Photos of Tanabata Festival in Balboa Park!

Late this afternoon I stepped into the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to enjoy their first ever Tanabata Festival!

I arrived half an hour before the festival officially opened, and as time progressed more and more people arrived for this joyful summer event. I lingered for a while to enjoy the sights, smells and tastes, and to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture and the Tanabata holiday.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden website: “Originating from Chinese folklore, Tanabata is a holiday that celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi. Separated by the Milky Way, the stars Orihime and Hikoboshi are able to meet once per year on the seventh day of the seventh month. On Sunday, July 7th, JFG has partnered with the Minatomo Japanese Community to have their inaugural Tanabata Festival in San Diego!”

As I walked randomly about I learned about the Tanabata tradition of tanzaku: wishes are written on small pieces of paper which are then hung with other happy decorations on bamboo. I paused to admire some living moss art–kokedama. I then walked down into the Lower Garden.

Outside the Inamori Pavilion yummy Japanese food was being prepared. Inside the elegant pavilion there was artwork, including some bright, very colorful fluorescent paintings. I caught the first scheduled performance in the pavilion, which was an onigiri (rice ball) preparation demonstration. I was shown how to easily fold a paper flower.

I then headed back to the Upper Garden and listened as Write Out Loud presented a Japanese fairy tale. I paused to admire a bunch of origami artwork that was being created.

Every person I met was smiling.

I hope this is the first of many wonderful Tanabata Festivals at the Japanese Friendship Garden. That is my wish.

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!

Naoko creates a flower.

I met artist Naoko Ozaki today at the Art Club of San Diego show in Balboa Park. She was very nice and demonstrated Japanese brush painting for my camera.

Together let’s watch her gather brush, black ink and paper, and magically create a flower!

Naoko Ozaki can be found at this website.

Her art is both subtle and powerful.

Like a memory.

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!

Art Club of San Diego creates memory, dreams.

Several years ago I attended the Art Club of San Diego’s summer show in Balboa Park. You can revisit that memory here.

Today, as I walked through Balboa Park past the Casa del Prado, I noticed this group of local artists was having their 17th Annual Art Show.

I love Japanese art. It’s suggestive, dreamlike, and has a deep spiritual quality. Naturally I stepped inside.

I met a group of very nice people. The artists whose creative work was on display were Hiroko Szechinski, Kayo Beach, Kazue Knowlton, Joe Cross, Louise Rendich, Keiko Kitano, Teri Ashabraner and Naoko Ozaki. Their diverse artwork includes ceramics, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arrangement) and brush painting.

I was informed the Art Club of San Diego welcomes new members! If you want to learn more, or perhaps would like to purchase one of their pieces, you can find contact info at the bottom left corner of the following flyer. (Click the photo and it will enlarge for easy reading.)

I was glad my feet turned this way today. As I walked among these precious works of art, I felt I was walking through a beautiful memory, or a dream.

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!

Bright cherry blossoms, after the festival.

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park drew huge crowds! I enjoyed stopping by on the weekend and was pleased to see so many people.

The festival is now over.

Late this afternoon I entered the garden again to experience the cherry blossoms in a more tranquil setting. Sunlight slanted through the pink and white flowers, making them shine.

If you love beautiful gardens but dislike crowds, now is the time to go!

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!

I wrote a very short story about people and cherry blossoms a couple years ago. It’s titled A Short Bloom. You can read it here.

Asian arts come to life on museum’s front steps!

A colorful Celebration of Asian Arts enlivens Balboa Park . . . On The Steps of the San Diego Museum of Art.
On the steps of the San Diego Museum of Art, a colorful celebration of Asian arts enlivens Balboa Park.

Every so often the San Diego Museum of Art hosts a fantastic, free outdoor event in Balboa Park. This evening I experienced On the Steps at SDMA: A Celebration of Asian Arts!

There were joyful performances of music and dance, and at several booths in front of the museum’s entrance a variety of arts from diverse Asian cultures were demonstrated.

This is what I saw!

