Bon and Shoko Koizumi Visit Garden

We were delighted and honored when the grandson of Lafcadio Hearn (Yakumo Koizumi) visited our garden.  Bon Koizumi, accompanied by his wife Shoko, were in New Orleans for the opening of the exhibit “The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn,” which was shown at Tulane University.  Mr. Koizumi gave a presentation on his grandfather, which was well received and appreciated by all who attended.  Despite their busy schedules, Mr. and Mrs. Koizumi were able to take time to visit our garden, named after his grandfather.  Both were very complimentary of the work we’ve done and felt that it did honor to its namesake.

Here is a picture of Bon and Shoko Koizumi, along with Mike Mitchell, president of the Japanese Garden Foundation (on the left) and Robin Tanner, the landscape designer (on the right).

Great Grandson of Lafcadio Hearn to visit New Orleans

As you know, the namesake of our garden is Koizumi Yakumo, the Japanese name taken by writer Lafcadio Hearn when he moved there from New Orleans.  The Japanese Garden Foundation is pleased to help co-sponsor a book and art exhibition of Hearn’s work, entitled The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn.  There will be an opening lecture and reception at Tulane University’s Freeman Auditorium, Oct. 18 at 6:00 p.m.  The exhibition will be open from Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and will run from Oct. 18 through Oct. 28.

For more information about this important exhibit contact Bruce Raeburn at 504.865.5688 (reburn@tulane.edu); or Les Miller 504.314.7833 (lmiller@tulane.edu).

Report On Hurricane Isaac

As everyone knows by now, New Orleans took a near-direct hit from Hurricane Isaac a few weeks ago.  Coming on the anniversary of devastating Hurricane Katrina, this Category 1 storm did not have the devastating effect on the region or the city that we suffered back in 2005, although we did not escape harm completely.  The slow-moving storm lumbered ashore, then sat on us, gushing rain for nearly 60 hours before crawling away to the midwest.

Fortunately the effect on the garden was truly minimal.  The damage shown in the pictures below has already been repaired.

Board Elects New Officers

At the most recent meeting of the JGF Board of Directors, new officers were elected.  For the upcoming term, the new officers will be:

President — Michael S. Mitchell

Vice-President — Dr. Tetsuo Nakamoto

Secretary — Linda Bizzarro

Treasurer — Fr. Frank Candalisa

Director of Development — Eric Hess

Congratulations to all the new officers.  While long-time past-president Jack Strong is not longer at the helm, his tireless efforts over the years will be continue to be seen and enjoyed by all the visitors to the garden.  Fortunately, Jack will stay on as a Board member in the role of Executive President Emeritus.

Board Member Creates New Product

New Orleans is the home base of a new product, a toothpaste which contains chemicals found in chocolate that are actually better for teeth than fluoride!  The product, named Theodent, is available in Whole Food Stores throughout the nation.  Why are we mentioning that here on our Yakumo website?  Because the co-creator of this wonderful new product is none other than Dr. Tetsuo Nakamoto, the vice-president of our Board of Governors.

The pictures below show Dr. Nakamoto at the initial press conference announcing the new discovery.

Matsue Delegation Visits New Orleans

We were pleased and honored to host the Mayor of Matuse, along with a delegation of civic leaders, at a ceremony held in their honor at the garden.  The exchange of gifts and toasts made the evening a very special one, which we will long remember.  The visit was part of a larger good will tour of America.  Here in New Orleans, it coincided with our annual Japan Fest.  Here are some pictures of the festivities featuring the taiko drummers outside the Museum of Art.  We conducted several guided tours of our garden during the Festival.

Mayor of Matsue Japan to Visit Garden

We are excited to learn that the Hon. Masataka Matsuura, the mayor of Matsue, Japan, will be visiting New Orleans on October 7 and 8, 2011.  His visit to New Orleans is part of a larger good will trip to the U.S. which will take him to several American cities.  Since New Orleans and Matsue are “sister cities,” we are especially pleased that the mayor will be here.  He will be hosted by the Hon. Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans.  Donna Fraiche, a member of our board of governors and Japan’s Honorary Consul in New Orleans is helping to coordinate the trip.

