Sunday, May 12, 2013

Visit Roses & Gardening Show 2013

Lovely exhibition of roses, at a grand location. Special treat this year will be roses from Turkey:

To mark the friendly relations Japan and Turkey have enjoyed over the years (despite the rivalry involved in both countries’ bids to host the 2020 Olympics), a new variety of rose called Ertugrul, named after a frigate of the Ottoman Navy that sank off the coast of Wakayama Prefecture in 1890, will be unveiled to the public for the first time. Some Turkish foods will also be available at the expo.

Other highlights at the six-day show include a fountain that uses pure rose water. A total of 200,000 Damask roses, a variety known for its strong fragrance, will be used to create the fountain water, which visitors are free to scoop up and apply to their skin.

The Japan Times: Outlook is rosy at 15th annual garden show

If you like new ideas for your garden, small or large, this is a great opportunity.

The International Roses & Gardening Show 2013 will held from May 11-16 at the Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture. Admission 2,000.

For more information, visit (J).

Top image from last year's show, from the karie24 blog. I like how the 1970s anime Rose of Versailles is mentioned, with its romantic themes, that I think Japanese fans know better than most of us who grew up in Europe.

Swedish diplomat, Axel von Fersen, for example, is a major character in this Japanese work of fiction, which was first published in 1973.

Many Swedish people would have trouble explaining who he is! "The Rose of Versailles" was the first commercially translated manga to be available in North America, in 1983. From wikipedia:

The Rose of Versailles focuses on Oscar François de Jarjayes, a girl raised as a man to become her father's successor as leader of the Palace Guards. A brilliant combatant with a strong sense of justice, Oscar is proud of the life she leads, but becomes torn between class loyalty and her desire to help the impoverished as revolution brews among the oppressed lower class. Also important to the story are her conflicting desires to live life as both a militant and a regular woman as well as her relationships with Marie Antoinette, Count Axel von Fersen, and servant and best friend André Grandier.

And there is much more:

It's easy to toss out lines about how influential The Rose of Versailles is, but it's another matter to really sit down and grasp how much Ikeda helped change the manga scene with her work. Dr. Susan Napier, Professor of the Japanese Program at Tufts University and author of Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle, was Viki's host, along with Christopher Macdonald, publisher of Anime News Network, at the North American premiere of Rose at New York Comic Con on October 13. Speaking about the title in an interview with ANN, she said that The Rose of Versailles is one of the most important manga series ever made. “It was one of the first major manga written by a woman,” she said. “Up till that point most manga had been written by men, but in the early 70's a group of women writers known as the group of 24 appeared, and Versailles's creator Riyoko Ikeda was one of them. All of them would go on to have a major impact on the shojo manga industry, helping to make shojo manga a serious and significant genre that was not only about romance but dealt with social issues as well.

“Ikeda's Rose of Versailles was particularly influential, for its fascinating and involving story and its exciting setting —the French Revolution, depicted with great historical accuracy,” she said.

Napier pointed to the main character Oscar as being a major asset to the series, saying, “The cross-dressing young woman would become the series' most important protagonist, eclipsing even Marie Antoinette. Although there had been cross dressing manga protagonists previously, (the most famous being the heroine of Tezuka Osamu's Princess Knight series), Oscar was a truly complex and three-dimensional figure who offered young Japanese women a different kind of role model from the traditional demure and subdued idea of Japanese womanhood. Oscar went on to spawn a long line of feisty cross dressing heroines, the most famous of whom is probably Utena of the popular Revolutionary Girl Utena series.”

Napier went on to explain in more detail the specifics of what The Rose of Versailles brought to shojo, including a change in art style. “Visually, Rose was one of the pioneers in developing the open frame, visually detailed style that became the hallmark of shojo manga in the 1970's,” she said. “Although Ikeda was not alone in doing this, (Hagio Moto, another member of the group of 24, was probably the first in doing this in Tomo no Shinzo), the lush and gorgeous setting of pre-Revolutionary France depicted in Versailles appealed enormously to readers and helped solidify the trend toward visual lavishness in subsequent shojo manga aesthetics.”

