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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Upcoming: July Butoh Fest and few other announcements

by aleks

1.)  Press Release from Daipan Butoh Collective:

June 24, 2015
Kill Date: July 20, 2015

DAIPANbutoh Collective presents the 6th annual Seattle Butoh Festival July 10-19, 2015 featuring Mexican butoh artist Diego Pinon, a magnetic performer and teacher with roots in his native culture and Japanese butoh masters Kazuo Ohno and Min Tanaka. The theme of this year’s festival is “Investigating the Global Body” through the cross-pollination of Mexican Shamanism and Japanese butoh. DAIPANbutoh Collective’s mission is to bring stimulating, provocative, and exceptional performances, workshops and forums to the diverse communities of the Northwest and beyond. This summer DAIPAN invites people to attend its celebration of the Latino spirit, strength and passion.

Performances are July 17 & 18, 2015 at 8 pm at the Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway with a solo performance by Mr. Pinon and a new work by DAIPANbutoh Collective. Well-known musician Stephen Fandrich and costume designer Deborah Skorstad will join DAIPAN’s collaboration.

Prices are Adult $22 and Student/Senior $18. Tickets are available at the door or at

Diego will be a guest choreographer for Joan Laage’s free annual Wandering & Wondering event at the Kubota Garden on July 19, 2015 from 12-3 pm. Kubota Garden is at 9817 55th Ave S. Diego will also be teaching a workshop July 10-12, 2015 at the Taoist Studies Institute, 225 N 70th St. Sign up through

Contact: Joan Laage at or 206 729 2054
DAIPAN is a Shunpike partner and our festival is supported this year by grants from 4Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

1. )  七夕 • Tanabata Festival in Seattle Japanese Garden - this Saturday, July 11, 11am - 3 pm:  performances, origami, zen gardens and lots of other children activities, as always...
Tanabata (七夕?, meaning "Evening of the seventh"), also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival.[1] It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on July 7 of the Gregorian calendar. [...]  More here

3.)  JAPANOLOGY Japanese garden:

Hi Aleks,

Can you upload/link this on your blog.  I highly recommend looking at this to learn basics of Japanese Garden.

Koichi Kobayashi

Visiting Research Fellow
Hyogo Prefectural University

Thank you, Koichi! The link will take the reader to series of tv programs by NHK world (or via youtube). From NHK description:  [...] This time on Japanology Plus, our theme is Japanese gardens, compact evocations of nature's majesty. Japan has many garden styles: from tea gardens, to the dry gardens of Zen Buddhism, to the pocket gardens of city-dwellers. Our expert guest is Takahiro Naka, a professor of garden history who is actively involved in garden design and restoration projects around the country. And in Plus One, a Japanese rock garden that fits on your tabletop. [...]

4.) More butoh at Seattle Japanese Garden:

SJG • Wandering & Wondering 2014; photo by Briana Jones
Free annual Wandering & Wondering event at the Seattle Japanese  Garden this year takes place on August 16, 2-5 pm.