Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Butoh Training at JCCCW this November

Seattle-based Joan Laage is pleased to be offering Butoh Training at JCCCW. The sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings November 6-December 4 from 7:30-9:30 pm.

Photo: Jim Coleman

The first class is free and following classes $15 each session. No experience necessary. This class series is sponsored by DAIPANbutoh Collective which is a Shunpike partner.
Register by contacting Joan: davidthornbrugh@hotmail.com

Embodying the Spirit: Butoh Training
Taught by Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh)
“The body finds its way…”

Experience training methods towards a supple body/mind and investigate aesthetics common to butoh through creative explorations. This workshop is a process of erasing and re-creating the body through guided improvisation largely inspired by nature imagery. ETS explores endless questions: What is life? What is the human condition? What is the body? How can we experience infinity within the body/mind?

The workshop structure includes exercises and explorations of physical body, nature body, and transforming body.  Group and partner work will facilitate participants’ individual and collective journeys. The workshop draws from Joan’s training with Butoh Masters Kazuo Ohno, Yoko Ashikawa (the major disciple of Butoh’s founder Tatsumi Hijikata) and her background as a Tai Chi practitioner and professional gardener.

After studying with Butoh masters Kazuo Ohno and Yoko Ashikawa in Tokyo in the late 80s and performing with Ashikawa’s group Gnome, Joan Laage settled in Seattle and founded Dappin’ Butoh in 1990. She is a co-founder of DAIPANbutoh Collective, which produces an annual Butoh festival. Joan performed at the New York, Chicago, Portland, Boulder, Seattle, Paris and Santiago (Chile) Butoh festivals, and a Butoh symposium at the University of California (LA). A Ph.D. in Dance & Related Arts from Texas Woman’s University and Certified Movement Analyst, she is featured in Sondra Fraleigh’s books – Dancing into Darkness: Butoh, Zen, and Japan and Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy. She creates site-specific work for Seattle Japanese gardens annually and tours every winter/spring in Europe. She is an avid Tai Chi practitioner with a background in Asian dance/theater. Since living in Krakow 2004–2006, she has been known as Kogut (rooster). www.seattlebutoh-laage.com; www.daipanbutoh.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

お月見 (otsukimi) • 2018 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest

SJG • 8/25/18 -'Moon', lighting art by Yuri Kinoshita, at the entrance courtyard

Judged by Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch, Haiku Northwest

Out of 172 entries, we’ve selected the following winners for the 2018 Moon Viewing Haiku Contest, held at the Seattle Japanese Garden on Saturday, 25 August 2018. Many participants wrote about the hazy smoke in the sky from recent forest fires. We chose a mix of poems for their freshness, clarity, and sometimes humor. First prize is an individual garden membership and a garden T-shirt. Second prize a garden T-shirt and garden postcards. And third prize is garden postcards. Congratulations to all the winners for their poems, and to everyone who participated in celebrating the moon even if we couldn’t see it through smoke-hazy skies.

SJG • 8/25/18 - sound installation by Paul Kikuchi throughout the garden in the twilight - a live performance using historic 78rpm record collection and computer. The artist recorded different sounds in the garden and is mixing them with music

First Place

brightly the moon
makes milk of water
drops on a turtle’s shell

                  Tiffany Jenkins

Second Place

smoky air—
my beautiful wife looking at the sky
waiting for the moon

                  Daifu Ye

Third Place

in my inbox
message from the full moon:
—not coming tonight!

                  Aleksandra Monk

SJG • 8/25/18 

Honorable Mentions
(in alphabetical order by last name)

my feet hurt
my eyes are tired
oh! the moon!

