Sunday, 22 April 2012

Spring 2012 : Tei-en Matsuri at the Japanese garden in Hasselt , Belgium

Hasselt in Belgium has a long standing relationship as a sister-city with Itami in Hyogo Prefecture , Japan. Twenty years ago this led to the building of a Japanese garden of 25000 m², at this time still the largest in Europe.
Last weekend I went to visit the Tei-en Matsuri at the garden together with a delegation of the KDJ Netherlands. The weather was cold and cloudy, but a true kimono enthusiast won't let that stop her (him).

The garden has been designed together with Japanese garden-architects and it shows.
At the centre a large waterfall cascades down, feeding two streams, that cascade down to the different ponds to each side of the garden.

A path winds along the entire garden, crossing the stream at various points.

The bridge for 'viewing lily's' , leading up to the main waterfall.

Many Japanese and other exotic trees have been planted here .

There is a lovely Shinto shrine at the entrance, which is a scaled model of the shrine at the Shukkei-en gardens in Itami. It's been consecrated, so it can be used for Japanese religious rituals.

A delegation from Itami opened the celebration by inaugurating the new tori at the entrance.

The six metre high tori is constructed in Japanese style without any nails.
There is a smaller unlacquered one in the middle of the garden.

During the opening speeches, I discovered this Japanese woman in an interesting  kimono.

We didn't waste any time getting her to pose with our KDJ NL delegation. The second from the left is Caroline from Belgium , who was visiting the event with her parents.

Her musubi.

After the opening ceremony the delegation from Itami city ( the man in the middle is the Japanese ambassador for Belgium ,the Honorable Yokota Jun ) walked back to the garden itself.

By this time Linda and Mei-ing who'd parked the car at the other end of the garden had joined us, so I posed them by a car from the organizing committee.

Back to the garden.

 Caroline and Mei-ing.

Great looking musubi and obi , Caroline !

 Lovely chrysanthemums on her haori too.

Mei-ing had a wonderful little jewel on her obi.

Mei-ing posing with the woman in the green-flower kimono. Quite tall for a Japanese lady.

and with her whole entourage in less traditional clothing.
( On the left the man from Okinawa "12°C ?!! : I'm freezing  ..." ^^)

 The delegation from Itami had a shakuhachi (flute) player with them ( " I'm really nervous " )

but she played wonderfully !

Linda and Caroline taking pictures.

 Very nice hair ornament, Carolien.

After the singing and flute play , the whole party joined in a traditional dance (Bon odori dance ?)
which is a lot of people shuffling around in a circle and doing the same gestures. It's total fun.


Even the shakuhachi player joins in.

 After the dance she agreed to pose with the group. Lucky !

After the posing we talked with her and her husband. They were so kind to give Mei-ing and Carolien two unique ten year old fans. (They can start their own fan-club now.)
Alice from the Netherlands in a very nice furisode. Really long sleeves :)

Kawaii !   She has a Hello Kitty on her obi.

The koi pond in front of the main house looked like a great place to pose.

The huge koi in the pond are waiting for their daily bread.

One crumb of bread and it's WAR !

The sun wasn't shining, but everyone's lovely smile sure made the day look bright :)

We didn't forget the tabi shot  , but we DID forget the showing of the sleeves.

On the other side of the main house.

Ah , finally : sakura trees in bloom to pose by ! 

Stephanie in front of one of the many  water features.

We met this young lady at the ' Have your name written in Japanese'  stall.

Of course we invited her to pose with the entire group.

Musubi shot :)

Further in the garden we ran into a maiko and samurai group from the Netherlands, that was also visiting the gardens.

 Linda and Mei-ing checking the pictures of the visit.

Everyone walks back to the car park for the long journey back home : a great day, but over too soon.

Thanks everyone for coming to Belgium !
You can find some hires pictures at this adress.


Unknown said...

Gorgeous pictures Walter and the redo of your blog is also great, very clever!

Carolien said...

Thanks for again making beautiful pictured of us ^^ You really know how to capture the moment. We always look great in your foto's :D Our very own paparazzi XD

Walter said...

Thank you, Misuchi , ^the new layout allows me more width for the pictures, which has bothered me since like forever! Should have done it long ago.

Thank you for the compliment , Carolien. Ah, please don't call me a paparazzi, they're the bad guys ,haha !

Carolien said...

Yes, maybe paparazzi is not the right term, but we like you ^_^ AND you bring awesome sushi ♥

Kyuukaryuko said...

Haha, Walter is famous for his sushi ^_~
Beautiful pictures Walter, as usual!

Saiya-chan said...

Lovely Photo Walter (*^_^*)/ I so love the photo on the stairs and of the girls dancing!

godzilla_rabbit said...

They really look beautiful in Kimono.

Walter said...

Thank you so much everybody for visiting my blog and leaving so many nice compliments!