke's tenure in the garden, she would have her students clean the tea garden before going inside the tea house. The regular sweeping with bamboo brooms removed the light green sheet moss and the Sugi (hair cap) moss colonized behind it. 

A really informative article about 7 flowers of autumn from the Urasenke Foundation of San Francisco here - enjoy!

Guess what: the next Cont. Ed. class (Sat., September 19, 10:30 am) for the guides is on the plants of our Garden and it contains info on Seven flowers of Autumn!  Hope you can join us!

• • • •
BOOKS!:  we had a very lively book club discussion on Ruth Ozeki's 'A tale for the time being'. Next (and last for this year) meeting will be October 21, Wednesday, 10-Noon: BOOK GROUP #4—The Life of Isamu Noguchi (2004) by Masayo Duus.  You may know him by the iconic black 'donut' sculpture in Volunteer Park...

SJG - 9/7/15 - Euonymus hamiltonianus has pink sachets of seed right now, Area L

• • • • •

While looking at  the SJG calendar - don't forget this in October:

•  October 7, Wednesday, Noon-3:30: FILM—“Kaidan” (1964) Tales of the supernatural
•  October 10, Saturday, 10:30 am - Semiannual Unit 86 mtg. There will be a thank you lunch for volunteers immediately following the meeting at 12:30.
•  October 17, 8 pm: butoh in the Taoist Studies Institute: Borderline: Kantor’s Dead Class Revisited, a new work directed by Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh, one of our guides!).

Monday, August 31, 2015

お月見 • O-tsukimi • Moon Viewing Festival 2015

by aleks
SJG • 8/29/15 - O-tsukimi:  the lanterns at the front gate. Photo by Nat S.

O-tsukimi (literally moon-viewing)  dates back to 8th century Japan and refers to festivals honoring and admiring the autumn moon;  in more modern times it also incorporates elements of harvest celebration.

SJG • 8/29/15 - O-tsukimi:  the paper lantern.... Photo by Nat S.
2015 has been one of the worst Washington state's years for wildfires - 1200 square miles burned so far,  3 firefighters killed, and the soil parched, even the rainforest (the WET forest) on fire...  So, understandably, we were all wishing for rain. Which finally came, right with the expected super-moon on 9/29.

SJG • 8/29/15 - O-tsukimi:  after the night fell... Photo by Peggy Garber

SJG's  2015 O-tsukimi somehow squeezed itself between the raindrops:  it was short, sweet and to the point - wonderful music, bento boxes, luminaries and boats all happened, albeit NO moon present.. The Seattle Astronomical Society people were there, but didn't open their instruments in this wet weather - they answered all questions, though.  The haiku contest winners at the celebration's closure were read faster and faster, while the rain poured more and more furiously;  until the winner of the first place was announced with this:  'That's IT. Enjoy the rest of the rain in your home'...

SJG • 8/29/15 - O-tsukimi:  after the night fell... Photo by Peggy Garber

• • • 

2015 Moonviewing Haiku Contest Winners

SJG • 8/9/15 - O-tsukimi: Gary Stroutsos on flute

Judged on a rainy night by Tanya McDonald & Michael Dylan Welch
Haiku Northwest, August 29, 2015, at the Seattle Japanese Garden

First Place:

the moon shines on high
but nobody can see it:
we had prayed for rain

                  —Maurice Varon

Second Place:

out in the garden
I am enjoying a moon
soon to be revealed

                  —Micah McCally

Third Place:

       the koi missed not
the light of moon nor sun’s warmth
       from its wet cold pond

                  —Kristen Beifus

SJG • 8/29/15 O-tsukimi:
Marsha and Kuniko Takamura on koto

Honorable Metions (in no particular order):

moon, rain, and music
make me reprioritize—
taping the Seahawks

                  —Dan Hamann

sweet music of evening
love song of the night garden
moon in my belly

                  —Mauri Dressman (baby due September 8)

SJG • 8/29/15 O-tsukimi: James Jennings on shakuhachi

the moon is shining
on the water the fish sings
and the turtle swims

                  —Yuuki, age 7

beautiful music
fills the void that is the moon
below the rainy skies

                  —Dan Yeo

August 29th
forecast rain
knowing moon
through mist

                  —Ellen McCown

storm scent fills garden
koto notes weave through the air
will full moon split clouds?

