7:10 p.m. EDT, July 6, 2013
This summer, a Japanese garden designed by a Connecticut designer will be built at Frost Valley YMCA, in New York. The garden is to enhance the experience of culture sharing programs and to celebrate the long-time relationship between Frost Valley and Tokyo YMCA.
What does come to your mind when you think of Japanese culture, tasty Sushi, intricate Origami, or beautiful Kimono? They are wonderful elements of Japanese culture. Yet if you do not know why and how they are created and how they become a part of way of life, then you may not be able to really appreciate the value of culture surrounding them. Such is the belief of Tatsuo and Emiko Honma, founders of Tokyo-Frost Valley YMCA Partnership.
So when Tatsuo and Emiko met Takaya Kurimoto in 2008, they knew that they met a kindred soul: Takaya, a landscape architect and co-owner of Penguin Environmental Design in Hamden, had been designing Japan-inspired landscape, not as a static picture, but as a lived space which connects outside and inside.
All three of them soon agreed that culture sharing programs are highly benefitted from the spatial environment which suggests the culture in discussion. They also believed that Tokyo-Frost Valley YMCA Partnership, while it had been offering a rich series of culture sharing programs in Japanese-style house, was a missing an important element of such spatial environment, a Japanese garden.
For the last five years, they worked hard to materialize this dream garden. Takaya made sketches, and Testuo and Emiko raised the necessary fund in collaboration with Frost Valley YMCA. The workshop for the Japanese garden was held for the family camp last year. Many American families learned about and created their own miniature gardens. And this year, during the series of camps, American and Japanese campers will have a chance to see the construction of the Japanese garden.
The garden is also to celebrate more than 30 years of relationship between Frost Valley YMCA and Tokyo YMCA. In 1978, Tokyo YMCA sent Tatsuo and Emiko to New York as pioneers to provide programs for health originally to Japanese businessmen and their families in the area. With their efforts and creativities, Tatsuo and Emiko have been successful in catering programs not only to Japanese but also to American families, by developing programs to include the ideas of life and culture.
Copyright © 2013, The Hartford Courant
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