In order to fulfill our Mission to the citizens of Phoenix and our out-of-the-area visitors, to promote understanding and foster friendship, we believe that Education is our greatest endeavor. We know that simply strolling through the Japanese Friendship Garden is an education about a public space which is in great contrast to our understanding of western garden spaces. This initial encounter often creates a desire in people to learn and experience more, and we here at the Japanese Friendship Garden strive to meet the needs of the citizens of Phoenix and also the Japanese community, through our many cultural education opportunities.
Workshops an excellent and interactive way to learn more about Japanese arts, culture, and the garden itself. These interesting and important Lectures are always memorable and well received. Some past topics include: Composing Haiku Poems, Ikebana Flower Arrangements, Japanese Marshall Arts, Japanese Music and Japanese Gardening Technique.
Garden Training, Education, and Equipment
The Japanese Friendship Garden is always looking for grant opportunities to provide needed funds for advancing the learning, education and training of its Volunteer Gardeners as a way to maintain the many elements and features of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Japanese Garden Pruning Techniques are unique and the Garden uses these funds to bring in Japanese Gardeners, Builders, Masters and others to conduct workshops, lectures and hands-on training in the use of pruning tools, Japanese Garden Design, bamboo fence building, aesthetic tree pruning, etc. to provide an educational basis for its Volunteer Gardeners. Funds are also used to purchase and maintain Japanese garden pruning tools, Japanese tripod ladders, etc. which tend to be specialized and more expensive than western tools, but are required to maintain the beauty and tradition of Japanese Friendship Garden.
Our events here at the Japanese Friendship Garden continue to express the traditions of Japanese culture in celebration of food, family, music, art and our common bond with the natural world which surrounds us. The Japanese people have an endearing kinship with their garden spaces, and the expression of the change of seasons in nature provides the backdrop for a great many of our Events. Beginning with Otsukimi (Moonviewing), in the Garden’s opening month of October, we gather to celebrate the big harvest moon of fall and the cooler days ahead. Following the winter, we love to play outside with the younger generation during Children’s Day and participate in the City’s annual Matsuri, and before we all scatter for summer vacations, we come together at Strolling in Yukata to enjoy a meal together, celebrating the spring season.
The Japanese Friendship Garden supports the education community of the Phoenix Metro area in their curriculum of understanding the diversity of human cultures. Our Docent led tours of the garden for school field trips are always well received by the students, and we further support the teachers with additional ideas to enrich the cultural experience back in the classroom. The Garden has hosted Oratorical Festivals for ASU in support of their Japanese Language Department. Volunteer Gardeners from the Japanese Friendship Garden generously donated their time and expertise to help the students of Lookout Mountain Elementary construct and maintain a small Japanese garden space at their school.
Supporting Japanese Communities and Cultural Activities
The Japanese Friendship Garden, being ever grateful for the bountiful gifts of our Sister City of Himeji, Japan, has always been supportive of our friends in Japan. A fundraiser was held in 2011 to support the victims of the devastating tsunami which hit Japan in March of that year. We have also supported an exhibit of posters from the Hiroshima Peace Museum entitled “Hiroshima Calling”.