July 12, 2008

The biggest Japanese garden in Europe

Well, it's not always possible to go often to Japan. So let's let Japan come to us.

Better then a museum, a Japanese garden lets you meet with the rich culture from the land of the rising sun. Respect for nature, for the beauty of the environment, religions, philosophy, ... it's all weaven into the garden design.
With a surface of about 25.000 m², the Japanese Garden in Hasselt is the largest of its kind in Europe. It was constructed with the help of the Japanese city of Itami (sister city of Hasselt) in 1992, based on the pattern of 17th century Japanese tea gardens. A walk through the garden makes one feel like being in an entirely different atmosphere so close to the busy city center of Hasselt.
The 2.5 ha big garden has grown out of it's infancy. It was constructed in 1992. The tree and plants took their time to grow to give additional shape to the surroundings of rocks, waterfalls and buildings. The park contains some 250 Japanese cherry trees. Cherryblossom (sakura) gives a nice spectacle in the spring. This Japanse garden also celebrates this festival around beginning of April.

The garden is based on three sections:
-a transition area between the Kapermolen Western style park and the central authentic Japanese Garden
-the central garden with its ceremonial building, teahouse, splashing water features and attractive landscaping
-a park with 250 Japanese cherry trees.
-from 1 April to 31 October
-Tuesday to Friday inclusive: 10.00 - 17.00 hrs
- Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 14.00 –18.00 hrs except Easter Sunday
- on Easter Monday and White Monday from 14.00 to 18.00

Entrance fee
-adults: € 5.00
-groups (of 15 people or more), discount: € 4.00
-school classes (+ 12 years old): € 1.00
-up to 12 years old: free

*Last ticket sales: 30 minutes before closing time
Every Saturday at 15:00 there is a guided tour of the garden lasting about 90 minutes. This tour is only available in Dutch.
Price: €8.50 per person (reduction price € 7.50 per person). Reservation required at Japanese Garden, no later than Friday 12 noon.

Dogs are not allowed.

Guided tours
-book via Tourism Hasselt, telephone 011 23 95 42.

Japanese Garden
Gouverneur Verwilghensingel s/n (outer ring road – opposite Grenslandhallen)
B-3500 Hasselt

-telephone 011 23 52 00 (1 April - 31 October)
-telephone 011 23 95 44 (outside this period)
-E-mail: toerisme@hasselt.be
-Internet: www.hasselt.be

The programme includes a wide range of interesting events and/or evening walks.
For up to date information visit our website www.hasselt.be

Free busses to the Japanese Garden
There are two possibilities: the city bus H3 (direction Trichterheide) and line 45 (direction Maaseik). Busses depart from Hasselt's station square every 30 minutes on weekdays and every hour on Sunbdays and holidays. Get off at the stop 'Koning Boudewijnlaan' near the water tower. Cross the street and take the stairs down to the cycling path, straight ahead then a few more steps to the entrance of the garden.
Information: De Lijn Limburg, Telephone + 32 70 220 200

On Sundays and holidays you can use the municipal tram's shuttle service

Preparing for the JLPT exam

My first goal is to pass the JLPT 4 exam. Abstract from wikipedia:
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験 nihongo nōryoku shiken?), or JLPT, is a standardized test to evaluate and certify the language proficiency of non-native Japanese speakers. It is held once every year, on the first Sunday of December. The JLPT has four levels beginning at level 4 and progressing to level 1 - the most difficult. The Japan Foundation estimates that level 4 is reached after approximately 150 hours of study and level 1 after approximately 900 hours of study.
According to some friends from Japan, the basic level JPLT 4 is more then doable. Besides registering at the CLT institute, I want to begin with some self study.

There is one book that a lot of people referenced and that I bought from Amazon: Japanese for Busy People: Kana Version Bk. 1 (Japanese for Busy People Series): Kana Version Bk. 1
and the book with exercises: Japanese for Busy People 1: Workbook (Japanese for Busy People Series): Workbook Bk. 1.

More information on self study resources will follow.

I'm still trying to find out where and when the JLPT exams are being held in or around Belgium. Any information is welcome.

Examples of the JLPT examens can be found at the bottom of this site.

More detailed information on the JLPT exam from wikipedia.

And this interesting site is from the Japanese department from a Belgian University which contains among others a Japanese-Dutch Dictionary in wiki form and loads of other information.