                  —Nancy Penrose

gradually the clouds,
just like time, pass on—
waiting for moon

                  —Aleks Monk

loneliness arises
the moon is banished tonight
by thoughts of home

                  —Rodney Smith

SJG • 8/29/15 - O-tsukimi: Gretchen Yanover on cello

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wandering & Wondering, August 16, 2015

posted by aleks

Annual butoh event WANDERING AND WONDERING by Daipan Butoh Collective took place on Sunday, August 16: as people strolled though the garden they encountered dancers and musicians interacting almost seamlessly with the garden...

SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber 

SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber 
SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber 
SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber 
SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber 
SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber
SJG • 8/16/15 - photo by Peggy Garber 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world” - Sadako Sasaki

by aleks
8/5/215 - Sadako Sasaki sculpture in U-district: fresh 1000s cranes
I was on my way to visit Sadako Sasaki sculpture at U-district, for this 70th anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombing - I wanted to see if, like each year, people left origami cranes at her hands and feet, to say they remember...

The car radio was playing an interview with a Japanese woman who was only 6 when the bomb was dropped: in one instant she lost her whole family: parents and sisters.  She run away from the blast and although it probably saved her life, she said she feels guilty for running away, and that she will almost certainly feel that way for the rest of her life.  So much pain in her voice....

She said she used to never talk about it, but now feels she needs to help to record the memory of it, before people forget.  So she is giving public talks, and even came to America, where she found people listening very intently to her account...  She never talked about it to her own family, too difficult.

8/5/2015: asked to join,  i happily did
When I got to the sculpture, there was an activity there: some buddhist monks and people with anti-nuclear banners were assembling, and Sadako had plenty of fresh crane origami.

I was asked to take a pic of the group with their camera: they are marching  Sun. Jul.26 to Mon. Aug.10, 2015 from Salem-Portland-Hanford-Olympia-Seattle-Bainbridge Is.-Bangor...  They were hailing from the Bainbridge Island Myohoji temple, and a high-school teacher (who regularly brings her student to SJG) was teaching how to do origami crane on the spot.  She had some beautiful already folded cranes as gifts: I and other passer-bys got each one to take home - now it's in my kitchen, to remember Sadako really well.
gift of crane/bookmark
I received from the group

Then they kindly asked me to join them:  which I did happily, together with a few other people who were either passing by or came with intent of looking at Sadako...  People in inching-by cars (it was a rush hour) took pictures of our little gathering on their smartphones and I wondered how  much the current earth people know about the past and why we were standing there....  For a whole 10-20 minutes I was a part of a group that gathered together to keep the memory of Hiroshima/Nagasaki alive:  a very connecting and strangely powerful and happy feeling.

When i got home I found an email  from my lit/latin  professor in poland:  she wrote about reading in the paper about a 6 years old girl who survived Hiroshima, Toshiko Tanaki...  I pondered  if we came across the same story today...

Peace Park with Sadako and the Thousand Cranes sculpture is managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation at NE 40th St & NE Pacific St, Seattle, 98105 (NW corner of the University Bridge :

Peace Park was the dream of Dr. Floyd Schmoe, who after winning the Hiroshima Peace Prize in 1998 used the $5,000 prize money to clear a small lot near the University of Washington. From a pile of wrecked cars, garbage, and brush, he worked with community volunteers to build the beautiful Peace Park.

Peace Park is the current home of the Sadako and the Thousand Cranes sculpture, created in 1990 by artist Daryl Smith. The statue is a life-size bronze of Sadako Sasaki, the young Japanese girl who survived the Hiroshima bombing only to die of radiation sickness at age 12. [...]'

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August notes

by aleks
Heads-up on quite a few interesting things happening at our Garden this month:

SJG • 7/31/15

1.)  FILM:  on Wednesday, August 5, at noon in the Tateuchi Community Room: “Japanese Dance: Succession of a Kyomai Master” (2000) is a one‐hour documentary.

The film shows Inoue Yachiyo IV, designated a living national treasure of Japan in 1955, as she prepares her granddaughter to become her successor in a form of dance called Kyomai (or Kyoto Style). Kyomai, which reflects elements of six related Mai dances and the influence of Noh, originated in the 17th century in the courtly culture of the Tokugawa period and embodies the elegance and sophistication of the imperial court. It is usually performed in the intimacy of Japanese tatami mat rooms by specialists in the arts (Geiko) and their apprentices (Maiko). Wearing elaborate kimonos, they carry fans and may be accompanied by flutes, small hand drums and occasional vocals and percussion music. Many years of training and practice can be seen in the subtlety and precision of hand movements that distinguish the Geiko from the apprentice. The film includes rare footage of Inoue Yachiko III.