                  Bill Bridges

even the rabbit pauses
to view the harvest moon

                  Bill Bridges

SJG • 8/25/18 - Three tea ceremonies were held in the Shoseian Teahouse 

round with child
she crosses the garden bridge
waxing August moon

                  Barbie Brooking

shy moon
hides behind clouds
patiently, we wait

                  Bryant Cabanatan

it’s for your safety
ropes obstructing normal paths
under the moonlight

                  CCR Studios

SJG • 8/25/18 - after tea ceremony, attendants launch boats

pink smoke
obscures the moon and more
somewhere trees are burning

                  Elise Fogel

deep sigh—
stop breathing so loudly
I’m trying to think about the moon

                  Kate Griffith

hey moon,
don’t hide from the smoky air
we want to see your beauty

                  Sze Man Li
SJG • 8/25/18 - Traditional Japanese Fujima Fujimine dancer

Jeff Bezos' house
& tents of the homeless
under the same full moon

                  Aleksandra Monk

the red moon blooms
I hold your hand
and feel your warmth

                  Corinne Scrivens

a full August moon
my footsteps in the gravel
sound like cicadas

                  Jair Trejo

SJG • 8/25/18 - Haiku on Sticks installation throughout the Garden,
by Haiku Northwest

SJG • 8/25/18 - Haiku contest station:
Judges Tanya McDonald and Michael Dylan Welch, Haiku Northwest

SJG • 8/25/18 - 'Morning Glory / Asagao'  lighting art by Yuri Kinoshita, under the wisteria arbor 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Film Screening—“Black Rain” (1989)—Wednesday, August 29, Noon

We will show our next film on Wednesday, August 29, from noon to 4 in the Tateuchi Community Room. Free and open to Japanese Garden volunteers and their friends (anyone can come and make friends).

Image result for black rain film poster
Dear friends,

“Black Rain” (running time 125 minutes) is a 1989 American action thriller film directed by Ridley Scott, starring American actors Michael Douglas (Nick), Kate Capshaw (Joyce), Andy García (Charlie), and Japanese actors Ken Takakura (Masahiro Matsumoto), Yusaku Matsuda (Koji Sato), and Tomisaburo Wakayama (Sugai).

The film’s locations are Osaka (Dotonbori, Hankyu Umeda Mall, other Osaka locations); Napa Valley and various Los Angeles locations.

The move’s story is a vehicle for a cops and robbers story with a Japanese setting, which provides cross–cultural disconnections to the fray. Though thin on plot, Ridley Scott overwhelms the screen with a dystopian Osaka, which complements the morally questionable actions of the bad guys and the good guys.

Suspension of belief is mandatory, but our goal is not to carp about implausible situations, but to consider how this American movie presented Japan to American audiences (visually, socially, personally) in the late 1980s…and how that vision has worked out almost three decades later.

The movie was not well received by critics or audiences. See:

But over time there has been some reconsideration.  See:

Notes by Dewey Webster, August 06, 2018

We hope to see you for an interesting viewing experience and terrific discussion.

Your Unit 86 Continuing Education Committee

Trailer below, see you at the film!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


workshops, performances & a special evening with Mushimaru Fujieda
July 5-15, 2018
July 5-15, 2018 - this year's featured guest artist Mushimaru Fujieda, photo by Yukuhiro Toriguchi

DAIPANbutoh Collective is pleased to announce the 9th annual Seattle International Butoh Festival featuring Japanese Butoh artist Mushimaru Fujieda from Yakushima, an enchanting Japanese island known for its wildlife and cedar forests. And its second year partnering with Shoreline Community College.

DAIPAN continues to be the only group consistently bringing national and international butoh artists to Seattle and producing an annual festival that features both guest artists and local performers. From its birth in Japan nearly 60 years ago, Butoh has proven itself a vital and innovative global genre. This multi-faceted festival kicks off with a Butoh Parade and performance/installation in Pioneer Square on July 5 during first Thursday, moving on to workshops and performances in Shoreline, UW district and Greenwood. The second week includes a free family-oriented workshop and site-specific performance on the Elliott Bay waterfront, followed by an evening with Mushimaru at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA, and finishing up with a weekend Butoh retreat in nature.

