Amid all the bad news it was quite pleasant to read the Jan. 11 article Japanese Garden on Watson Island holds festival, tea ceremony. I would have attended had I known. I was unaware that the garden, which long had been neglected, was reopened by the city of Miami in 2004. It was chained and abandoned in 1996 when I served as Miami city manager.
The garden is significant for me because as an assistant in the Miami city manager’s office, from 1959 to 1967, I was assigned to coordinate its construction. It was generously donated by Kiyoshi Ichimura, founder of the Ricoh Company, as a symbol of friendship between Japan and Miami. Ichimura also commissioned a renowned Japanese landscape architect to supervise the construction. I can attest to the meticulous and loving care that he demonstrated.
The smiling, rotund Buddha statue that now greets visitors at the entrance to the Parrot Jungle’s parking garage was part of the original Tea Garden and should be returned to its proper place in the garden.
Despite all the hustle and bustle of the Miami metropolis, I agree with Japan’s Consul General Ken Okaniwa that it is a pleasant, quiet place on the bay to visit and be “in harmony with nature.” Over the years, I did that many times, often with brown bag lunches.
Never miss a local story.
Merrett R. Stierheim,