|A stunning scene at the traditional Japanese viewing garden.|
Before stepping foot inside Shofuso, I inhaled the crisp fall air. My eyes soon found a familiar sight---one that I haven't gazed upon in nine years, and my heart soon followed. The aesthetic of traditional Japan is something I haven't seen since traveling abroad to Tokyo and rural Japan during my time studying at Temple University. And experiencing something so revered and so well-preserved here in the Fairmount Park area of Philadelphia was surreal.
|Approaching the entrance to Shofuso.|
After removing my shoes and stepping inside Shofuso for a guided tour, I felt nearly overwhelmed with nostalgia. It was like stepping through the doors of the Narita airport that first day in Japan, the excitement palpable.
I just wish I could go back. I often have dreams of being in Japan. And I'm sure this excursion to the historic Japanese House and Garden will only serve as more fodder for my subconscious.
|The common area, known as the 15-mat room.|
Built in Nagoya, Japan in 1953 for an exhibition in NYC's Museum of Modern Art, Shofuso uses traditional Japanese materials and traditional Japanese architecture techniques. The structure was moved to NYC for the exhibit, and then acquired by Philadelphia in 1958 where it has remained. Renovations and preservation by both the City of Philadelphia and Friends of the Japanese House and Garden (FJHG) have maintained this traditional Japanese house and garden, and will continue you to do so for years to come.
|A Japanese tea ceremony class in session.|
In addition to providing educational tours, classes, and field trips, Shofuso hosts traditional Japanese events for the community. Upcoming events include a moonviewing party and Japanese paper arts day.
And to think that all of this history, and the longtime effort to make ties between traditional Japan and the Philadelphia community is just 30 minutes from my home.
|Daidokoro, a traditional Japanese kitchen.|
My family first visited Shofuso the summer of 2006---while I was away for six weeks studying and absorbing as much of Japan as I possibly could. But I'm glad that they were able to join me in visiting Shofuso. It made for an interesting cultural dialogue.
And in addition to seeing the Japanese House and Garden, I had read that the pavilion nearby was having a Japanese flea market...which is why we decided to visit on this particular day.
|The traditional tea garden.|
Unfortunately the vendors were few, and the wares were more of the novelty import variety. But I was sure to pick of a few boxes of Pocky, of course.
Despite striking out at the Japanese flea market, spending the afternoon at Shofuso was a beautiful reminder that flea markets might be cheap...but nostalgia is free.
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