ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Fall Ikebana

In ikebana, it's traditional to do arrangements a little ahead of the actual season around you. Summer is still in full force here with daytime highs in the 90s (30s for you Celsius people). One word -- hot.

This morning, when I got to school, the teacher's room was already in the upper 80s -- hot!! By the time I left, it was in the lower 90s -- HOT!!! Most Japanese schools, especially schools in rural areas, don't have air conditioners. Japanese people are famous for "gaman", endurance, patience, grin and bear it. Everyone talks about how hot it is, but life continues as usual -- with the sweat dripping.

To help with the "gaman", people think about the coming cooler temperatures of fall and the beautiful fall colors. Fall foods have begun to be put out in the grocery stores, there are commercials on TV with beautiful fall foliage, travel magazines with special destinations for fall are out -- all to help one look forward to the coming season.

To help you look forward to the coming season, here is my first fall arrangement of the year.

Pampas Grass, Cockscomb, Patrinia Scabiosifolia
The pampas grass is still a little green, but it has a beautiful sheen to it. I gently bent the stem and created a soft curve that created an open space on the right side of the arrangement. It was the perfect place for the tall stem of cockscomb and a tall stem of the Patrinia Scabiosifolia, the yellow flower.

The arrangement in the glow of the moonlight.
(At least that's what I was trying to achieve with the lighting.
It also helped to bring out the bumps in the screen I use to take the pictures!)
 I placed this arrangement near my door, and it is one of the first things I see when I enter my apartment. It helps to cool me down after a hot and sweaty day at school. It also makes me excited for the coming fall season and all the arrangements I will get to do.

As always, feel free to leave a comment! Which picture do you like best? What's your favorite season? What do you look forward to about fall?


Summer Fun with Hot Colors

I had been looking at beautiful pictures on the Internet of these masses of flowers full of color and different textures. In ikebana, we really don't do anything like that; but I thought I might try my hand at it. I thought it would be a good study of color and texture for me, one confined to a small space and short in length.

I had fun playing around with the placement of the flowers creating masses of color and texture in the round container I usually use for moribana arrangements. Moribana means "piled up flowers" in Japanese, and I had created another form of piled up flowers in the container; so maybe there is a little ikebana in there after all!

The summery colors seem to pop a bit more against the brown of my coffee table.

Here they seem a bit more combined against the gray background of my photo screen.

I hope everyone is having a great summer!


Hiroki Ohara and Me

Last month I attended a workshop on Hanakanade, led by the current Headmaster, Hiroki Ohara. It was an enjoyable workshop, and I have practiced the new style a couple of times since then. I think I am beginning to understand it better, but it will take take time to fully understand it.

While at the workshop, a fellow student took a picture of the Headmaster and me. I was so engrossed in talking with Hiroki, that I didn't even realize that my picture had been taken. I thought I would share the picture with you. (Forgive the poor quality -- it's a scan of the picture.)

Hiroki Ohara and me

You can see how young the new Headmaster is. He is full of energy and new ideas. You can tell he has gained confidence in the last couple of years -- I can only imagine how hard his job must be, especially at such a young age. I know he will be a great leader for the Ohara School of Ikebana.

In the picture, you can also see my increasingly receding hairline and growing bald spot on the top of my head! Yikes! The pleasures of getting older. . . but notice I do have a smile on my face!