It is technically for the Garden staff and volunteers, but if you are neither, I'll welcome you as my guest!

SJG • 7/31/15 - koi

2.) CONT. ED.  for the guides: August 15, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS in TCR —Dale Brotherton—Tea House Architecture.  Ever wonder what makes Japanese architecture unique in the world? Is it always a natural fit to the garden, and why? Are there details that can be identified as characteristically Japanese? Find out this and more. Join Dale Brotherton for an hour-long discussion on this fascinating subject. We’ll briefly review the history of architectural development in Japan, look at examples of buildings here in the States, and then turn our eyes to the existing garden structures.

SJG • 7/31/15

3.)  DANCE/ART performance in the Garden,  Sunday, August 16, 2 - 5pm: Wandering & Wondering - annual exhiliarting butoh event.

SJG • 7/31/15

4.) FIELD TRIP on 8/18 (Tuesday):  Dewey just sent an interesting plan for another field trip to several garden destinations in the Puget Sound area, including Sea-Tac and Tacoma. Please read the  file in your email and respond to him if interested!

• • • • • 
• That's about all, folks. Well, I meant to write a post a week ago titled 'Our Granddaughters', about docent Lynnda L. and mine grand-spawns annual Garden meeting, but I didn't get around it. Here is a pic from the event + Ellie's haiku on the topic:

SJG • 7/21/15:  Sophie and Ellie
Japanese Garden
With Sophie—
She had lots to say!

• AND, an obligatory pic of the blue moon yesterday, of course!:)
Blue moon over Seattle 7/31/15

Saturday, July 11, 2015

七夕 • Tanabata Festival, as seen by Ellie

by aleks
SJG • 7/11/15 - Tanabata Festival

Ellie, my 9 yo granddaughter, has been coming to Seattle Japanese Garden for years. Today was her second time for Tanabata...   She took part in many activities, while discovering that many people around the garden know her face from the July page of the 2015 calendar where her picture matches this Kobayashi Issa's haiku:


kakehashi wo ayunde wataru ko chô kana

crossing the hanging bridge
on foot...

SJG • 7/11/15 - feeding koi; photo by Ellie

This time around Ellie took over my camera to record what she has seen, and said: 'put my pictures on the blog, please'. And so here they are.

From The Nihon Sun: Tanabata – Festival of Star Crossed Lovers:  Separated by the milky way, two star crossed lovers are only able to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month based on the lunisolar calendar.  The legend of Hikoboshi (the star known as Alter) and Orihime (the star known as Vega) has roots in China but has been associated with Japan’s Tanabata festival since the sixth century.

SJG • 7/11/15 - Seen from the stepping stones; photo by Ellie

Orihime, the daughter of Emperor Tentei, was a skilled weaver and made lovely clothes for her father.  On day as she sat alongside the the river of heaven ( amanogawa – the milky way) she was overcome with sadness as she had been so busy with her weaving that she hadn’t had time to fall in love.   Tentei, believed to be the ruler of the heavens, witness her woeful state and arranged a marriage for her with Hikoboshi who lived across the river.  The couple was very much in love and were very happy but Orihime was neglecting her weaving.  This angered Tentei so much that he decided to separate the couple putting them back on opposite sides of the river.

SJG • 7/11/15 - Ellie got a nerve and great social skills to ask the two ladies heading for a  tea ceremony to pose for this picture; they were nice and obliged; photo by Ellie

Tentei decreed that the couple would only be allowed to see each other on one night each year – on the seventh day of the seventh month.  On that evening a boatman (the moon) comes to ferry Orihime over the river to her beloved Hikoboshi.  But if Orihime has not given her best to her weaving Tentei may make it rain causing the river to flood so the boatman cannot make the trip.  In this case the kasasagi (a group of magpies) may still fly to the milky way to make a bridge for Orihime to cross.  More here...

SJG  • 7/11/15: Tanabata activities... photo by Ellie

SJG  • 7/11/15: Ellie and Grandpa Tony