San Francisco

Long time favorite still pleases

In the early 1970s, my husband and I lived in San Francisco before moving to Hawaii. We used to walk all over the city, sometimes hopping on a bus, streetcar or cable car.

Golden Gate Park was a favorite for exhibits at the DeYoung, competitions at the Hall of Flowers, and peaceful respite with tea at the Japanese garden. Coming back to the city in 2012 was a wonderful time to visit with much missed friends. We enjoyed a progressive dinner in Little Italy with appetizers, main course, and coffee with dessert in three different places.

And we couldn’t wait to see the new (to us) additions to the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden.

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The South Gare, originally from the Japan exhibit at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, was partially rebuilt in the 1980s   [photo by Bill F. Eger]

“Originally created as a ‘Japanese Village’ exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the site originally spanned about one acre and showcased a Japanese style garden,” according to the gardens website http://japaneseteagardensf.com/

“When the fair closed, Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and [park] superintendent John McLaren reached a gentleman’s agreement, allowing Mr. Hagiwara to create and maintain a permanent Japanese style garden as a gift for posterity.”

The Californi fair came to be because Michael H. deYoung was a Presidential appointee to the 1893 fair in Chicago — the World’s Columbian Exposition — and he saw the benefits to his home state. Soon, plans were underway to hold a six-month exhibition in Golden Gate Park from late January to early July 1894.

The San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden is the only ethnological display still in existence from that fair. And Makoto Hagiwara poured his talents and personal wealth into expanding its gardens to five acres.

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real ducks mingle with metal cranes in a pond     [photo by Bill F. Eger]

Makoto died in 1925 and care of the garden passed to his daughter Takano Hagiwara. With the outbreak of World War II and the relocation and incarceration of most Japanese from the West Coast, the Hagiwara family was removed from their beloved garden, which was renamed “The Oriental Tea Garden.” Japanese structures and a Shinto shrine were demolished. Chinese women replaced Japanese tea servers.

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waterfall, stones and lantern reflect in a pond below the iconic tea house  [photo by Bill F. Eger]

Following the war, in the 1950s, a period of reconciliation ensued. The tea house and gift shop were redesigned by Nagao Sakurai. Japanese elements returned to the garden. The name was restored. And most of the Hagiwara family’s dwarf trees returned.

The street in front of the garden entry was renamed Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive and in 1974 artist Ruth Asawa donated a plaque honoring the Hagiwara family’s dedication.

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seasonal color comes with summer’s iris        [photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger]

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traditional pathways blend with more modern walkways   [photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger]

Congratulations to the management on improving the quality of items offered at the gift shop. And a special tip of the hat to the Japanese and Japanese-Americans serving at the tea house. The tea was very tasty.

For more on the history of the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden, please refer to the garden’s web site mentioned above, and to the web site of Eric Sumiharu Hagiwara-Nagata http://www.hanascape.com/

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Categories: California, San Francisco | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

a taste of what’s to come

Still writing when I should be packing … we’re off on another adventure to visit gardens, this time on the east coast.

entryway to Kyoto Gardens at the Hilton DoubleTree in Los Angeles

entryway to Kyoto Gardens at the Hilton DoubleTree in Los Angeles

But I am three states and several gardens behind in posting where we have been!

So here is a little preview of what is yet to be posted. Now to that packing!

Elaine shows the donated gate at the UC-Berkeley pathway to the Japanese pond.

Elaine shows the donated gate at the UC-Berkeley pathway to the Japanese pond.

photo by Bill F. Eger

Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA
photo by Bill F. Eger

the entry to a private residential garden in Orinda, California photo by Bill F. Eger

the entry to a private residential garden in Orinda, California
photo by Bill F. Eger

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park dates back to 1894. photo by Bill F. Eger

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park dates back to 1894.
photo by Bill F. Eger

The Japanese Friendship Garden at San Diego's Balboa Park is completing expansion work to be ready for the park's centennial in 2015. photo by Bill F. Eger

The Japanese Friendship Garden at San Diego’s Balboa Park is completing expansion work to be ready for the park’s centennial in 2015.
photo by Bill F. Eger

Any photographs not otherwise credited are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. If you borrow, be nice and give credit.

Comments are welcome on this and other posts in this blog.

Categories: Berkeley, California, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco | Leave a comment

The trip West continues

A more extensive article on Chicago’s Osaka Garden at Jackson Park will be posted soon. By 2013, the garden was re-named The Garden of the Phoenix.

Osaka Garden pond and bridge

Osaka Garden pond

Osaka Garden at Jackson Park in Chicago dates from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was recently renewed due to the efforts of an active Friends group with the expertise and guidance of Sadafumi Uchiyama and the cooperation of the Chicago Parks Department.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos from the rest of the journey from Chicago to Denver to San Francisco by train.

Here, we have included images from gardens in Chicago, Denver, Grand Junction, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda and San Francisco to give you a little taste of the articles still to come.

Denver pond

Looking in one direction, Shofu-en displays one of the inspirations for its name — “Garden of the Pines and Wind.”

Denver Shofu-en

Looking across the pond in another direction, one could feel transported to similar gardens in urban Japan. The residents of the nearby condos must enjoy a beautiful view.

Grand Junction

Entry to the Japanese garden in Grand Junction, Colorado, is through a conservatory with plants familiar to many in Hawaii and other tropical regions.

Berkeley Botanic

This is a small section of the pond in the Japanese garden at UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden. Iris were in bloom throughout our journey in June.

Higashi Hongwanji

The Higashi Hongwanji in Berkeley (www.bonbu.com) has an elegant entry garden maintained in part with the assistance of the Aesthetic Pruners Association.