But it wasn't just art that was altered. It also gave rise to strong storylines, and, very importantly for female readers, to strong female leads. While it's easy to point to the gender-bending lead Sapphire of Princess Knight as predating Oscar in the female-disguised-as-male scenario, it's still worth noting that Sapphire typically shows strength in male form, and weakness in female form. This is not an empowering message to female readers. While The Rose of Versailles played around with gender-bending scenarios, it also gave more strength and equality to women.

“Deborah Shamoon in her excellent book Passionate Friendship: The Aesthetics of Girls' Culture in Japan believes that the romance between Oscar and the love of her life, Andre, served as a paradigm for a relationship between equals where the woman does not have to lose her identity,” said Napier. “In general, the uncompromising, somewhat tomboyish female lead character became a popular heroine in later manga and anime.”

As if this weren't already influential enough, Napier had more important details to discuss. “Another significant aspect of shojo manga culture that Rose helped to pioneer was the importance of fan/reader interaction with the manga's creator. Ikeda actually changed the plot to emphasize Oscar more vividly because of strong reader response to the character. The interaction between fans and creators, with fan reaction affecting the development of a series, remains an important element in shojo manga culture to this day.”

Making History: The Rose of Versailles

Back to roses. I like how the Seibu rose show this year is more about Turkey. Of course, we would have no variety of roses without the amazing variety from that part of the world. And, did you know that Japan has had relations with Turkey and the Ottoman Empire at least since 1889, when the ship Ertugrul arrived at Yokohama. It sank due to terrible weather on its return journey back to Constantinople, sadly, and has since become a symbol of friendship between Japan and Turkey.

At the site of the accident, around 533 sailors, of whom fifty were officers including the commander Admiral Ali Osman Pasha, lost their lives. Only six officers and sixty-three sailors survived. Six of the survivors were uninjured, nine severely wounded and the others sustained light injuries...  

All of the sixty-nine survivors were transported back to Constantinople aboard Japanese corvettes Kongō and Hiei, leaving Shinagawa, Tokyo in October 1890. The sultan accepted the officers of the Japanese battleships on 5 January 1891 and expressed his appreciation for the relief operation by decorating them with medals.

Imagine that, all of you who fly in and out of convenient airports to this country; we are all in debt to people like the sailors who came here not so long ago, on ships like the Ertugrul. Respect.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seizo Suzuki, Rose Breeder in Japan

Seizo Suzuki was a rose breeder who, with his rare talent and incessant efforts, played a leading role in the rosedom of Japan. Due to his leadership that Japan's rosedom has come to enjoy the world-wide reputation it holds today. During his lifetime, he raised as many as 160 new rose varieties, and 30 of them were awarded the ARRS and other prizes at prestigious intenational competitions of new roses the world over, earning him the reputation as a great breeder globally.

He was one of the breeders who recognised early on the importance of species roses and old garden roses as a gene pool for future breeding programmes. He collected about 2,000 such roses in his research institute of the Keisei Rose Nursery. This collection impressed Mr. Peter Harkness so strongly that he wrote in an article he contributed to the RNRS journal The Rose: "For quality of growth and richness of variety I have never seen its like. I could have stayed for days." (The Rose, Christmas 1993)

Seizo Suzuki was born in Tokyo in 1913. His love of plants started in his early childhood under the influence of his father, an enthusiastic amateur horticulturist. Among many plants, he was particularly fascinated by a beautiful red rose, Gruss an Teplitz, the queen of his father's garden. It was this rose, that made him decide to take up the study of roses as his lifelong occupation.

In 1938, at the age of twenty-four, he started his career as a professional rosarian, opening Todoroki Rose Garden in Tokyo. Two years later, in 1940, he married Haruyo, who was to become his most devoted colleague all through his life.

