Exotic and Familiar
Experiencing the qualities of a Japanese garden is fundamentally about looking and sensing. Yet, they may also be simply enjoyed without a need to make particular meaning. To this end, the interpretation takes key aspects from a Japanese context and connects them poetically to the Kansas landscape. For instance, patterns of dry rock gardens are referenced in the patterns of wheat crops in agricultural Kansas. A Japanese seaside gate in Oarai Ibaraki stands juxtaposed to an iconic Kansas windmill. Powerful quotes from Japanese poets are set against statements by great Kansans such as Laura Ingalls Wilder.
This approach works to build an appreciation for the exotic while championing the familiar. It is a subtle effort to celebrate aspects of visitors’ own lives that may be under-appreciated.