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Inside CSULB
Vol 57 No. 8 : April 2005
Vol 57 No. 8 | Apr. 2005

Spring Festival Event Set for Japanese Garden Sunday, May 1

Garden Photo

Listen to the music of taiko drums and koto, taste organic teas, stroll among displays of deep purple iris and speak with an iris specialist at “Spring Festival: Custom and Ceremony” on Sunday, May 1, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden on the campus of CSULB.

The annual event also will include displays of colorful carp flags flying over the garden's pond, exquisite doll displays and the opportunity to learn Japanese art techniques.

“The Spring Festival allows visitors to discover different aspects of Japanese culture,” explained Alison Redfoot, education coordinator for the Miller Japanese Garden. “This year, the focus is on the significance of cultural symbols associated with springtime in Japan.”

The musical portion of the program will feature taiko drums and koto, two of Japan's most popular traditional musical instruments. Traditionally, taiko drums were handmade by the player to be used in times of peace and conflict to overcome obstacles. Kokoro Taiko of Long Beach will play the Japanese taiko drums, and the Awaya Koto Conservatory will perform springtime melodies on the koto.

Adults and children will have the opportunity to learn different ways to decorate shikishi, Japanese art boards, using calligraphy and other Japanese art forms.

The afternoon event will include tasting of springtime teas and a presentation by tea expert Steven Schwartz from the Art of Tea. He will discuss such aspects as the processing of tea, where it is grown and the various qualities that exist.

Carp flags, known as koi nobori, are flown every May from household flagpoles and rooftops for each boy in the home and atop modern skyscrapers across Japan to celebrate the season. The sweet-flag iris flowers are linked with males due to the belief that their long sharp leaves are shaped like swords of samurai warriors.  

On their Spring Festival day, it is customary for boys to bathe with the leaves and roots as it is believed the leaves will make them grow healthy and develop strength and courage. Japanese dolls (ningyo) depicting beautiful young women and handsome warriors are another highlight of the festival. These highly regarded dolls have been handed down from one generation to another. Dozens of porcelain dolls representing a variety of styles will be on display this day only at the garden. The Spring Festival is open to the general public without reservations.  

Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for Friends of the Japanese Garden members and free for children (12 and under) and CSULB students. The Miller Japanese Garden is located on Earl Warren Drive near the Bellflower Boulevard entrance to CSULB.  

Free parking is available to the public in Lot 16 near the garden on Sunday. For more information, call the Japanese Garden at 562/985-8885.

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