Oakland

Every detail matters — and here a relatively new stone appears to have been in place for hundreds of years due to the lichen.

borrowed scenery

The living room is arranged to take full advantage of the garden in this private residence in northern California.

WF entry

A rooftop corporate garden in San Francisco, created some years ago, was completely redone recently to address engineering problems that developed over the years. This is a small detail of an area separating the entry door, which leads to the garden, from a walkway that goes around the roof.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

San Francisco
Ginkgo leaves near the 1915 pagoda at the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden

To see a full size version of any photograph in this blog, just click on the image.

Categories: Berkeley, California, Chicago, Colorado, Denver, Grand Junction, Illinois, Oakland, San Francisco | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A little something for the railroad fans

Some of our readers have asked for a little detail on our railroad adventure: what lines we rode, what the stations were like, how was the food and who got the upper berth.

There is no way my husband and I could have made this trip from Atlanta to the San Francisco Bay area if it were not for Amtrak. The same trip by air would have been prohibitively expensive and not nearly as enjoyable.

Everywhere we went, we reveled in the anxiety-free wonder of looking out large windows at the cityscapes and countryside. It’s no wonder that the Amtrak motto is “Change the Way You See the World.”

On the wall of the Grand Junction, Colorado, station is a small sampling of Amtrak posters offering guided train tours.

On every train, we found engaging and delightful conversation with a wide range of fellow travelers from Switzerland, Canada, China, Australia, Holland, France, and so many states that I’ve lost count. Families were traveling with their children and grandchildren. Businesspeople were going to work or coming home from conferences. Young couples were honeymooning, older couples were celebrating wedding anniversaries. All in all a wonderful mix.

Our first train station in Atlanta, Georgia, still had the comfortable old style curved wooden benches with tall globe lamps.

Baggage allotment is similar to that of airplanes in size and weight of luggage to be checked — and we had to do some quick switching to get the large red suitcase lighter by moving several one-pound bags of Hilo Coffee Mill whole bean coffee to the smaller purple suitcase. Giving away omiyage as we went from garden to garden plus mailing home packages of books and gifts purchased kept us at the proper check in weight.

Our first train — #19 on The Crescent Line — arrives in Atlanta to take us to Birmingham, Alabama.

On some legs of this journey, we reserved coach seats. The ride from Atlanta, GA, to Birmingham, AL, had a delayed departure due to a live wire on the tracks somewhere in Virginia, but once underway, proceeded uneventfully. The Crescent Line begins in New York and goes to New Orleans. We quickly learned why our fellow coach passengers traveled with blankets. The AC was cranked up and it was COLD inside that car. Thank goodness for jackets and sweaters.

close-up detail of wire, rock and metal slat combination used to create benches in Railroad Park, Birmingham, AL

Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, a few blocks from the Amtrak station, is full of wide open spaces used by walkers, joggers, symphony performances and yoga classes, to name a few. It was a featured stop on the Birmingham Botanical Garden’s Leaf and Petal Glorious Gardens tour.

The Crescent Line continued from Birmingham, AL, to New Orleans, LA, a day-long trip for which we booked a roomette. I napped in the upper berth using both mattresses as Bill stayed seated upright in the seats below giving him a chance to wander around to the lounge and dining car. This line had some older equipment so our roomette featured a sink and toilet. Shower was down the hall. Seats were wide, roomy and comfortable. In this sleeping car, roomettes lined one side of the car with a narrow windowed aisle on the other side.

poster for the Crescent Line — loved the graphics throughout this journey

The New Orleans, Louisiana, train station features some of the most amazing frescoes I’ve seen in a long time. The New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOUPT) was designed in 1949 and opened in 1954 at which time it was considered an ultra-modern facility.

Featured are 120 feet (2,166 square feet) of murals depicting New Orleans and Louisiana history painted by Conrad A. Albrizio with the assistance of James Fisher. Albrizio was a renown art professor at Louisiana State University. The murals in four parts depict the ages of exploration, colonization, conflict and the modern age. The murals were restored after Hurricane Katrina.

For more information on New Orleans’ railroad history dating back to 1831, see the Amtrak link: http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/NOL/Station_view

one section of the colonization panel

one section of the exploration panel

New Orleans is served by three lines: Crescent, City of New Orleans with service to Chicago, and Sunset Limited with service to Los Angeles. Our next leg of the journey would be aboard the Sunset Limited which used to go all the way from Los Angeles to Orlando, Florida but the section of track beyond New Orleans has yet to be replaced after Hurricane Katrina. Our train left New Orleans before noon and arrived in San Antonio, Texas in the middle of the night.

one version of the Sunset Limited poster

From San Antonio to Chicago, with several stops along the way, we were aboard the Texas Eagle. Sometimes we were in coach. For the long leg from Fort Worth, TX, to St. Louis, MO, we were in another roomette, this one in newer equipment that featured roomettes on both sides of a central aisle.

K.T.’s window seat in coach with plenty of leg and elbow room, loads of space for carry-on baggage above plus beneath seats. Note the different color tags stuck in a rail indicating to the conductor that passenger’s stop.

Bill enjoys the view from the large windows in this typical roomette. The upper berth drops down to just above the top edge of the window — still plenty of headroom for the person in the lower seat, but the upper berth in some sleeping cars can be rather close to the ceiling of the car.

Categories: Alabama, Amtrak, Atlanta, Birmingham, California, Chicago, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New Orleans, San Antonio, San Francisco, Texas | Tags: , | 6 Comments

On the road

Walking through the San Francisco airport, we noticed emblems from several Sister Cities projected on the walkway. This lotus is from Bangalore.

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