If you were to choose two Japanese words that are misused in the English language, bonsai and tsunami would have to rate highly. 'Bonsai' in English has come to mean small; 'tsunami' a wave, particularly large, sometimes including people. (Let us just leave 'sushi' (or what passes for it in Australia) out of the discussion.) Both have elements of 'correct' but they're mostly wrong. A tsunami is a wave that comes about following an earthquake and yes, there have been large deadly ones of course, but they can also be as small as 10cm or so. Bonsai, on the other hand, we think of as small plants in small pots, but I saw some today were
And that as today's excursion. My mum has become a bit interested in the craft of bonsai in the last few years and given she is planning a visit next year, I went in search of the famous bonsai village about an hour or so into the next prefecture, in Omiya, Saitama. I've been meaning to go for a while.
There is a museum come gallery, and about eight or nine bonsai specialists with some of the most glorious examples of the genre I have seen. Except you can't take photos, except at the special display in the museum...
|A rose, or gardenia, but a rose, I think (not a bonsai though)|
|I can't help but take photographs of tree trunks and their roots (not a bonsai)|
|In the reserve where the village started back in 1925|
|Vine overgrowth (not a bonsai version)|
|Beware! the cherry blossom tree|
|Winter fruits (not bonsai)|
Still, you could easily spend a day wandering around the streets of the village which was established in the mid 1920s as bonsai specialists in Tokyo sought an area that was clean and clear of the recent Tokyo earthquake and the destruction wrought on the city (1923). It has become quite a tourist attraction it seems, popular with Japanese and foreigners alike.
There was an excellent coffee shop too, just near the station, a renovated two-storey house with jazz and books and arts and crafts (but no bonsai)...could just be the perfect place to settle in for a day of writing and thinking (aided and abetted by excellent coffee and cake). The owner was a bit freaked out though to find he was speaking with a foreigner who knew we were right in the middle of the electorate of the leader of the main opposition party...politics is ne'er far away.
What an lovely day. There could be another hobby on the horizon...
[Camera : Lumix TZ-85, 1.24pm, 3.04pm-4.01pm; 16 December 2017]