This past August I traveled to Portland, Oregon to visit my clients there. Usually I make time during my Northwest trips to schedule in some recreation, but this trip was a quick one due to the broker dealer change in my business that month. After 23-1/2 years with one brokerage firm backing my practice, I jettisoned them to move my business to a stronger firm.
Anyway my trip was short, but I needed a break from the work, so on my last day in Portland, I decided to go visit the Japanese Gardens. It had been close to 30 years when I was there last, so it was almost new to me again.
Shortly after World War II, several of the Portland area residents of Japanese ancestry decided to construct a traditional Japanese garden to help show the public the true character of the Japanese people — kind, peaceful and nurturing.
Now think about this for just a moment, and really think what that says about the character of these people who called America their home. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the US government rounded up people of Japanese origin all over the western United States, and put them into internment camps (prison camps) scattered in remote areas of the west.
See my post, Interned, about these camps for some interesting and eye opening history. These people were literally ripped from their homes and businesses and imprisoned simply due to the ancestral origins. Most of the Japanese who were interned in these camps were US citizens born here. And these same folks spent untold hours laboring to construct and maintain these gardens to show their solidarity with the rest of the US citizens of Portland. Astonishing!
Well, one thing that changed in 30 years was the traffic and parking in this part of Portland. I had to find parking about 3/4 mile away and walk back to the grounds. The Japanese Gardens are located across the street from the Portland Rose Gardens, another must see if you visit the city. In fact, Portland is known as the “Rose City”.
The gardens were exactly what I needed. The tranquility there is amazing. I could literally feel the tension draining as I walked the gardens. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not being overly cooperative with her lighting that afternoon as it became quite sunny after a rather cool and cloudy morning. So, I do not have a lot of pictures, as many of my shots have critical portions of scenes where the highlights are just too washed out for my standards. Nevertheless, here are some of the things that I saw in the gardens that afternoon.
If you go, and you plan of taking photographs, perhaps try to attend on an overcast day as the lighting is much better. I hope you can enjoy my abbreviated photo tour of the Portland Japanese Gardens, and I hope you make it there yourself. The beauty and serenity of this place is truly good for one’s soul. And, it speaks volumes about the true character of the Japanese-American people.
As always, thank you so much for stopping by my bog.