Shunka-en Bonsai Museum

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This original post was sent while I was 39,000 feet above the Pacific flying home. Apparently there was a glitch and most of the posts were missing images. Hopefully this one will work correctly as I’m on the ground in the good old USA.

Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum is one of the highlights of each of our tours and my private visits to Tokyo. In fact, the museum is kind of near Narita Airport and I can easily make a short visit while traveling anywhere in Asia. In addition to beautiful masterpiece bonsai, the museum features 15 alcove display areas, which offers me the opportunity to study the displays of Mr. Kobayashi.

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Each time we visit Shunka-en Bonsai Museum there are more and more bonsai, mostly larger impressive specimens for the Chinese market. In November the garden was overflowing again with bonsai and I thought Mr. Kobayashi could not possibly add any more trees. Wrong! He recently completed an upper growing area on top of the long building housing his display tables, suiseki and containers. This area is devoted to maple bonsai, while another upper growing area above his studio is full of pine bonsai.

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Mr. Kobayashi has two large Sargent juniper bonsai, which have been around for a long time. They are not one of the more common Sargent juniper cultivars with fine delicate foliage, which are normally grafted to old trunks full of dead wood and mostly seen in exhibits. These two are from the Northern Tohoku region of Japan and have coarse foliage, similar to Prostrata junipers in California. They have been trained into large size bonsai so the heavy foliage will appear in proportion. Mr. Kobayashi has been busy and redesigned and pruned one of his specimens. The top area was stripped of foliage and additional dead wood areas have been created. It looks magnificent! It was kind of bushy in November when I last saw it, but did not photograph it at that time. However, I do have a photo of it before reshaping, but can’t seem to find it on my laptop, which has over 40,000 images so they are instantly available for programs. I recently upgraded my Mac OS operating system and needed to delete thousands of photos. Of course all my images are backed up at home on both DVDs and external hard drives.

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I’m posting this last report from our tour on the way home 39,011 feet above the Pacific Ocean (or Canada,) traveling at 633 mph, its dark outside. United’s Wi-fi is GREAT, I can keep working, however I just took a six hour nap. I’m awake and ready to go again, but not anxious to return to -8F snowy weather in Rochester. Perhaps I should have stayed in Tokyo a few more days? I did think of that, but wanted to return home to spend, what is left of Valentines Day with Diane. And, I’m off again next week for my annual Southern teaching trip, then home again for five days before teaching in the Philippines. Guess where I change planes on the way home? So, I’ll be in Tokyo for another two days soon. It is also shipping season for our bare-root seedlings and pre-bonsai plus I need to continue working on the next issue of International BONSAI.

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6P4A6419I hope you have enjoyed my photos and personal comments in these reports. Remember you too can join us and experience one of our exciting tours to Japan. Better photos will be in International BONSAI, and if you are not a subscriber, we can fix that by visiting www.internationalbonsai.com

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