Plans for Japanese garden take root at TCC

Marking the 40th anniversary between Tacoma and its sister city in the Far East, Tacoma Community College welcomed on Wednesday a delegation from Kitakyushu, Japan that will design an on-campus Japanese garden.

Officials gathered inside The Gallery on a rainy afternoon to celebrate the continuing connection between the two cities and learn more about the planned Japanese garden.

“I’m a great believer in the sister cities program,” said Dr. Pamela Transue, TCC president, noting a desire to make the campus welcoming to all cultures.

Deputy Mayor Bill Evans agreed on the importance of the sister cities project. “For 40 years, we have been partners and neighbors, even though we live far apart,” he said. “You are bringing the gift of beauty to our city.”

Noting the day’s wet weather, Evans mentioned that when he visited Kitakyushu five years ago, it rained.

“We are very honored to meet you,” said Hiroyuki Tagami, director, International Relations Section, describing Tacoma as a beautiful and wonderful city.

“While we had the desire,” Transue said of the Japanese garden project, which grew out out of a physical audit of the campus conducted by the college’s President’s Council on Cultural Diversity, “we lacked the expertise.”

Sadaaki Mizuno, chairman of the Kitakyushu Greenery Association, said, “We would be happy to assist you in your project.”

The rain let up just long enough for a trip outdoors to look at the area just outside The Gallery that will be transformed into a Japanese garden.
While outside, TCC officials and members of the Kitakyushu delegation also exchanged gifts.

There are two plans being considered, according to Scott Earl, TCC English instructor: a smaller indoor garden and a larger outdoor garden that is meant to be viewed from a distance.

Officials are leaning toward the second plan, he said.

It could be up to nine months before a design is finalized and construction starts, he added, describing the Japanese design team as thorough.

Kitakyushu is a city of 1 million people located midway between Tokyo and Shanghai. It is one of Japan’s largest centers of international trade and industry.