Well the day finally arrived for Japan to show why they truly are the masters of our beloved art. From the opening ceremony where we were honored by the presence of the Prince and Princess of Japan to Prime Minister Abe's recorded address, we were awed by the massive task which the organizers undertook and more than delivered on.
An absolute highlight for me was the 70 odd children from various elementary schools from Saitama Prefecture who paraded on stage, hoisting posters of why they love bonsai, what inspires them about it and what they would like us as foreigners to experience when appreciating bonsai.
Image caption. A small part of the bonsai created by elementary school children.
I apologize for the lack of photos of this part of the event, but we were not permitted to take any photo's and I respected that.
However hopefully what you are about to see, the special exhibition arranged as part of the convention, will more than make up for it.
I am still travelling of course and so I am processing pictures as I get an opportunity although I will need to retouch them again at a later stage as the lighting may not be the best so apologies for that.
Image caption. This is 'Hiryu.' I unfortunately am not certain of the history of this tree at this time but it is a special exhibit for the convention. It is of course a Shimpaku Juniper.
Image caption. This is a Shishigashira Japanese Maple part of a private collection of trees maintained by the staff of Mansei-en, which were Kokufu prize winners and have not been seen on exhibition for many years.
Image caption. You smell this Wisteria vine before you see it, which is saying a lot as you can see! In the peak of blooming, this vine was/is a showstopper.
Image caption. No word other than amazing describes this Goyomatsu or Japanese White pine, another tree in this private collection of Masterpieces.
Image caption. The impression of this undeniably massive trunk on this Kuromatsu or Japanese black pine certainly stops one in their tracks! Phenomenal movement and very careful arrangement of the branches. Amazing!
Image caption. A spruce with fantastic movement, amazing refinement in the canopy and deadwood which appears entirely natural.
Image caption. Here's a species which you all know, the Trident or Chinese maple. Such attractive nebari, look at the feeling of maturity it provides through the way they firmly clasp and are now moulded to the rock. The foliage is in pristine condition, I assume still the spring flush of leaves.
Image caption. This is yet another one of the wonderful trees on display. Notice the antique Cantonese pot with decorative floral motif which has been perfectly combined with the flowers this tree is bearing. The textured bark exudes a wonderful sense of maturity. The lighting positioned on this tree does a great job of emphasizing the freshness of spring. Apologies but I need to make certain of the species, will check and include the name here.
Image caption. Such dedication is required to produce a masterpiece Goyomatsu such as this. Many years of constant maintenance, commitment and mastery of technique possessed by possibly generations of bonsai professionals who have painstakingly seen to it's every need for us to enjoy today.
Image caption. Wonderful movement in this Shimpaku juniper bonsai, with the live vein and deadwood dancing, coiling around each other like the necks of cranes in a dance. As one would expect of trees at this level of exhibition the foliage is incredibly healthy with no juvenile foliage in sight.
Image caption. For me this tree, a Japanese maple, absolutely captures that light and airy feel one gets when you walk in the maple forests of Japan. Such fresh, vibrant leaves with saturated colours.
Image caption. I cannot recall when I have seen a Chinese quince on display with leaves. I've just probably not been in Japan at the right time but it was great to see what this attractive species looks like in its spring foliage.
Image caption. Wondering what the preceding tree's flowers look like? Here is one. Enjoy.
If you are moved by what you see, please do check again until you read me writing "Dit is nou alles mense." Or better yet if you are not a subscriber already be sure to sign up (for free) and you will be notified of updates.
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