Monday, November 04, 2013

Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake

Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA
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Here are a few photos from the Japanese Peace Garden in Moses Lake, Washington, which I visited back in July. It's not a terribly large place, but has the essentials one expects at a public Japanese garden, with a torii gate, a koi pond, a small waterfall, a rock garden area, etc. The garden's right in the middle of town, but it's situated on a sort of island inside a larger wetland area so it feels quite secluded and peaceful.

The reason there's a Japanese garden in a small Eastern Washington town is somewhat convoluted. The city's airport, Grant County International, is the former Larson Air Force Base (which closed in 1965), and thus is much larger than your average small town airport. The city inherited the airport after the base closed in 1965, and they were looking for tenants for the now underused facilities. At the same time, Japan Airlines needed a center to train flight crews for the upcoming Boeing 747, and no suitable facilities could be found anywhere in Japan. The two parties found each other, and a long relationship began.

A few years later a sister city relationship was established with Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. As the sister city association explains, the owner of the local newspaper in Yonezawa was a college buddy of the president of Japan Airlines, and the newspaper had been sending contest winners to Moses Lake for several years.

The JAL center closed in 2009 after the airline decided to switch to the newer Boeing 787. Other news accounts blamed the cost of fuel for the closure.

Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA

An exchange student program is still in place, and the local community college (also on the grounds of the former air force base) offers a Japanese Agricultural Training Program, in which students from Japan are able to live and work on farms in the Moses Lake area. Which is a popular and desirable thing, apparently.

Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA Japanese Peace Garden, Moses Lake WA

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