Ringing the Japanese Friendship Bell!

The Japanese Friendship Bell on San Diego’s Shelter Island is rung perhaps twice a year: typically for the New Year and during special occasions.

Yesterday, the completion of the Pacific Rim Park Friendship Walk was one such occasion!

Those who participated in this walk for peace were invited up in groups of four to ring the large bell, which was forged in Japan. The bell was given to San Diego in 1958 by the city of Yokohama, its Sister City, as a token of eternal friendship. The bell symbolizes the hope for everlasting peace.

The traditional bronze bell, six feet high and almost two and half tons, was cast by Masahiko Katori, who has been called a Living National Treasure by the government of Japan.

I was expecting a loud booming clang when the swinging wooden pole struck the bell, but the sound was surprisingly low and mellow. It was a dignified, subtle, spiritual sound. The bell spoke with a voice that was strangely sublime.

Before the ringing of the Japanese Friendship Bell commenced, the taiko drumming group Genbu Daiko performed nearby.

In groups of four, people approach the Japanese Friendship Bell on Shelter Island.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Japanese spiritual dolls exhibit in Balboa Park.

I’d never heard of the expression “spiritual dolls” until I visited Balboa Park last weekend.

KOKORO NO KATACHI | Image of the Heart is an exhibition of spiritual dolls at the Japanese Friendship Garden. It features the work of Kimiko Koyanagi and Michiko Stone, artists who combine traditional Japanese doll-making with contemporary art.

The two sisters are third-generation ningyo doll-makers, descendants of the Japanese Doll-Making Muraoka Family of Tokyo. Their work has been exhibited internationally.

The dolls on display are beautiful in their simplicity. The sculptural figures appear serene, pure of spirit, almost angelic.

According to the JFG website’s description, these dolls are meant to be poetic. They convey deep emotion and philosophical meaning.

Many of the spiritual dolls are thin and elongated. To me their soft forms seem to have emerged from inside growing wood, or bone, or from living beams of light.

One fascinating display shows the many steps taken to make these unique dolls. If you’re a crafty person, you certainly want to see this!

Image of the Heart can be experienced in person inside the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden through October 30, 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The cool Dragon Ball activation at Comic-Con!

If you’re into Dragon Ball, but not in San Diego, you’ll probably like these photos. I took them today at the Bandai Namco activation that is outside at Comic-Con 2022.

If you are in San Diego, head behind the Marriott Marquis hotel to the large outdoor plaza near the Marina Office (the Marriott Hotel Marina Terrace). Once you see the big statues and flashy photo op panels, you’ll know you’ve arrived.

The public is welcome, I found no lines, and no Comic-Con badge is required! There are card and video games to play, lots of figurines to check out, and more. If you get there early in the day–they open at 10 am–swag is handed out!

As promised, here are my photos. The experience is as fun as it looks!

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy in Balboa Park.

A new exhibition opened a week ago at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. It’s titled The Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy.

The works on display are curated by Befu Osawa, a Master Calligrapher based in San Diego. The history of Chinese and Japanese scripts is shown, along with Kanji letters that are very seldom seen.

The exquisite art of calligraphy has always fascinated me. Particularly when it’s applied to logograms that visually represent words. With careful applications of ink, the meanings of words and written stories are made visible, and imbued with additional dimension.

As a writer whose alphabetical pen strokes are careless scratches, that skillfully added depth makes me jealous!

If you love calligraphy, head over to the Exhibit Hall at the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden. This exhibition continues through July 23, 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sister cities observed at Oceanside Civic Center.

Curious eyes can make many interesting discoveries during a walk around the Oceanside Civic Center.

The last time I visited the beautiful Civic Center, I happened to notice a sign and a plaque that honor two of Oceanside’s sister cities: Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Fuji, Japan.

It might seem odd that Pago Pago maintains a close relationship with a city in Southern California, but Oceanside boasts one of the largest Samoan populations in the United States. Why? American Samoa has the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory. A large number of Marine Corps recruits are subsequently based at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside’s military neighbor.

Fuji, Japan has one sister city: Oceanside. The relationship was established in 1991. Fuji is located at the foot of tall, scenic Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains.

