This morning was spent visiting the Shunka-en Bonsai Museum of Kunio Kobayashi in the Edogawa Ward of Tokyo. Fortunately, Peter Warren from England was at the museum and had time to show our group around explaining interesting details about the museum, containers and display, in proper English too.
This weekend Mr. Kobayashi is holding an exhibition of his client’s bonsai so all of the apprentices were busy cleaning trees and polishing the tables and containers. Trees were actually being placed as we enjoyed their beauty. It was interesting to me to watch three apprentices carefully place a Japanese maple bonsai on a display table as one took charge to perfect the positioning.
As in October, I noticed even more pieces of charcoal on the soil surface of many bonsai. Many of the pieces were quite large as well. Since many of the bonsai were transplanted in spring, it is easier to simply place the charcoal on the soil surface rather than repot the tree to add charcoal.
Threre are even more trees here than when I visited the garden last month. Most of the additions were large size Japanese black pines, primarily being trained for the Chinese market. I noticed both copper and sissy wire on the same tree for shaping the form on Japanese black pine bonsai as well as iron bars.
Japanese black pine bonsai with a price tag of US$30,000. It has great bark too!
Mr. Kobayashi returned home from Taiwan yesterday and was preparing for a TV interview in the afternoon, yet he found time to greet us, sign books and host our group for lunch.
After our visit with Mr. Kobayashi, Peter Warren and Mr. Suzuki drove our group to Tokyo Station where we took the bullet train to Kyoto. As we were waiting on the train platform we noticed Mr. Kimura who was in line to board the next car. He was traveling with Mr. Utusume, president of the Japan Bonsai Cooperative for professional bonsai artists. They were traveling to Kyoto so they could help judge the bonsai for the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition tomorrow. Mr. Kobayashi will be taking an early bullet train early tomorrow morning to also participate in the judging since he is the President of the Nippon Suiseki Association. Peter must drive the truck to Kyoto tonight with one of the Kokufu Prize winning bonsai as well as several client’s suiseki for display.
Well know Chojubai dwarf Japanese flowering apricot growing over a stone.
Mr. Kobayashi had several new containers on display from a new bonsai potter. One was especially unusual and colorful as well, fortunately I was able to add it to my collection. Now I must find a special tree for it so it can be displayed on Halloween.
Upon arrival in Kyoto we went for a sushi dinner then stopped for Beard Papa cream puffs. They taste delicious with Japanese ice tea, well, they actually taste great by themselves too.