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2 week trip to Japan at Shunka-en

2 week trip to Japan at Shunka-en
zondag 11 maart 2012

I had the oppertunity to stay and work 2 weeks at Kunio kobayashi’s place.

At the airport an older Japanese women was sitting next to me, she asked me why i was alone waiting for the flight to Japan.

So i said my story with a big smile on my face , that i was heading of to Shunka-en.

after a few hours waiting i sat in the aircraft.

And a japanese couple next to me started talking with me, their english wasn’t that good so it got a conversation by writing.

After an 12 hours flight with great conversations and thinking wow these people are friendly and hospital. i finally arrived at Narita Airport.

So first i could look at the trees, antique pots and displaytables, museum and apprentice house.

And than the work could start.

When i arrived above Japan

Beautiful mountains with a ricefield in the middle of nowhere.

A nice old Pine with great bark.

A beautiful Chojubai on rock.

This is how a traditional Bonsai studio looks like.

Every summer the ground gets mixed with water and salt to make a harder surface.

The black pine i could work on.

First we had to balance the energy of the tree by plucking needles.

This is for black that are healthy.

Strong(the top) shoots got 3 needles left.

Average(middle) shoots 5 needles

And the tree after plucking , wiring and shaping.

Here is a picture from above.

First they grafted a other pine on the branch.

It has been a month or so since i posted.

Cause i really had the most enjoyable month in my life till now.

Thanks to Peter Warren a dream came true.

I really enjoyed it over there and miss it.

Allso the kindness of the Japanese people it wonderfull.

It started the day i was leaving by flight to Tokyo.

She gave me her adress and said that if i ever had any problems in Japan from what kind ever i always was welcome at her house.

They just gave me 1000 yen for my taxi to Shunka-en, i said i couldn’t accept it and they kept insisting that I had to keep.

I got the KEISEI bus to ICHINOE station to take a taxi to Shunka-en.

Finally arrived and got a warm welcome by Kobayashi-san’s wife, Valentine Brose ,Fukita-san(the oldest apprentice of Kobayashi-san) ,Jin(apprentice for 3 months) and Tanabe (apprentice for 3 weeks).

Peter Warren, Akiyama-san and Kobayashi-san were setting things up for the Kokufu market at green club.

I started by needle plucking, wiring and shaping a black pine.


When i left Amsterdam Shiphol airport 😀

And Mount fuji in distance.

The costumer part of Kobayashi’s garden.

A satsuki covered in bandage , this is to prevent the sun can’t damage/burn the trunk.

A great looking trident.

Beautiful ume with great deadwood.

Kobayashi’s garden with new pond (Peter helped with the digging last year 😀 )

One of many satsuki’s

A beautiful ume

Important for a Black or red pine is old bark.

It was among one of mine favourites.

One of Oyakata’s most famous bonsai.

But if anything would fall it’s still soft that it will not break.

Fukita-san (Kobayashi’s first apprentice at work)

And small(lower) shoots 7 needles.

Probably one of the only picture you will see me working on

We used a guywire to get the second left branch closer to the trunk.

The top was styled flatter and with less green, much air and light woukld get in and in futute more buds will come to cover the top up.

Oyakata told me the first left branch was grafted on 4 years ago from a bigger branch from the right side.

they cut the branch off and drilled a whole in the trunk and put the branch in, cambium healed and in time the grafted pine could be removed.

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