This year’s festival is made possible in part by funding from 4Culture’s Arts Sustained Support, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Neighborhood & Community Arts Program, and The Morgan Fund at Seattle Foundation’s Puget Sound Initiative.

For more information & photos contact:
Joan Laage [davidthornbrugh@hotmail.com] or www.daipanbutoh.com
For workshop information/registration contact: 206-723-2315
Photo by Toshiyuki Shimokawa

July 5 - First Thursday Art Walk Butoh Parade with Mushimaru Fujieda & DAIPAN
plus eco-centric Performance/installation by Ivan Espinosa
5-9 pm
@Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts, 115 Prefontaine Pl S, 98104

July 6 & 7 - Mainstage Performances: Shoreline Community College
Mushimaru & DAIPAN members
8 pm
$15/$22 Brown Paper Tickets; $18/$25 Door
@Shoreline Community College Theater, 16101 Greenwood Ave N, Building 1600,
Shoreline 98133

July 7 - Butoh workshop with Mizu Desierto (PDX)
2-5 pm
$25/$50  BPT https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3144252
@ UW Dance Program / 256 Meany Hall, 4000 15th Avenue NE., WA 98195-1150

July 8 - Butoh workshop with Mushimaru Fujieda
12-4 pm
@Taoist Studies Institute, 225 N 70th St, 98103

July 8 – Performance: Taoist Studies Institute
with US guest artists Mizu Desierto (PDX), Crow Nishimura (DAE), & Ginger Krebbs (Chicago)
7 pm
@Taoist Studies Institute, 225 N 70th St, 98103

July 12 - Special free workshop for children & families with Mushimaru
followed by a free performance by DAIPAN & guests
TBA evening
@Myrtle Edwards Park, 3130 Alaskan Way, 98121

July 13 - An evening with Mushimaru: performance with local musician Paul Kikuchi followed by an informal talk
7 pm
@Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, 1414 S Weller St, 98144

July 14 & 15 - Snohomish intensive weekend workshop retreat with Mushimaru Fujieda
$200 includes food and lodging; early bird discount: $180 by June 14
@Snohomish, WA

 Joan Laage/Kogut Butoh, photo by Katrina Wolfe
Festival passes
THREE-PERFORMANCE PASS: Includes all three ticketed performances (July 6, 7 & 8): $50 (Save $18!)
FULL FESTIVAL PASS: Includes all three ticketed performances PLUS all three workshops (Saturday, Sunday, and weekend retreat): $300 by June 14 (Save $78!)

About our guest artist:
Using movement in relationship to breath and rhythm, Mushimaru has created his own style of dance which he refers to as an expression of Natural Physical Poetry (Tennen Nikutai Shi). Mushimaru’s work symbolically embodies the human tragedy during and after WWII, the “ashes” from which Butoh arose. He has worked as an actor, scriptwriter, producer, writer and director since 1972, and has performed throughout the world for more than 20 years. DAIPAN welcomes Mushimaru to Seattle for the first time. http://www.notus.dti.ne.jp/~mushimal/

DAIPAN artist information:
Lela Besom presents “Death, Cake, and Who You Want To Be,” a work digging into the garden of life and death with Adena Atkins and Kabriele Rosas.
On the spectrum of joyful noise and fearful silence Sheri Brown, Dhyana Garcia, and Alan Sutherland intend to handle it all in “Brave Voices” and come down firmly with our voices, word and dance voices, soul voices. A dream wave channel search and, if the Angels allow, a discovery of an invisible line waiting to be crossed.
In an outdoor pre-show piece, "Home Is Where," Erica Akiko Howard continues a long-term exploration of the confluence of Earth, body, and home—all that we emerge from but can never leave behind.

Joan Laage (Kogut) & Shoko Zama perform “Two Little Pierrots.”  Inspired by the famous Commedia dell’Arte figure known for its naivete, this work premiered in Europe this past spring with Italian dancers. Original music by Scott Adams and costumes by Shoko Zama.

