Sunday, 9 August 2020

New Gates For Our Japanese Garden!

I am pleased to report that our Japanese Garden at Frankston High School has received an upgrade this afternoon with two new gates being installed by maintenance staff members Dale and Adam. The original gates have been showing their age for some time now and were in need of replacement due in no small part to rotting timbers, broken hinges and difficult to open latches.

Foot Street end gate with bamboo, stone lantern and bamboo screen

The issue was raised at our Executive Committee meeting last Tuesday and Frankston's Senior Campus principal and committee member Helen Wilson contacted the school's business manager Carolyn Florance, who organised for the maintenance staff to undertake the replacement of the two gates.

Overport Primary School end gate

The gates are steel framed with merbau timber panels screwed to the frame, and fitted with new padbolt latches. A wonderful upgrade with thanks to Helen, Carolyn and the workers Dale and Adam!

More gate, less garden!

Monday, 3 August 2020

A Message from Chairperson Julie D'Arcy

The following article was published in our July Bulletin and sent via our distribution list:

The year is half over already. Usually at this time of the year the Frankston Susono Friendship Association Executive Committee are very busy planning the Japanese Speech Contest which is usually held in early September, and the Japanese Festival which was scheduled for late November this year.

Unfortunately, both of these events have been postponed due to COVID-19. Any future plans for delegations between the sister cities have also been put on hold until it is safe to travel again.

Fortunately, we have many Japanese memories to look back on. Since 1982 (when Frankston formed a Sister City relationship with Susono in Japan), there have been many wonderful events organized by FSFA to promote Japanese culture. Over the years many people have come together, sharing cultures and making life-long friendships. There have been numerous exchange student programs between the two cities, both short and long term. The experience gained by living in another country is priceless.

As a former exchange student to Susono myself, way back in 1983, I have many wonderful memories. Living with my Japanese families and attending Susono High School taught me to be resilient and have an appreciation of cultural diversity.

Exchange sisters Julie and Eiko Sugiyama in 1983

I am still very close to my Japanese family and friends in Susono, and have visited them often over the years and have welcomed them into my home here in Frankston.

In these challenging times with COVID-19, we may not be able to visit Japan but we are fortunate to be able to communicate with our Japanese friends through today’s technology. Back in 1983 when I lived in Susono, we had to wait 10 days for a letter to arrive from Oz, and phone calls were very rare due to the huge expense.

Julie and Eiko catching up in Melbourne (2018)

Whilst we ride the COVID-19 storm, I urge you all to make contact with your Japanese friends and check-in on them. Don’t wait for restaurants to open again but instead, get out the Japanese cookbooks or have some fun by making some sushi at home. Get the kids involved with making origami and make some paper cranes, or if you are wanting a real challenge, jump on-line and learn some Japanese. Who knows, you maybe fluent in Japanese by the time we can travel to Japan again!

Julie with Andrew Grigor (fellow exchange student to Susono in 1983) and Eiko at Andrew's Yard 58 restaurant in Queenscliff, Victoria.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay well and be happy!

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Monday, 18 May 2020

Japanese Garden - Autumn Update

It was a typical autumn weekend - cold and crisp mornings followed by cloudless, sunny afternoons. It was a great time to get back into the Japanese Garden at Frankston High and spend a couple of afternoons de-leafing! The leaves on the cherry and maple trees have turned those lovely warm autumn colours and most have now fallen - most!

It was also the first weekend after the restrictions had been lifted so an ideal opportunity to grab a rake and my leaf blower. First task was to give the trees a good old shake to dislodge any loose leaves, then work my way to ground level removing leaves sitting on the azaleas, rhododendrons and other shrubs, and finally raking the leaves from under each of the plants and shrubs so they could either be picked or sucked up by the leaf blower.

At the end of the process it's very satisfying to stand back and take a few snaps - as the occasional leaf drops to the ground! I reminded the remaining leaves I'd be back for them another time.

Once the colder months are behind us and the ground begins to warm up I will organise a working bee and we'll plant some more mondo grass to fill the bare patches!