Below is the e-mail I got announcing the seminar. I attended in 2003 and sent one of my employees in 2006. Others participating here have also been to it.
I enjoyed it tremendously even though I had lived in Japan for several years and already had a garden design business. It's absolutely worth the money, in my opinion. I was skeptical initially because of the cost, but I ran into a couple of graduates (one head gardener of a highly-rated JG in the US, another a major gardening mag editor) who told me I really had to go, so I believed them. The curriculum is absolutely packed and you get a little crash course in JG from a whole bunch of experts in various fields. The seminar also brings you together with other designers, LAs, professors, etc. from around the world. Plus you get to spend two weeks with Wybe Kuitert (author of Themes in the History of Japanese Garden Art
and Professor Makoto Nakamura, among others.
In my opinion you can learn a lot regardless of your level. In my group (attendance is limited to 20-25 participants) three of us spoke Japanese, but we all still felt like we got a lot out of it. Lectures in Japanese are interpreted into English, mostly by Wybe Kuitert, whose mastery of Japanese and English (his native language is Dutch) is truly amazing.
By the way, the application process is competitive and only about half the applicants get in, so be sure to make your application a good one. I know several people who have tried repeatedly to get in. I'm told that young people (under 30) are given preference, as are attendees from unusual countries, but professionals are the next preferred group of applicants. The seminar seeks to help cultivate the next generation of JG builders, specialists and educators to help continue passing on the rich culture of the JG.
Here's the press release I received:
To Anyone Interested in Learning About Japanese Gardens
ANNOUNCING THE 11th ANNUAL
JAPANESE GARDEN INTENSIVE SEMINAR IN KYOTO
October 22nd -November 3rd, 2007
The Research Center for Japanese Garden Art, in Kyoto, is pleased to
announce we are accepting applications for the 11th annual
English-language intensive seminar regarding the history, design theory,
and construction of Japanese Gardens. Any persons interested in receiving
more information about the Seminar may do so by visiting our website,
or by sending an email or fax to the Center. A PDF file of the Seminar
brochure is available on the website.
Marc Peter Keane
Research Center for Japanese Garden Art
2-116 Uryu-yama, Kita-shirakawa,
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606 JAPAN