Kaoru Okumura is joined by Aoi Lee in “KAGIROHI 陽炎(かぎろひ),” in which they revisit a piece specially created for the Hijikata Memorial 2018 evening, annually organized by Kaoru.

Helen Thorsen is joined by Erica Akiko Howard, Mary Cutrera and Cara Ross Berman in “The Brittle Sisters: the Bardo of Brú na Bóinne,” which is inspired by a 5000-year-old prehistoric chamber in Ireland and the bones of 16-year-old girl who died lost in a deep Mexican cave looking for water 13,000 years ago.

Mushimaru photo from poster: Yukihiro Toriguchi (photographer)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Garden works: new fence, new pines, new roof

by aleks
Each year during the winter closure the gardeners busily fix and change whatever needs to be fixed and changed, and if some major work needs to be done they leave it for that season, so there is as little disruption to the Garden when it's open for visitors as possible.

SJG • 3/28/18 - Camellia japonica 'Takayama' framed by the new bamboo fence, Area B

SJG • 3/28/18 - Camellia japonica 'Takayama' 
Most of the times the gardeners cover their tracks so it's hard to tell at the first glance what they did. If they remove a plant they never leave a gapping whole, but either put a new plant there or artfully cover the area with moss so unsuspecting eye doesn't immediately (or ever!) detect the change. Entire 10-20 trees disappeared or changed location without anybody noticing because the beautiful composition of the garden did not betray the disruption.  Once a huge western red cedar was cut and hauled away during the winter and hardly anybody took notice, because the new vista presented itself cleaner and prettier than the old one (save for the poor group of guides that each year catalogue all the plants for the Plant List - they used that cedar as a mark between the garden areas and boy, they were mightily confused! The Plant List is on sale at the Garden's gate).

This past winter's 'clandestine' work involved moving azaleas around, to better coordinate their colors with each other.  It's not a secret that Mr. Iida, who built our Garden over 50 years ago was a bit dismayed when the Arboretum gave him some 160 azaleas to use in the Garden.  He left a record of trying to downplay their colors, instructions to cut some of the western showy ones when the Garden matures and fills out a bit. The Garden is an ongoing work of art, and although most of Mr. Iida's instructions were carried through, our Garden in spring is still more of a rhododendron/azalea kingdom than a typical Japanese Garden. Again, the visitors probably won't notice the gardeners handiwork as the new picture will be probably more graceful and pleasing than the original, but the plant group will have a nice puzzle to solve.

Sometimes the winter changes are more dramatic, harder to hide or downright something to boast about it, like reconstructing the entire stream area after it dilapidated and looked somewhat raggedy unkept  and not in a 'rustic' way....  Or when one of our most precious 100+ years old Japanese maples was dug out, moved a meter away and turned 90 degrees to better showcase it and retrieve the look  which Dick Yamasaki achieved when he installed the rock placement nearby in the then new Garden (the maple grew over the years, of course, and the proportions were lost).

SJG • 4/2/18 - new Japanese black pine along the East path (area K)
This is one of those dramatic years in the Garden, for sure.  During the winter the gardeners handcrafted a beautiful bamboo fence framing the west side of Area B, where the Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil') hedge stood for years.  They felt that as the Garden matured, the row of Japanese Holly, otherwise striking plants, was no longer creating a nice frame to plants and structures in that area - in fact they 'messed up' the picture  and distracted the eye.

Some of the pines had to be replaced as in recent years they were attacked by a type of fungi that didn't respond to a limited variety of treatments that the gardeners were able to use - the garden is quite fragile in itself, but the presence of koi and other animals called for only the most environmentally safe measures.

