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Connected Communities

Olympics to be broadcast from Portland Japanese Garden

The summer Olympics this year are being held in Japan, so it’s only natural that there is heightened interest in the connection that Portland, and more broadly, Oregon has with Japan. The connection is long and storied – everything from shared loved of craft, nature, and architecture, Japanese companies that expand Portland, and of course, our Garden, the “most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan” right in the community’s backyard. 

While the daytime and evening coverage is dedicated to athletics, KGW (local NBC affiliate) will be broadcasting their Sunrise show (5-7AM) live from the Garden on Thursday, 7/22 and the weeks of 7/26 and 8/2. They will also be producing some special segments that highlight Portland Japanese Garden and our expression of Japanese culture, tradition, and aesthetics, and how we have become a hallmark of the local community.

This wonderful opportunity prompted us to reflect on our role and impact on our community, so earlier this year, we turned to our members and asked them to share their thoughts on a question: 

How does Portland Japanese Garden allow you to feel connected with nature, with culture, or find an experience of peace?

“Over the past year, I have faced a sort of racial identity awakening. I am a sansei, third-generation Japanese-American and I am mixed-race […]  I grew up in an Americanized household that celebrated a few Japanese traditions, but I always held a creeping feeling of being an impostor in my mind. Now in 2021, I have connected with my family in Japan over Zoom, am learning Japanese, and am doing my best to learn more about Japan’s history and culture. I am committed to understanding how I fit into my own culture as a mixed-race person in America. The Portland Japanese Garden has provided a space for me to connect and learn about my culture through the art and documentary exhibits, to be inspired by the care and beauty of Japanese landscaping, and to take a step back from world news and my thoughts to find peace among the trees.” – Colleen Nakanishi

“[The Garden] allows me to feel connected with nature, culture, and peace through its ambience beginning with the walk up to the quiet and open courtyard, which signals the same in me. Furthermore, the purposeful placement of the many structures and their careful architecture, as well as the cultivation of the various plants, further signals to me that I deserve to be here. That this space is meeting me where I am, that I can take care of myself and my life with the same purposefulness, with the balance of letting things go that do not serve me, just like the passing of the flowers with the seasons. Lastly, it resonates with me that all of this was and continues to be possible through respect, stewardship, and alliances, despite the past and because of the past.” – Alicia Moez Wayland

“Your beautiful garden offers peace and quiet and a total experience of tranquility. I try to visit often and also introduce friends to the magic of your grounds. Thank you for having this one-of-a-kind sanctuary in the heart of our city!” – Lynda Walker

“I have been coming to the garden for decades […] To me, it is the most beautiful Japanese Garden I have ever visited, even more so than a few gardens I saw in Japan ages ago. I think the fact that it is so large and spread out caressing the hills there makes it even more special. I have experienced every season in the garden, and each one has it’s own subtle delicate beauty. I absolutely love the koi – my favorite fish – as well. I fondly recall attending the Obon festival on a warm summer evening with my sons when they were young.” –  Matthias Leue