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March 17, 2011

Savannah Tulips

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Posted by Heather at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2011

Kite Boarders

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A really windy day, perfect for kite boarders!

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The guy is in the air when the video starts; you might want to watch it twice to see how high up he is right at the beginning.

Posted by Heather at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2011

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Some of my photos are too big and are chopped off on the right hand side: I'll resize them later because right now I want to go swim in the pool!

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George and I visited the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden. This garden is ranked 8th among more than 300 Japanese Gardens outside Japan by the Journal of Japanese Gardening. It is called Roji-En, which means Garden of the Drops of Dew. It was designed by Hoichi Kurisu and includes six distinct gardens that are inspired by famous gardens of Japan.

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In 1904, Jo Sakai, a recent graduate of NYU, returned to his hometown of Miyazu, Japan, to organize a group of pioneering farmers and lead them to what is now northern Boca Raton. With the help of the Model Land Company, a subsidiary of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway, they formed a farming colony they named Yamato, an ancient name for Japan.

Ultimately, the results of their crop experimentation were disappointing and the Yamato Colony fell short of its goals. By the 1920's, the community, which had never grown beyond 35 people, finally surrenderd its dream. One settler remained: George Sukeji Morikami.

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He continued to cultivate local crops and act as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. In the mid 1970's, when George was in his 80's, he donated land to Palm Beach County with the wish that it be used as a park to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony.

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Morikami Falls

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View of the James and Hazel Gates Woodruff Memorial Bridge. Erected in memory of Mrs. Woodruff, a lover of Japanese gardens, by her husband, a US Naval commander and veteran of Pearl Harbor. The structure symbolizes the link between Japan and Florida provided by the Morikami Museum.

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Heather standing on Rocky Point, with a view of the original Morikami Museum.

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Along the path

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The trees are styled using bamboo poles you can see fixed to the branches.

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Bridge to Yamato Island

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I liked both pictures.

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Original Morikami Museum, now has displays about Japanses culture and Yamato Colony history.

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Ishidoro Stone Lantern: Erected in 1681 in memory of the fourth Tokugawa shogun, Ietsuna. The lantern made its way from Kan'eiji temple in Tokyo to a ship-builder in Kure, Japan, a ship-owner in West Palm Beach and the south Florida Science Museum before finding a permanent home here in 1977.

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This heron sits where the fish are fed...

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and if he waits long enough...

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He gets one! Obviously he didn't just eat a coy, as they are enormous, but there are other small fish that get in on the feeding and he patiently waits for them to get too close.

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Turtles playing follow the leader.

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Tsukubai: A water basin originally placed in a tea garden to allow guests to cleanse and ritually purify themselves. Today tsukubai serve as a focal point in many gardens. Water is channeled through a bamboo pipe into the basin as if diverted from a clear mountain stream.

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Challenger Memorial Lantern: Dedicated to the seven Challenger astronauts, including Ellison Onizuka, the first person of Asian ancestry to travel in space.

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The lantern is in the Kasuga-style.

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Nan-mon: South Gate

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Aother Tsukubai

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Nelson Family Memorial Garden: Originally named Koro-en, Garden of Sparkling Dew, this garden memorializes Norman Nelson and sons Dan and Bob, all of whom tended the Morikami Museum's landscaping and bonsai during its early years.

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Paradise Garden: Kamakura and early Muromachi Periods, 13th-14th centuries. An earthly representation of the Pure Land, or Buddhist heaven. Such gardens were the first intended for strolling.

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Shishi Odoshi: Deer Chaser. The sound produced by bamboo striking a rock is meant to startle animals that have wandered into the garden, but also adds a pleasing auditory element to the garden experience.

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Early Rock Garden: Early Muromachi Period, 14th century.
Such gardens were often inspired by Chinese landscape paintings in ink that depicted water cascading from distant peaks into the sea or a lake. You can sit and visualize the rocks as peaks, or islands, or anything you can imagine during your relection.

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Karesansui Late Rock Garden: Muromachi Period, 15th-16th centuries
Karesansui means "dry landscape." In this style of garden, rocks were arranged in a bed of raked gravel, while plants took a secondary role. The stlye was perfected at Zen Buddhist temples.

