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"Come by, any time, and discover that Japan is never really very far away from Fort Worth, Texas."
- Jack Bronte

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A Japanese garden in the middle of Texas?
by Jack Bronte, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
August, 1999

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This is a place that might seem to deliver one halfway around the world, but it's in my own backyard, and I count myself fortunate. It's our Japanese garden, right here in Fort Worth, Texas, which might strike some as unusual, because Fort worth is, after all, "Where the West Begins."

But that doesn't mean we can't drive into the heart of this city and be transported to the more sedate Orient.

The best time to go is in the springtime when they hold their annual spring festival. Then you will see lovely ladies, dressed in full costume, performing the ancient tea ceremony, padding around softly on their stockinged feet, doing everything just so and elegantly. In another corner is where martail artists perform, most of them children, which makes it even more enjoyable, witnessing this discipline they've achieved in something from such a distant land. Later they give way to the synchronized drummers, whose beat might be heard--or perhaps "felt" is the better word--from any corner of the park.

Take a break and go to the lofty wooden structures housing refreshments and treats from old Nippon - maybe some tea, or a sample of beef or pork; it's all equally good.

For the children there are volunteers displaying the art of oragami (the art of folding paper into shapes representing things), and they will teach the kids how to fold their own crane or some other beast or figure. Coursing through the garden is a deep green flow of water where gorged Emporer's carp may be made fatter with feed provided for youngsters at a small charge. Sit near the bank and watch them come up and take the pellets from your hand. These are just a few of the attractions at the spring festival in our garden. Come by, any time, and discover that Japan is never really very far away from Fort Worth, Texas, the place where West meets east.

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