My Japan trip – part 4

This last week has been still very intense and interesting but overall it has been hot. I am glad to be at home again and planning my next trip to Japan for next year.  The last part is well overdue, so here’s what happend; I have sent 20 Kg of pottery, kakejiju and books back home, this was a significant cost, but definitely worth it. Yes worth it, because I may never be able to bring home a tree so might as well  bring home some other bonsai items I can use, don’t you think? The pots are Chinese and Japanese, small shohin size and chunin size as well as some pots big enoght for my plants, some Hatori, some Yamaki, a Koyo, a Tousui, a Tanba, a Yamafusa, a Hean from my Kyoto  Naoka visit and knew personally, a Chugokugikoo and Chugoku (a Chinese artist). I don’t have a Bigei but I really don’t care, the Yamakis are far more precious to me.
At the 21st of every month a huge market takes place in Kyoto at the Toji temple and of course I had to check it out. And guess what? I found some really nice kakejiku, I was searching for some Tempai too but unfortunately it was not the right place to buy this little bronze figure, but at least I found an artist that makes insects out of wood, what a wonderful piece of art! Finally I bought some books. All in Japanese and all for childrean, so it will not be difficult to understand. Speaking of learning, I had the chance to have some Japanese lessons with the charming and lovely Hiromi and to my suprise she came to visit the nursery and David, who still takes lessons, showed her around.
Everybody told me I should visit Nara on my day off,  so I went and saw the big Buddha, but most impressive was the temple in which the Buddha lives, the great Buddha hall is breath-taking! Here are a couple of numbers for you:  57 m wide and 48 m high. From the outside you can’t see it because of the walls that surround the garden, but let me tell you that the moment I saw it I was….speechless!! The width of the current building is approximately 33% smaller than that of the oringinal structure, but it still ranks as the largest wooden structure in the world.
Another thing I couldn’t miss, is the Isuien Garden, which represents the pinnacle of garden engineering of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). It’s a vision, really, I only wished I was here for the Sakura season, the cherry blossom period. But even without the cherry blooms the garden is surely a place to visit as a bonsai fan, for me it was a source of inspiration, a place to relax and meditate, a place of peace.
If you are in Osaka, you MUST see Nara.
Overall this Japan trip was much more than being a bonsai student: Japan is different, yet impressive and classy in some kind of way. I love the food, I like the way everybody in the train either sleeps or stares at their mobile devices, I love the bizarre way in which tradition and modernity combine, it’s not immediately obvious and it takes a couple of weeks in Japan to understand what I am trying to express in words, and I love the way they make bonsai. Fujikawa san comes from a Bonsai family, he studied under the wings of Mr. Saburo Kato and his style may seem old fashioned but is very classic, what’s wrong with being classy?! He has humor, is a fine person and I am honored to have been his student even if only for a month. The rest of the team has been great with me during my stay. I wish you all good luck in your Bonsai journey and hope to see you guys soon.

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