And it proved very hard to update as I went along...perhaps something to do with the baking heat and 1800 km I drove. The rental car place (and to be fair, me) was pretty surprised when I finally got it back in one piece. All good fun though.
So after the first day in Kanagawa and Shizuoka visiting a few shohin nurseries, we ventured on to Okazaki for a day in and around Nagoya which is home to the Daijyuen crew. Daijyuen is an old nursery dating back three generations, with the current master Mr. Toru Suzuki at the helm. Our guide for the day was Ken Fujiwara, a pretty cool dude who studied at Daijyuen after being a surfer around the world. Click his name for a link.
Next we went to Shinpuku-ji, a nearby temple that has a bonsai loving head abbot. There is an area for trees on display and we got a peek into the back garden.
After a brief lunch stop it was onto Aichi-en, the home of Junichiro Tanaka, where Peter Tea studied for two years before returning to become a professional. At the moment there are three foreign apprentices there including the all round good egg, John Milton, a fellow Brit, who has just started his studies. We had. Chat about the Ashes, the off season and Snooker...I could tell he still had that homesick longing that takes six months to get rid of. I remember it well...wait until you have Sushi for your first Christmas day dinner away, then you know what homesick is about...still, I'm sure he will do well, and Mr. Tanaka is a good bloke it seems, so good luck to you.
Aichi-en is very much a growers garden, it isn't pretty and well laid out, but it is full of trees in various stages of development. Mr. Tanaka is a maker of trees as opposed to just a seller of trees...in fact ot was quite hard to get him to sell some.
One of the main reasons for meeting up with Ken and going to Achi-en was so that Matt could see the tree that he put into Kokufu this year. A trident over rock which had been started by Aichi-en many years ago. Here is a terrible picture of Matt, Ken and John trying to stay out of shot.
The day was rounded off with a trip to Inazawa which is a growing area for garden trees near Nagoya which has a few bonsai nurseries. I bought a tree that I couldn't pass up for the price as it ticked three very major boxes...
The days bonsai finished, we loaded up and headed to Kyoto, arriving at the incredibly reasonably price Hotel Rich Kyoto. Tomorrow...the mecca for shohin bonsai Koju-en