Friday, July 14, 2017

Our granddaughters

by aleks
Sophie and Ellie, docent Lynnda L.'s and my granddaughters, meet every summer  in the Seattle Japanese garden - we created a tradition for the girls to visit each other while exploring the garden.  This year Lynnda created a book for Sophie, memorizing several years of those visits -  the girls looked at the book while having an after tour snack.


SJG • 7/5/17 -Sophie, her little brother Nick and Ellie feed the koi

SJG • 7/5/17 -Ellie reading Sophie's book about their Garden visits

SJG • 7/5/17 - the annual 'bridge' picture - this year fantastically bombed by our  Master Gardener, Pete Putnicki :)



For the Lynnda's entire adorable book for Sophie go here (sorry, some pages copied upside down - don't know how to fix it, but you can still read them!)


P.S. I'll post links to posts about their previous Garden visits later tonight.

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 5th, noon: BOOK CLUB: Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata

by aleks
SJG - 5/31/17 - Miriam, our Gardener, sheering the azaleas

Our Book Club meets this Wednesday at noon at TCR to discuss ''Thousand Cranes' (千羽鶴 Senbazuru, 1952), by Nobel Prize laureate Yasunari Kawabata and translated by Edward G. Seidensticker.

From wikipedia: [...] Set in a post World War II Japan, the protagonist, Kikuji, has been orphaned by the death of his mother and father. He becomes involved with one of the former mistresses of his father, Mrs. Ota, who commits suicide seemingly for the shame she associates with the affair. After Mrs. Ota's death, Kikuji then transfers much of his love and grief over Mrs Ota's death to her daughter, Fumiko. [...]

I agree with this thought from a review posted on 'Japanese Literature Book Group': [...] The novels by Kawabata, more than any of the other Japanese classics I’ve read, really make me regret the fact that I can’t read in Japanese. His writing is just so sparse and poetic. Although the translation does a good job at trying to portray the artistry behind the words, it simply must be more beautiful and meaningful in the original Japanese. I’ve heard Kawabata’s writing described as brush strokes, like writing haiku in traditional Japanese calligraphy, and I think that is a very apt description. [...]

Here a picture and about Shino ware (water jar), featured in the book...

From M.A.Orthofer, 20 January 2013 Review of the book: [...] An effective story of deep emotion and suffocatingly binding personal ties (that still exert a hold even after death), Thousand Cranes is uncomfortably but powerfully understated -- with the slightly stilted feel of the translation working quite well as well here. Presented like the smooth surface of a body of water, the roiling underneath is suggested but barely shown, leaving much for the reader to read into the text, as Kawabata presents a surprisingly deep, layered, and disturbing story in such a short space and with such simple brushstrokes. [...]

As much as I enjoyed the book and particularly the topic of Japan in 1950s being a transient state between cultural practices of the past and beginning to adopt western cultural and social customs, the words from the above review by Orthofer struck me as reflecting my own reading experience of this masterpiece: suffocating, uncomfortable and disturbing - but obviously that was the author's intent, so not unhappy about getting into his head for this reading journey :)...

If you are an over-thinker, and like to analyze everything in depth, this Eslkevin's Blog post titled 'THOUSAND CRANES, BEAUTY, WAR, WARES and SUICIDES' will be really up your ally - i know I appreciated every thought in it.  {About eslkevin: I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.}.

So, book lovers: see you Wednesday at noon at TCR!

SJG - 5/31/17 - blooming irises