SJG • 4/2/18 - 3 new Japanese red pines on the  NW corner of the pond

The new Japanese black pine in K  (it replaced one of the hybrid pines that grew there) will probably not cause any cognitive dissonance in anyone:  it composes itself well into the new surroundings, and it was carefully pruned and trained for the last 20 years in the private garden of Lonnie, one of the Garden's long time gardeners.  He donated it to the Garden this past winter and apart from support to straighten  it a bit for the new picture (Lonnie trained it for a bit more slanted/swept away look) it kind of looks like it might have been always there.

But it's a different matter with the three  new Japanese red pines in the northwest corner of the pond: they replaced a grouping of 5 diseased Shore pines that were trying to survive there.  It's a quite a sizable area with 5 holes left in the ground after the trees were removed, so it is hard to pretend that the ground is undisturbed, even after planting 3 rather biggish new pines.  On top of it the new pines require much support to train them to grow in correct direction and simply being left alone after the transplanting shock.  So they have that 'art in progress' look right now, and it'll be a while before the gardeners start shaping them to harmonize their look with the rest of the Garden.  One of those red pines was also Lonnie's donations, and the other two were previously growing outside the Garden.

SJG • 4/2/18 - Machai is getting a new, copper roof

THE MACHIAI ROOF!  That is and will be hard to miss change!  the old wooden roff on the Machiai in the Tea House garden got rotten and needed replacing.  Right now the construction is being done on the new copper roof - the sheets of copper came all the way from Japan and Dale Brotherton is supervising this authentic traditional Japanese architectural effort.  If you want to see this being done (the supporting beams are being constructed, the copper has to be fitted in a certain interlocking way) the time is NOW, it is scheduled to be completed in about a a week or so.

Thank you, Gardeners!!!

Friday, March 30, 2018

SJG Unit 86 Continuing Education Schedule 2018

by aleks (I'll put the cont. ed. schedule on the right margin of the blog shortly)

SJG • 3/28/18 - Rhododendron sutchuenense in Area F

        This year the Unit 86 Continuing Education Committee has prepared a menu of three books, four films, and five classes (one class off-site). More classes and field trips may be added as opportunities arise.

          All events will take place in the Tateuchi Community Room unless otherwise noted. The times on the schedule indicate the total number of hours we can use the room. You will receive a detailed introduction to each event a few weeks in advance, and the schedule may change a bit. 

SJG • 3/28/18 - Camellia japonica 'Takayama',  next to the newly constructed
beautiful bamboo fence - thank you, Gardeners!

APRIL 10—10-1

READING GROUP: Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto (2017), by Leslie Buck

APRIL 25—Noon-4

FILM: “Cats of Mirikitani” (2006), director Linda Hattendorf
APRIL 28—10-1

CLASS: “May Bloomers”—Guided Tours of the Japanese Garden by the Unit 86 Plant Committee
MAY 22—10-1

CLASS: “Zen Buddhism”—Jason Wirth, PhD— Professor of Philosophy, Seattle University
JUNE 13—12-4

CLASS: “Japanese ceremonies and holidays”—Mary Hammond Bernson and Yurika Kurakata —Director and Assistant Director, East Asia Resource Center, UWJSIS
JUNE 26—11-12:30 (Off-site)

CLASS: “The History of Paper- and Book-Making in Japan”—Azusa Tanaka—Japan Studies Librarian, UW East Asia Library. (Details to follow later.)
JULY 10—10-1

READING GROUP: Pachinko (2017), by Min Jin Lee
JULY 25—Noon-4

FILM: “Lost in Translation” (2003), director Sofia Coppola
AUGUST 29—Noon-4

FILM: “Black Rain,” (1989), director Ridley Scott

CLASS: “Japanese foods workshop”—Shizue Prochaska
OCTOBER 16—10-1

READING GROUP: The Tale of Murasaki, (2000), by Liza Dalby
NOVEMBER 14—Noon-4

FILM: “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters” (1985), director Paul Schrader

SJG • 3/28/18 - Camellia japonica 'Takayama'