Roses in Japan have a long history.

Heritage Roses:

The City of Sakura Rose Garden (Kusabue-no-Oka Rose Garden) is located in Sakura, a city in a quiet rural area, 15km west of Narita International Airport and 40km east of the central area of Tokyo. Though it is a small city, Sakura has an interesting history stretching back over a thousand years. During the Edo period, Japan closed its door to the outside world for over 250 years until it gave up the policy of diplomatic isolation in the middle of the 19th century. It was Masayoshi Hotta, the then feudal lord of Sakura and a chief minister of the Tokugawa government, who played a pivotal role in promoting Japan’s open door policy at that time. 

After the Meiji Restoration, he aggressively worked to introduce culture and advanced technology to Japan from other countries. In those days, Sakura led the nation in various fields: art, medicine, language study, finance, and horticulture. Hotta opened a trial farm in Sakura with the aim of promoting the study of modern horticulture. 

His son Masatomo served as the first president of the Japan Imperial Rose Society. It was considered that Sakura, with its tradition of horticulture and of roses, should be the place to preserve heritage roses, and the City of Sakura Rose Garden (Kusabue-no-Oka Rose Garden) was therefore opened. The Garden has been trying to collect historically important roses, on the basis of the late Mr. Seizo Suzuki’s rose collection, and with the help of many rose lovers in and out of the country. At present, the Garden has 850 varieties --- 120 species, 600 old garden roses, and 130 modern roses. In total, 1900 roses are taken care of by many volunteers in the 2.5 acre lot of this garden. 

Where do the roses come from?

Don't forget Takatori Rose Nursery, in Okayama, from 1935.

Fantasy Garden Roses
bred by Yoshiho Takatori and variety name is from Aynu language.
Fragrance of the Old Roses and dwarf type of English Roses.
In our climate Fantasy Garden Roses are best protected for summer.
All are good repeaters, except where noted.
Japan loves its roses. Suntory and others are also breeding these amazing plants.

We are very grateful to those rose authorities around the world who have kindly donated many varieties of rare roses to our garden.
  • The late Mr. Seizo Suzuki, Japan : He donated part of his collection: 90 varieties of species roses and 200 varieties of old garden roses, enabling us to open Rose Garden Alba, the predecessor of Kusabue-no-Oka Rose Garden.
  • Mrs. Odile Masquelier, Lyon, France : She is known as the owner of the beautiful garden featuring roses, La Bonne Maison. From her collection as many as 200 varieties of rare roses were donated to the garden.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Viru Viraraghavan, Kodaikanal, India : They raise heat-resistant roses, and use species roses such as R. gigantea and R. clinophylla in their breeding programme. Their roses including HT ‘Blushing Yuki’ and some amazing Clinophylla hybrids are planted in the garden.
  • Mrs. Helga Brichet, Santa Maria, Italy : She has greatly contributed to the preservation of heritage roses through her activities in the WFRS. From her own collection, many rare China roses and Gigantea hybrids were donated to us.
  • Vintage Gardens in California, US : The gardens donated to us 50 very rare heritage roses from their collection.
  • Huaian Rose Garden, Jiangsu Province, China : It sent us old China and Tea roses originating in China with Chinese names. It is said some of them were raised in the 12th century.
  • Prof. Yoshihiro Ueda, Japan : From his precious collection of wild roses from Japan and China, many roses, including very attractive R. chinensis spontanea, were donated to us.
  • Dr. Yuki Mikanagi, Japan : She is a specialist in wild roses in Japan and in rose pigments. She donated to us many of rare specimens, e.g. R. luciae ‘Anemone Form’ and R. sambucina.

Damask Rose in Japan

The Damask rose is one of the oldest rose strains in the world, its virtues lauded since antiquity.

Today it is mainly cultivated for its use in perfumes -- and in the Syrian village of Al Marah, the traditions for its cultivation have endured through the centuries.


