My involvement with Japan goes back to 1969, when I left a dreary Chicago apartment and job, bought a one-way ticket, and married a man I hadn’t seen in 10 months. I was young and adventurous. I regret now that I didn’t learn the language better in the three years of my extended stay. I did, however, begin my lifetime study of ikebana. We visited gardens, temples, and the requisite “tourist destinations” in the limited time a US Navy sailor and his bride had on weekends and short vacations.
When I moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1976, one of the first places I visited was its beautiful Japanese Garden. It transported me back to Japan, and I was immediately fascinated by the beauty of Japanese gardens, their history and design concepts. When I became a volunteer Tour Guide in 2003, I learned the basics, and I read all I could.
I have travelled to Japan six times in recent years and have visited public gardens, but realized I needed more in-depth information. An ad in the Sukiya Living magazine piqued my interest in a study tour. The editors provide walking tours of Kyoto twice a year (www.rothteien.com/tour/itinerary.htm) and I decided that this is a good time to experience the tour and learn first hand.
My past attempts to keep diaries of trips haven't been very successful, but I hope to record my thoughts and impressions (and learnings!) and share photos while they are fresh in my mind. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences! Come along with me!