After a massively long drive/weave across the expressway, we finally pulled into the hotel where we managed six hours of sleep before setting off again up to Obuse, home of Shinji Suzuki. The morning got off to another good start, this was the car parked next to us.
"Pray for Japan"? Pray for the turtle more like...at least he has a seat belt.
A short drive later and we arrived at Obuse, home to Shinji Suzuki. I visited many many moons ago when the museum was still open, but not since that closed and he renewed his garden. I must say I was very impressed. Although still quite new, it was very classy.
Empty space...i remember what that was like...
A Nemu no ki or Persian Silk Tree/Mimosa. Awesome summer tree and the kind of stuff that I love. simple, elegant and so beautifully displayed.
There were a lot of spots where the modern and traditional combined together. The thought that has gone into the garden was evident.
In the customers area, a Sumac is displayed behind a very familiar bronze kingfisher...
Oh yeah...just excuse me a minute...
A Henk Fresnen original. You may not know it, but his work is very highly appreciated by the Japanese market in both Bonsai and the art world. So for all you people who complain it's too expensive...it's cheapest in Europe.
Onto the trees.
Seen that before...maybe on Matt Reels blog?
Speaking of the Portlandian...he is still in Japan. Long term apprenticeship...he must love it there.
It was still eary doors...
An ezo spruce of high quality.
A funky cascade hinoki cypress. Abstract bonsai
Even kokufu trees go wrong if left alone.
I took a load more pictures, but they are all kind of badly lit or out of focus, so my apologies.
After Suzuki's we made the short trip up to Iura's. For those that may not know Takashi Iura, he is the son of his father (obviously) Mr. Iura. They specialise in collected trees, taking large tohoku junipers and grafting roots and branches to split up into smaller trees with better foliage. The techniques and ideas are pretty unique and there are very few places in the world that do this on a large scale. Benches and tunnels full of collected junipers, taxus and the odd traditional bonsai dotted around.
A twin thin trunked tree....try saying that after a few shandies
A semi cascade with great fin like deadwood
Some of the many collected taxus
Chunky deadwood and carving opportunities a plenty
Projects on the go...
Well established tree...yamadori done properly, taking the time to establish healthy roots and vigorous growth. It may take ten, fifteen years but thats why you have sons.
Grafted junipers, a couple or three years since separation. After this, they are ready for a first styling.
A hulk of Yamadori juniper....oh the possibilities... If you look carefully you can see the original foliage, blue and coarde to the left, and the super extended itoigawa foliage on the right. Even though the grafts have taken and the roots separated from those branches, the original foliage is left to generate energy and at as the fail safe back up for those grafted branches. The desire to cut them off asap is held in check for the benefit of the tree
A more established semi styled piece, ready for refinement...sadly a clients tree otherwise...
Mr. Iura Jr. was a very gracious host, treating us to a lovely sushi lunch and allowing us to bother him for a few hours. It was well worth the trip and was a highlight for a couple of the more creative bonsai enthusiasts in the group. I always love to see people who make trees and their gardens, the thought processes behind them and learn little snippets of info. True creators will always take the time to show off their techniques and work with a smile on their face and Takashi Iura was no different.
We left there in the early afternoon to set out for Tokyo, calling in at Akiyama's on the way back...as this is such a long post already, I will break it up....