I am a freelance writer and diversional therapist, living in Brisbane's North West. I write for Weekend Notes, Must do Brisbane and Starts at Sixty. Visit my blogs at babybloomin.wordpress.com and brisbanetripster.wordpress.com.
On Sunday, August 17th the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens will be hosting Japanese Cultural Day. Having run annually for over 10 years, this is one of the Botanic Gardens' most popular events and best of all, it's free!
Adults and children alike will be wearing traditional Japanese dress and cultural activities will be taking place at both the Japanese Garden and the Richard Randall Art Studio.
Throughout the day you can see tea demonstrations, Mochitsuki (rice cake making), Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) and enjoy Japanese music in the Japanese Garden. The Garden's Japanese name is Yu-tsui-en, which literally translates to 'enjoy, blue-green, garden' and simply means 'Come in to this garden and enjoy the blue of the water and green of the trees'. The Japan Pond and Garden was relocated from the Japanese Government Pavilion at Brisbane's World Expo '88 and opened in February 1989. This is a truly beautiful and serene environment and with many of the azalea bushes currently covered in buds, will no doubt look stunning on this special day.
In the Richard Randall Art Studio calligraphy and brush painting demonstrations will be taking place, along with an exhibition by Mr Eimatsu Kojima. The studio will also host Kamishibai children's picture story sessions, led by Lisa Turner from the Brisbane City Council's Environmental Education Centre. This 1901 Federation style cottage was built for then prominent local artist, Richard Randall. He painted, taught and exhibited at this studio for five years, before his untimely death in 1906. He was, at the time of his death, only 37 years old. The studio has been relocated from its original site in South Brisbane twice, finally coming to rest at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens where it is now a venue for hire.
This event is organised by the Japanese Cultural Centre, sponsored by the Japanese Consulate and supported by the Brisbane City Council. Margot McManus (Visitor Services Officer at the Gardens) said, "We have built a very good relationship with the Japanese Consulate over the years." It is wonderful to think that this event has educated and entertained "Brisbanites" each year, for over 10 years now!
Whilst you're at the Gardens soaking up all this Japanese culture, you might like to pop into the Bonsai House (situated right next to the Japanese Garden) where you'll find approximately 100 plants including camellias, azaleas, figs, conifers and maples, some more than 80 years old!
Why not pack a picnic and head to the Gardens for a day full of interesting Japanese activities and entertainment in this beautiful tranquil setting?