Monday, October 17, 2016

Come in from the rain!

Yesterday evening, when I heard the rain, an idea came to me.  I went outside and from just out the windows picked some Japanese anemone flowers, that were at their best.

The weather report said we would have heavy rainfall all night. I easily imagined that the rain would flatten the tall flowers.

So I saved some, arranged them and left them just by the front door last night.

It was so good to be greeted by them standing up straight in the basket when I opened the door this morning.

What a gorgeous start to the day!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Landmark of the park

This Fountain Tower was built in time for the 10th Kansai Area Prefectural Union Joint Exhibition of 1910 at Tsuruma Park in Nagoya.

 It has a combination of Western and Eastern styles.  That is very remarkable when we see the Roman-style marble pillars for the tower and the Japanese-style rock structure in the ponds.

The tower is 10.2m high and the diameter of the top flat circular board is 2.5m.  The paving stones  were recycled from demolished street car railway track beds from downtown Nagoya.   The floor of the upper platform is covered with marble stones. What’s more, a type of famous Japanese ceramics called Bizen ware is used for decorative handrails or banisters.  Most of the stones in the ponds were from Kiso River, a prominent river for people in this region for centuries.

When we look at those eight narrow water spouts sticking out from the top flat circular board,
you will see the water from each spout hits the board below and trickles down into the ponds. That eventually generates splashes and mists of water.  It was, indeed, well designed and delighted the visitors. So it became a symbol of Tsuruma Park.

The designer was Mr. Teiji Suzuki, an engineer and professor, known as the "father of modern architecture in Nagoya."  He designed more than 40 buildings including private residences in and around the city of Nagoya.  Those buildings were pretty much modern with a beautiful balance of western and eastern tastes and drew people's attention.  Unfortunately, only 23 remain today  and the rest of the buildings were demolished or destroyed  mostly by bombing during the second world war.   It was just fortunate that the fountain tower was safe.

Interestingly, in 1973 the fountain tower at Tsuruma Park  was once removed from this spot due to a new subway construction. The new subway line was planned to run just under the fountain.
With 60 years passing by since its construction, the city was afraid that building the subway might cause damage to the old fountain tower.  4 years later it was restored again exactly as it was before.

The fountain tower was designated as a municipal cultural property in 1986 and will continue to be a symbol of the park.

(images are from the web)

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Monday, October 03, 2016

How did it start?

Tsuruma Park was constructed in 1909 as the first public park in Nagoya.

It was in 1868 when the three-hundred-year-long samurai governance came to an end.
That was a drastic change for the whole society.
After opening the door to foreign countries, the new government was very much concerned about modernizing the country.  Industrialization was its primary purpose.

It is very interesting to note that Tsuruma Park was originally constructed as an industrial exhibition venue and not as a recreation ground for citizens. It was a good chance for Nagoya to take more steps forward to develop its local industries such as ceramics, lumber, and automotive looms and so on.

The exhibition was a well-known and distinctive project throughout the country and had been held every three years since 1884.   It was the city’s great honor to host this exhibition in Nagoya. The 31 prefectures participated and about 30 pavilions and buildings were constructed in the park, six times as big as the present Tokyo Dome Baseball Stadium.

During the three-month period, more than 2 million people visited the exhibition.
This number was very striking when the population of Nagoya was marked at 400,000 at that time.