Friday, February 20, 2015

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR + Seattle Japanese Garden opens March 1st!

The Second Month
haru mo yaya keshiki totonou tsuki to ume

gradually spring—
the land just so
with moon and plum
- Basho
 translated by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch

SJG • 2/17/15 - Camellia 'Lily Pons' blooming 

by aleks
•  First Viewing is Sunday, March 1, from 11 am – 3pm.  There are changes to Rev. Barrish’s ceremony this year:  the bulk of the Shinto ceremony will take place in the courtyard outside of the gates with the gates still closed.   There'll be chairs, an overhead tent if necessary, and heat lamps to keep us all comfortable.  Then, we’ll open the gates with ceremonial reverence.  We’ll follow the reverend into the garden to do our first walk together, as he continues his purification ritual. SEE YOU THERE!  Guides will begin public tours April first with a daily tour at 12:30 M-F and twice on week-ends 12:30 and 2:00.

 • Please note  Cont. Ed calendar for the guides and volunteers below (and on the calendar page), especially:
“47 Ronin (Chushingura)”, 1962 film which comes very soon and with bento lunch box if you want it (March 8, Sunday at 10 am)

We have some very talented guides among us:

• Michele Malo just penned a book titled 'A summer in Peach Creek' and you can get it here...  Congratulations, Michele! No, it's NOT about Japanese garden, but we will have interview on this blog with Michele soon, because injuring minds want to know why she is pondering murderers in West Virginia while she is guiding (she wrote a book about it,  so it must have been heavily on her mind, whatever she was doing)

•  Dewey Webster (who is also a guide in the Seattle Chinese Garden) completed a galleries of pictures from a trip he and his wife took recently to China (on the way to the field trip to Japan with other SJG guides - see previous posts) - they used to live in Beijing before moving to Seattle.  You can see their experiences from that trip on Dewey's website, (next to his pictures from Japan) - quite gripping and dizzying!

Marylin Tsuchia just launched a new website for the travels to Japan that she and her husband Kazuo guide: take a look and maybe travel with them -  they have a few spaces left for this year's tours!

Japanese Garden Unit 86 Continuing Education (for SJG guides, volunteers and staff)

Events will take place in the TCR. Days of the week and times vary. (No scheduled May CE events.) Look for more detailed email information monthly—schedule is subject to change.

• March 8, Sunday, 10-3: FILM—“47 Ronin (Chushingura)” (1962)—special showing with lunch intermission, optional bento lunch, and post-film discussion facilitated by Patty G. and Cara I.

• March 21, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Kyoto’s Gardens: Autumn 2014 docent trip—beautiful photos—with Dewey W.

• April 1, Wednesday, Noon-3:30 : FILM—“Enlightenment Guaranteed” (1999)

• April 18, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS/BOOK—discussion with Leslie Helms, author Yokohama Yankee. Book Group launch facilitated by Cara I. and Corinne K.

• June 20, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Harrison Moretz—Taoist Influences in Japanese and Chinese Gardens

• July 1, Wednesday, 10-Noon: BOOK GROUP #2—discussion of Wabi Sabi by Leonard Koren—“an enduring classic”

• August 5, Wednesday, Noon-3:30: FILM—“Japanese Dance: Succession of a Kyomai Master” (2000)—the world of Kyoto-style dance

• August 15, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Dale Brotherton—Tea House Architecture

• September 9, Wednesday, 10-Noon:  BOOK GROUP #3—title to be announced

• September 19, Saturday, 10-1: CLASS—Featured Plants of Our Japanese Garden— Unit 86 Plant List Committee Garden Tours

• October 7, Wednesday, Noon-3:30:  FILM—“Kaidan” (1964) Tales of the supernatural

• October 21, Wednesday, 10-Noon: BOOK GROUP #4—title to be announced

• November 19, Thursday, 10-Noon: CLASS—Masa Mizuno, Garden Specialist—Seattle Japanese Garden 2015 Update—Bring questions!

• Field Trips–to be announced: Possible: Marenakos, Seike Garden (Highline), Bonsai Collection, Taoist Retreat. Dewey Webster facilitates and takes suggestions.

Friday, February 6, 2015

For your winter enlightenment

SJG • 11/8/14
Please note: the link to Koichi's essay below is open to anyone by signing up. aleks.

1. Monologue on Japanese Garden from Koichi Kobayashi:

Dear Friends of Japanese Garden,

I have uploaded the following monologue at my website.
Monologue on Japanese Garden :
How can we respond to a question of “What is Japanese Garden?” in a simple and clear manner for gardens outside of Japan? Draft, Feb. 2015

If interested,  please go to:

If you cannot make a link, please send me a message so that I can mail it to you directly.
Koichi Kobayashi

It starts with the following :


I started writing this paper to create an introduction as to how best to develop, design and foster Japanese gardens abroad.

Japanese garden has been said to be an important aspects of Japanese culture which nurtures international understanding and friendship. Many Japanese gardens have been built as products of attraction to things oriental, government public relations in form of expositions , friendship-sister city relationship, showing of wealth of individuals and others over the years in America and in Europe.

Even though these initial roles still exist, today the role of public and private Japanese gardens, especially in North America has expanded beyond landscaping and recreation; they are used in commercial settings, for weddings and events, for cultural programs for professional medical therapy and more.

I am, however, observing recurrent problems gardens facing changes in a name of making the gardens adapting to modern requirements and sustainability contrary o the soul of Japanese garden and problems in creation of gardens which astray from the soul of Japanese garden in my understanding.

I truly believe we should come back to the following to challenge questions:

What is Japanese garden (in Japan ) ? and

What is Japanese garden abroad?

2.  Butoh in Japanese Garden - Wandering & Wondering last August:

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Next post: 
2015 Continuing Education, Seattle Japanese Garden Unit 86:
Class, Film, Book, Field Trip Schedule