A total of 200,000 Damask roses, a variety known for its strong fragrance, will be used to create the fountain water, which visitors are free to scoop up and apply to their skin.

The International Roses & Gardening Show 2013 will held from May 11-16 at the Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture. Admission 2,000.

For more information, visit (J).

Roses are tricky plants. Most of of just know the flowers, and we have no idea about how those gorgeous pink, red, or white blossoms appear. Behind the Scent has more.

Half the fun of introducing a new fragrance family into our home fragrance collections is doing the research on the basic elements we combine. In our newest fragrance family, Cedar Rose, which incorporates Atlas Cedarwood of which we have written previously, we also have combined the heady fragrance of the Damask Rose.

The Japan Times: Outlook is rosy at 15th annual garden show

Noun1.damask rose - large hardy very fragrant pink rosedamask rose - large hardy very fragrant pink rose; cultivated in Asia Minor as source of attar of roses; parent of many hybrids

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Teachings (New Orleans Zen Temple)

Maka Hannya Haramita Shingyo

The Great Sutra of Profound Essential Wisdom and Beyond
The Bodhisattva of true compassion,
Through deep practice in Great Wisdom,
Understands that the body and the five skandas are only emptiness.
And with this understanding, he helps all who suffer.
Oh Sariputra,
Phenomena is no different than ku, ku no different from phenomena.
Phenomena becomes ku, ku becomes phenomena.
The five skandas too are only phenomena.
Oh Sariputra,
All things are ku.
There is no birth, no death,
No purity, no impurity,
No increase, no decrease.
This is why in ku there is no form, no skandas,
No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind.
There is no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no thought.
There is no knowing, no ignorance, no illusion, no cessation of illusion.
No withering, no death, no end to withering and death.
There is no beginning to suffering, no end to suffering.
There is no knowledge, no profit, no non-profit.
Because of this wisdom which leads beyond, the Bodhisattva is fearless.
All illusion and all attachment are dropped off, and he can grasp the final end to life, nirvana.
All Buddhas of the past, of the present and of the future,
Through this incomparable, unparalleled and authentic incantation,
Can attain understanding of this supreme wisdom which frees us from suffering
As it does away with all suffering, it allows us to find reality, true ku.
Go, go, go together, beyond, fully beyond, to the shore of satori.

Maka Hannya Haramita Shingyo
Kan ji zai bo za tsu
Gyo jin han ya ha ra mi ta
Ji sho ken go on kai ku
Do i sai ku
Yaku sha ri shi

Shiki fu i ku
Ku fu i shiki
Shiki soku ze ku
Ku soku ze shiki
Ju so gyo shiki

Yaku bu nyo ze
Sha ri shi
Ze sho ho ku so
Fu sho fu metsu
Fu ku fu jo
Fu zo fu gen

Ze ko ku chu
Mu shiki mu ju so gyo shiki
Mu gen ni bi ze shin i
Mu shiki sho ko mi soku ho
Mu gen kai nai shi mu i shiki kai
Mu mu myo yaku mu mu myo jin
Nai shi mu ro shi yaku mu ro shi jin
Mu ku shu metsu do mu chi yaku mu toku i

Mu sho toku ko bo dai sa ta e
Han ya ha ra mi ta ko
Shin mu ke ge mu ke ge ko
Mu u ku fu on ri i sai ten do mu so ku gyo ne

Han san ze sho butso e
Han ya ha ra mi ta ko
Toku a noku ta ra san myaku san bo dai
Ko chi han ya ha ra mi ta
Ze dai jin shu ze dai myo shu
Ze mu jo shu ze mu to do shu
No jo i sai ku shin jitsu fu ko
Ko setsu han ya ha ra mi ta shu
Soku setsu shu watsu

Gya tei gya tei
Ha ra gya tei
Hara so gya tei
Bo ji so wa ka

Hannya Shingyo