I’ve learned that Oceanside has two additional sister cities: Ensenada, Mexico and Kisarazu, Japan.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Exhibit shows history of Japanese Americans in Coronado.

The Coronado Historical Association’s Museum of History and Art presently features an exhibit titled Uprooted: The Story of the Japanese Americans of Coronado.

I visited the museum yesterday. The kind lady at the entrance allowed me to take a few photos when she learned I’m a blogger.

As I stepped into the first gallery, I was immediately pleased to see that the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park had contributed objects for display, including beautiful kimonos. I’m a member of the garden.

Then, as I looked at old photographs and read descriptions, I was stunned to learn that Coronado once had its own Japanese garden! Actually two tea gardens! And the second would be the setting for four motion pictures from 1913 to 1919!

Looking at the exhibit’s many historical photographs, I tried to imagine what life on the island might have been like years ago, particularly for Japanese Americans. The years covered are from the mid-1800’s when immigrants came to California seeking opportunity, to the forced detention of Japanese American citizens during World War II, to more recent and optimistic times.

Many of the displays are made possible by the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.

Anyone interested in local history absolutely should visit this exhibit. I was surprised to learn so much!

More information can be found on the Coronado Historical Association website here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Bright landscapes from memory in Balboa Park.

How would you illustrate your own memories?

An exhibition of art at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park features the “memories” of graphic designer Shuichi Hashimoto.

Should you walk into the garden’s Exhibit Hall, you’ll discover flowers and mountains and clouds and cities, composed quilt-like from many bright fragments. The exhibit is titled Moisture and Light–Landscape in the Memory.

The inspired creator of this unique beauty, Shuichi Hashimoto, is based in Osaka, Japan. According to the JFG website: Hashimoto believes that the persistent rain combined with the humid environment influenced the diverse culture of Japan.

One can see how streaks of light and drops of water in his artwork seem to shimmer and bubble throughout the bright memories.

As I looked upon these abstract landscapes, it seemed I was peering through windows spattered with sunlit raindrops.

You can experience these fantastic memories, too, at the Japanese Friendship Garden through May 7, 2022.

Enjoy a few examples…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cherry blossoms, like a dream, in Balboa Park!

It’s late February. Many cherry blossoms have already opened in Balboa Park’s beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden!

I walked in the Lower Garden today. I moved slowly down the path that wanders through the grove of Japanese cherry trees, and it was like a dream.

Many souls were wandering among the new blossoms, drinking in nature’s beauty.

JFG’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is just a couple weekends away, from March 11th to 13th.

Spring with its promise of renewal must be approaching!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Building a beautiful waterfall in San Diego!

A couple months ago I blogged about a big new waterfall that is coming to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

Yesterday I swung by again and noticed huge progress has been made creating the waterfall!

The step-like watercourse is being readied. Large boulders have been placed where the water will descend through the Lower Garden to the existing bridge, waterfall and koi pond by the Inamori Pavilion. Many smaller rocks will surely follow.

If you’d like to compare photos, click here for what I saw in late November.

UPDATE!

During a later visit, I noticed stairs are being built in the canyon’s side. They climb beside the waterfall. It appears there will be a viewing area up above!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Painting the beauty of a Japanese garden.

Lower Pond – San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden, by artist Ronald Ray Reekers, oil on canvas.

How does one paint the beauty of a Japanese garden? The answer can be found at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

“Visual Harmony in Japanese Gardens and the Beauty of Bonsai” is the title of the current exhibition in JFG’s Exhibit Hall.

Selected work by Southern California artist Ronald Ray Reekers is displayed, including oils, etchings, pastels and charcoal drawings.

What I found most interesting are written descriptions he provides of how to create bonsai and Japanese garden artwork. His art is driven by curiosity and passion.

If you’re an artist, you can visit his YouTube channel here. There are various technical demonstrations and lessons concerning Bonsai Drawing!

Shizuoka Shrine, by artist Ronald Ray Reekers, etching.
Viewing the art of Ronald Ray Reekers in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Garden lantern, by artist Ronald Ray Reekers, oil on canvas.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!