On October 7, we at Yakumo Nihon Teien will be honored to host a reception at the Garden Study Center for Mayor Matsuura and his delegation.  This will include an evening tour of our garden.  On Saturday, Oct. 8, the mayor will be engaged in activities related to Japan Fest, held in City Park at the Museum of Art and the Botanical Garden.

Here is a quote from Mayor Landrieu’s letter welcoming Mayor Matsuura:

“Our two cities have long benefited from exchanges of ideas and frequent visits between our leaders.  We hold dearly the tradition begun by Kaizumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn) and the signing of our Sister City agreement in March 1994, and we look forward to turning the next page of our celebrated history together.  During your visit to New Orelans, I hope that you will be able to visit the Yakumo Japanese Garden in City Park and attend Japan Fest hosted by the New Orleans Museum of Art on October 8, 2011.  The festival is a celebration of Japanese culture through the display of authentic Japanese crafts, ceremonies and music.  It gives me great honor to be able to extend this invitation to you and I hope that you will accept it as another token of our friendship.”

The current plan, if the Mayor’s schedule allows, is to hold our reception from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7.  We will be sure and post pictures of the event on our “digital diary” page.

Japan Fest 2010

The Japanese Garden Foundation was well represented at the Japan Fest.  We had a well-stocked table of information about our garden and had many visitors.  Nancy Turner, Linda Nakamoto, Virginia Huber, Jack Strong, Tetsuo Nakamoto, and Mihoko Strong were all there the entire day.  Mihoko Strong conducted two guided tours of the garden, one at 11:30 a.m. and one at 2:00 p.m.  The original estimate was that we would have 10 people on each tour, but there were 25 for the morning tour and 15 on the afternoon tour, including the Consul General of Japan, Mr. Sato, and New Orleans Honorary Consul General, Donna Fraiche.  Mrs. Strong explained the history of the garden as well as a detailed tour of the facility.

All those on the tour were impressed, as are general visitors to the Botanical Garden.  Helping to get the word out were Michelle Young and Daniel Morales, who featured the garden recently on their blog site “untapped New Orleans.”  You can view their pictures and commentaries at http://untappedneworleans.wordpress.com.

Tea Ceremony A Beautiful Success

On October 27, 2009, an authentic tea ceremony was presented by Ms. Susan Capley, head of the Educational Program for the New Orleans Botanical Garden.

The ceremony began at 6:00 p.m. with Mrs. Akama, Mrs. Arimura, Mrs. Izumi and Mrs. Yano conducting the beautiful and highly stylized tea ceremony as almost 30 guests looked on.  The tea house of the Japanese Garden was illuminated, and in the glow of a glorious red sunset presented a background that was truly magical.

Tea and sweets were served individually to everyone present.  Mrs. Arimura explained the history and protocol of the tea ceremony, while Mrs. Yano demonstrated and prepared tea.  The ceremony was enjoyed by everyone and the ladies who performed were given an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end.

After the ceremony, Dr. Jack Strong, president of the Japanese Garden Society, and Robin Tanner, our landscape designer, led a tour of the garden at sunset.  We hope in the future to be able to present additional cultural events like this one.

Here are some pictures from this unique event:

Authentic Tea Ceremony

On Tuesday, October 27, an authentic Japanese tea ceremony will be conducted by the Japanese Tea Ceremony Club of New Orleans, led by Ms. Junko Yano and the president of the club, Mrs. Katie Arimura. The ceremony will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Garden Study Center, and will be followed by a guided tour of the Yakumo Nihon Teien, led by Dr. Jack Strong, the president of the Japanese Garden Society of New Orleans and Mr. Robin Tanner, landscape arcitect of the garden.

To register call 504.483.9473 or email the Botanical Garden at scapley@nocp.org. The Garden Study Center will open appoximately 30 minutes before the propgram.

Admission to the ceremony is $10.

Garden Reopens


After repairing extensive hurricane damage, the board has re-opened the Yakumo Nihon Teien.  We would like to thank all of our friends and supporters who were able to join us on Saturday, May 19th for the celebration.

A few pictures of the event can be found here.

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We now look forward to beginning the second phase of construction which will include a structure on the viewing platform that can be used for tea ceremonies, receptions and other events.  If anyone would like more information about the re-opening ceremony or the upcoming construction, Dr. Strong can be reached via e-mail at president@JGSNewOrleans.org.