I arrived just in time to catch an amazing, super energetic drumming performance by Naruwan Taiko of San Diego.
I arrived just in time to catch an amazing, super energetic drumming performance by Naruwan Taiko of San Diego.
The San Diego Bonsai Club was demonstrating an ancient Asian art form.
The San Diego Bonsai Club was demonstrating an ancient Asian art form.
Like a small forest of tall, beautiful trees.
Like a small forest of tall, beautiful trees.
Ikebana flower arrangements added even more beauty to the event. The demonstration was hosted by Sharon Bristow at the Japanese booth.
Ikebana flower arrangements added even more beauty to the event. The demonstration was hosted by Sharon Bristow at the Japanese booth.
These amazing Korean ceramics were all created by Yonsoo Chung, representing the House of Korea in Balboa Park.
These amazing Korean ceramics were all created by Yonsoo Chung, representing the House of Korea in Balboa Park.
Korean artist Kim, Eun Jin shows youth how to make jewel-like teapots from colorful strips of paper!
Korean artist Kim, Eun Jin shows youth how to make jewel-like teapots from colorful strips of paper!
These tiny teapots are made with recycled paper by the Artreepaper community with the help of Kim, Eun Jin.
These tiny teapots are made with recycled paper by the Artreepaper community with the help of Kim, Eun Jin.
I was shown by an artist from the Confucius Institute as SDSU how the name Richard appears as a Chinese ink painting!
I was shown by an artist from SDSU’s Confucius Institute how the name Richard appears as a Chinese ink painting!
Even more art was being produced by lots of creative people at this table.
Even more cool art was being produced by lots of creative people at this table.
Kids representing the Confucius Institute perform kung fu fan moves in front of the Timken Museum of Art.
Kids representing the Confucius Institute perform kung fu fan moves in front of the Timken Museum of Art.
These performers from the San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute were hanging out in the Plaza de Panama as they awaited their turn in the spotlight!
These performers from the San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute were hanging out in the Plaza de Panama as they awaited their turn in the spotlight!

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!

Japanese music, pottery in Balboa Park.

Today I walked into the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park just in time to listen to a wonderful small concert.

I seemed to drift into a living dream as I listened to extraordinarily beautiful music played on the traditional Japanese koto and shakuhachi. The musicians, Kyoko Takeda and Jon Crick, talked about the pieces they performed, and the instruments they played.

I heard flowing streams, and the wind, and deer calling, and raindrops, and notes rising and falling, and echoing mysteries, and perhaps even a whisper of the essence of life.

After the concert, I walked about the Exhibit Hall and enjoyed looking at the current exhibition, which is titled Tradition and Beyond. Five talented San Diego potters have used traditional Japanese ceramic techniques to create organic pieces. I saw a flowing, easy, natural beauty, spun carefully from the human spirit, much like music.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, visit Short Stories by Richard.

300 year old Kannon statue in Balboa Park!

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden!

Several days ago an astonishing 5750 pound bronze statue, created in 1735 by Takumi Obata, was installed by crane at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I must apologize, because up until now I have been referring to the new statue as a Great Buddha. After seeing the magnificent sculpture firsthand today, and reading more about it, I’ve learned that it’s actually a kannon statue, representing Kannon Bosatsu, a¬†Buddhist¬†goddess of mercy that is popular in Japan. The deity is called Guanyin in other parts of Asia, and has its origin in India in the 1st or 2nd century.

The amazing, nearly 300 year old cast bronze statue sits beside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new stream in the Lower Garden, among peaceful trees that invite meditation.

Originally this Kannon Bosatsu was located at the Middlegate Japanese Garden in Pass Christian, Mississippi. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed that garden, the damaged statue was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Gabrych, who later donated it to San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

A second statue that was donated to JFG also was installed several days ago. The large guardian deity stands in the Upper Garden, opposite the bonsai collection. I’m told that less is known about the exact history of this particular sculpture. I believe it represents Kongorikishi, one of the two Nio guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.

Enjoy these photos, then head over to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park for the full experience!

Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Nature's elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Nature’s elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Gazing down at the second half of the new stream to where it joins the Lower Garden's main river.
Gazing from the platform down at the second half of the new stream, to where it joins the Lower Garden’s main river.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
It's now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
It’s now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
An historic addition to an already very special place.
An historic addition to an already very special place.

To see photos that I took as the stream and observation platform were under construction, 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!

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!