Archive for June, 2013

Tea room (part 2)

Posted: June 28, 2013 in Japan
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The tea/guest room has certainly developed since I left and it’s looking pretty good, I think. There is still some way to go with ongoing work, including adding to the interior, moving the bench of tree’s and putting a pathway to the door (no doubt the apprentices will be roped in for that one). It has the essentials for now with, a sofa, coffee table, fan and what I think is an air con unit.

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Thanks for reading.

Kiku-seki

Posted: June 22, 2013 in Japan
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I have to apologise but, I’ve been feeling lazy and haven’t posted since my arrival (I blame the jet lag). I have some idea’s for some posts which hopefully I’ll get round to soon but, for now I thought I would share this.

Yesterday we went to a nursery just before the night auction with Fu Sempai because Oyakata was at a meeting in Kyoto. The nursery belonged to Ishi-San who I believe is the president of the Japanese Shohin Association. Ishi-San had an amazing garden with some stunning tree’s and he kindly showed us his shohin and mame pot collection. The maker’s included Yusen, Tokufuji, Kozan, early Syukuho, haruyoshi and antique Chinese (which small pots are rare) just to name a few. For anyone who doesn’t know, they are as good as it gets for shohin pots and very expensive. I was like a kid in a sweet shop.

Just before leaving Ishi-San very kindly gave us a gift of a Kiku-seki which is a chrysanthemum suiseki.image

My mug for scale

My mug for scale

Should be easy enough to find space in my luggage when I take it home 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Here we go again…

Posted: June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Time has gone quickly and I’m at this moment, at the airport waiting for my 14-15 hour flight to Nagoya, Japan. I can’t say I’m a big fan of flying but, needs must and it’s certainly going to be worth it. 

 
It has felt like a stressful month or so, trying to sell my tree’s, relocating tree’s, organising everything and buying what I need for my departure. It will be nice to go back, work hard, learn some new stuff and just focus on doing some bonsai.
 
I’m looking forward to meeting Juan, who I believe will be my sempai (older apprentice/guide) and I hope we can be good friends. I’ve been told he’s very passionate about bonsai & very talented already which, sounds awesome and I’m sure we will hit it off. It will be nice also, to see my Oyakata and all the family again.
 
It is a strange feeling knowing that I will be away for potentially  5 years or at least 3 years, with only an occasional brief visit home. I imagine it would feel very alien to some people but, I have to say it is quite refreshing to me, experiencing other people’s culture. Though, I’m sure there will be moments when I miss home and the UK. I find it’s only when your away you really appreciate your country and feel most proud of it.
 
Finally I’d like to thank all who enquired/bought my tree’s for sale. I hope they do well/prosper and I look forward to seeing some of them again when I return. Any of the tree’s that are left are now relocated and not for sale.
I’d also like to thank all my friends/well wisher’s for their continued support and help. 
Also, a special thank you to all the friend’s who have offered to care for some of my tree’s, it is greatly appreciated.
Lastly a very special thank you to John Trott of Mendip Bonsai Studio. With out him this certainly would never of happened.
 
It is strange how life sends you on certain path’s and if someone had told me I would be doing this 5 years ago or even a year ago, I would have thought they were completely mad.
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Over and out, for now.

This last week I’ve been at The Royal Cornwall show helping my friend/mentor John Trott with his bonsai display in the floral marquee. This was the first show that I helped John with, five years ago and I’ve been each year since. I enjoy helping out at show’s and it really felt fitting that it was to be the last show that I will be attending, before my return to Japan and the start of my apprenticeship.

I know that there will be some people in the UK, certainly in bonsai circles who would perhaps be.. a little dismissive of county shows or even RHS shows (where bonsai display’s are judged at their own merit, along side all other forms of horticultural display’s). Though, I can see why some people might be dismissive, I believe that a lot of good, can and is done, at these events.
The real fact is that the amount of people into/keep bonsai in the country is a very, very, small proportion of the population. For bonsai to grow/develop in this country people need to be exposed to bonsai in a positive way. Rather than just the cheap mass-produced Chinese tree’s many people generally kill, on a mass scale from supermarkets and garden centres. We all start somewhere in our bonsai hobby and the more exposure the UK can get, the better, I think.
These show’s are a great place to show people a snippet of the reality of bonsai and give them a brief understanding of what bonsai are about. Potentially getting people inspired and interested in taking up the hobby or at least de-mystifying many of the misconceptions.

Well that’s enough of me on my soap box. Here are some picture’s of the display we put together.

The whole display.

The whole display.

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It is far from the traditional Japanese way of displaying tree’s but, it’s certainly no mean feat. Displaying this many tree’s from a single collection at once takes a hell of a lot of hard work, consideration and preparation.

Helping & going to show’s has helped me to learn a lot over the past five years which, I’m very great full for.

Thanks for reading.