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Hiraniwa Flat Garden: Edo Period, 17th-18th centuries.
Evolving out of late rock gardens, flat gardens make liberal use of plant material ad often visually incorporate outside elements through a design technique called "borrowed scenery" (shakkei).

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Kodai-mon: Ancient Gate
This ancient gate of Japanese cypress was made in Tokyo by craftsmen skilled in centuries-old carpentry techniques and design. The gate takes inspiration from those of the large mansions of high-ranking samurai during the Edo Period, 1600-1868.

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Shinden Garden: Heian Period, c. 9th-12th centuries.
The Japanese nobility adapted Chinese garden design ideals that featured lakes and islands, emphasizing informality and appreciation of nature. Such gardens were usually viewed from a boat. Side-by-side and zigzag bridges carry us over the river.

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Woodruff Memorial Bridge

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View of Museum through the Bamboo Grove

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Exploring the museum

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The center courtyard

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Exploring the rooms of a traditional Japanses household.

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The kitchen

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A classroom

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Janken: the familiar game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

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Currency Exchange

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Subway Map

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Train Comparison

Morikami Bonsai Collection
Bonsai (literally, "trey-planting") are trees or groupings of trees artistically shaped and cultivated in a container. The Morikami Museum's collection is the most outstanding public display of this living art in the southeastern United States, emphasizing species that flourish in Florida's climate.

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This tree began cultivation in 1960.

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This tree is one year younger than George.

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The Tea Ceremony:
Chanoyu, literally "boiling water for tea," is regarded as a form of disciplinary training for mental composure as well as for learning elegance. Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility are the four governing principles of the tea ceremony. It is not mere etiquette. Chanoyu should be practiced as a mental discpline which cultivates one's wisdom. It should be learned almost as a religious doctrine which aims at building one's character.

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This is Chieko Mihori, the tea master at The Morikami. The Omote Senke School is one of the three main schools of tea ceremony. It traces its beginnings back to Sen no Rikyu, who is considered the greatest of all tea masters. Atsuko Lefcourte introduced the traditions of Omote Senke tea to Palm Beach County in the 1970's. She was the tea master at The Morikami from it's opening in 1977 to her death in 1998. Chieko Mihori was a student of Mrs. Lefcourte.

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Hanging scroll (kakemono) and flower arrangement (chabana). Thisarea is called the tokonoma; it is in the back left hand corner of this room, cut off from view in the above picture of the tea house.

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Procedure: Guest enters by crawling through the small, low sliding door at left, leaving her shoes outside. Alone she admires the flower arrangement and scroll. She sits near the door she crawled through. The host enters through large sliding door on the right.

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Formal greetings are exchanged; the host says "Yoku irasshaimashita" (welcome), and the guest responds "Kyo wa omaneki arigato gozaimasu" (thank you for inviting me).

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The host brings a kind of sweet from the kitchen and the guest moves the container of sweets to the proper place near herself. The host exits.

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The host brings a tea bowl to start making tea. No conversation is allowed between them. When the Host says "Orakuni" (please relax), the guest starts to eat the sweets. Sweets are always eaten before having the unsweetened tea. Conversation is allowed.

Host makes and serves bowl of tea. Guest drinks, not the host. The guest appreciates the artistry of the bowl, still no conversation is allowed between them.

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The host cleans the bowl and the utensils with the orange silk that signifies purity, no conversation is allowed. Then the host returns to the kitchen for fresh water for the next occasion, and adds it to the ceramic water urn under the little table. Everytime the host leaves or enters the room she must kneel in front of the door, place her things on the floor, slide the door open, pick up her things, move through the door, kneel, place her things on the floor, slide the door shut and then get up. Very long process just to go through a door.

There is so much more information we learned about the tea ceremony but I can't include it all. Every little gesture and every item in the room has a special meaning. For instance the hanging scroll features Red Plum Blossoms, which bloom in Japan in February when snow is still on the ground. The blossoms give the impression that spring has arrived even though it is the coldest month of the year. Or when the guest picks up the cup and sips she turns it, so that she drinks from the rear of the cup.

In order to fully appreciate the depth of the Japanese Tea Ceremony you must see one yourself!

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There were no more seats for George so he borrowed one.

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Green Tea

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And a visit to the Gift Shop!

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George's new look!

Posted by Heather at 08:42 AM | Comments (1)