You don’t have to be Japanese or even come with your family to enjoy this public event. On Saturday, September 24, the Botanical Conservatory will present a sensory exploration of Japanese culture during their “Japanese Family Event,” a nod to our sister city, Takaoka, Japan. Crafts, games, demonstrations, food tastes, plant exhibits, and other activities will keep visitors discovering more about our Asian “family” throughout the drop-in hours of 10 am – 3 pm. Several groups of Japanese-Americans and students of Japanese culture will be presenting a variety of arts.
The centerpiece of the Japanese Family Event will be the two performances of an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, at 12 noon and at 2 pm. In order for the most participants to observe, the ceremonies will take place in the Conservatory’s classroom. Japanese women, dressed in kimono, will prepare and present the tea while the audience looks on. An American who has been studying the tea ceremony for several years will interpret it for us. An explanation will also be given about the flower arranging done for the tea ceremony. Viewers can enjoy a display of ikebana and the flowers uniquely arranged for the tea house. Seating is first-come, first-served. There will also be interactive demonstrations of origami folding, sushi rolling, calligraphy, and the making of a confection called manjû that uses rice flour and sweetened red bean paste.
At the same time, the Botanical Conservatory will be hosting the fall plant show of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Elegant miniature trees grown artistically to resemble their full-size counterparts will fill the Saguaro Room at the Conservatory. Plants and pots will be for sale and experts will answer questions. Vote for your favorite and help select the People’s Choice Award winner.
During the visit, guests can experience the tea garden installed by the Conservatory in their Showcase House, following the self-guiding tour to learn about each garden element. An exhibit of gifts from Takaoka to Fort Wayne is on display as well, with interpretative scrolls to describe the artifacts and the culture they represent. The artifacts are on loan from The History Center. All of these efforts have been undertaken to honor our sister city, Takaoka, with whom Fort Wayne has had an almost 40 year relationship.
Conservatory staff and volunteers will be stationed throughout the gardens to invite participants to use their senses as they learn. There will be samples of Japanese treats to taste, an olfactory quiz to match mystery smells with iconic Japanese experiences, a feely-box for touching themed objects, and a scavenger hunt to employ the eyes. Games with prizes and simple origami-style projects will also be offered.
Admission to the Conservatory, bonsai show, and Japanese Family Event is only $3 for an adult, $2 for a child, and free for any child age 2 and under. Tickets can be validated at the Front Desk for the Civic Center Parking Garage; parking meters are free on the weekend.
The event is produced by the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory with support from the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club and Fort Wayne Sister Cities International, and sponsored by Majic 95.1. For more information, please call the Botanical Conservatory at (260) 427-6440 or visit www.botanicalconservatory.org.