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yoona
yoona

I am an ikebana teacher living in Tokyo. Also I've lived in Osaka and Hyogo for several years.

Area of Residence
Tokyo
Area of Interest
Osaka
Blog Title
A day in a life of ikebana teacher
Blog URL
https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/yoona
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How to enjoy Ikebana exhibitions

As I'm an ikebana teacher, I have a lot of opportunities to visit ikebana exhibition. And sometimes I invite my friends to go with. Most of my friends have never seen ikebana exhibition even though they are Japanese, so they are willing to follow me. To make their first experience more impressive and interesting, I carefully introduce ikebana speaking about history, techniques, materials...etc. In this post, I will write how to enjoy ikebana exhibitions.Where can we find exhibitions?As far as I know, unfortunately, there's no website that gathers information of all ikebana events. But you'll have chance to find exhibitions in some places. Regardless of area, in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka or other prefectures, many of exhibitions are held at event space in department stores, mostly located on the highest floor. So when you visit department store, do not forget to check posters on walls of elevators or placed at information desk to know which event is held on the event space! Also, you can find some small shows at public halls, hotel lobbies.Last month, I went to an exhibition of Ikebana Association which many ikebana schools around Japan participate. It was held in Takashimaya Department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo.Ticket are sold at the information desk in the department store, or ticketing booth near the exhibition entrance. Price differs depending on the event, but normally between 600 yen and 1500 yen per person. Children and students under age 15 will be free (depends on events, but normally free). If you already have schedule, I recommend to buy ticket in advance because sometimes they sell it a bit cheaper (about 100-200 yen lower) than you purchase at ticketing booth. For events in public halls or hotels, no ticket needed. How to enjoy it --- Check these 1) to 3) !!!1) Enjoy various materialsWe have four seasons here in Japan, and ikebana is the best way to feel the season because we use different materials that are available at the time. We can find many colorful flowers from spring through early summer. When it's hot in mid-summer, only a few materials like tropical ones or green leaves are available. During autumn, we can enjoy autumn flowers as well as  lots of branches whose leaves are changing colors into red. In freezing winter, we have fewer choices of flowers, but many stuff for Christmas and New Year arrangements are seen in markets. You'll be able to find many kinds of materials which are original in Japan and seem new to you!You'll also find interesting materials in works. For example...The black fluffy stuff in the middle is dried seaweed ( Codium fragile; we call it Umi-matsu うみまつ or Miru みる). Creators of this work say they purchased it from flower wholesaler and they didn't dive into the sea,hahaThe round light-green is Cauliflower! ( official name is Broccolo Romanesco) Isn't it interesting that the vegetable has a key role to compose this arrangement?Of course, we find arrangements made of only "flowers".2) Look at vasesWe, ikebana artists, are greedy to find something unique to create the ONLY ONE works. We frequently check shops, ateliers to see what's new, sometimes order artists to make ones, and furthermore, some of us make vases or frame by ourselves. So, please pay attention to the containers into which the flowers are put. There are many uncommon vases that you'll be able to enjoy. This is not normal vase, isn't it? So weird! But matches cattleya.In water, there is a crab of metal... I guess this is some tool to hold materials.This looks the creator didn't use any vase, but actually the  styrene sheet colored in blue covers the container.Maybe this rocky one is handmade.3)Guess what technique is adopted for arrangementsThe technique and basic styles of arrangement are developed in each school, so for me, it's interesting to observe other schools' students works thinking about the techniques.  Tens of branches are carefully curved to make flowing lines. They are fixed inside the base inserted between short-cut stems. Seems really difficult to keep the balance.... This spiky green arrangement is made of tied thin leaves! How many hours did it take to finish...?Now you're more ready to visit ikebana exhibitions, aren't you? Hope you'll enjoy it!

  • Living
  • Education
  • Tokyo

Our Ikebana headmaster's solo exhibition

Our school, The Sogetsu flower school,  celebrates 90th anniversary this year. And our headmaster, or Iemoto (いえもと 家元), Akane Teshigahara held solo exhibition in commemoration of the anniversary at school HQ in Akasaka, Tokyo.It was not typical "flower exhibition" that many people expect, because our Iemoto created the venue with very unique "Artwork" , collaborating with some modern artists.The main work was displayed at the first floor of the building. Without decorations, this lobby floor is very unique rock garden titled "Heaven" designed by world's famous artist Isamu Noguchi. (PIC from Sogetsu School HP)Whenever I visit the school, only one or two works are displayed here. But see, our Iemoto made the space totally different and unusual!! (Picture from the top)The designers who worked with Iemoto used thin stainless sheets, cutting it diamond-shaped to make the mirroring ivy, and covered the whole floor and wall with them. The steel ivies reflect the colors and shapes of flowers as well as the light that come into the space from the skylights, making the space more special. Iemoto's works were displayed in this brilliant, shiny hall.Before entering the hall, at the entrance, many bamboo welcomed us. Bamboo is frequently used in our school as it can show a lot of expressions by cutting, bending, drying coloring and so on.The black ones are dried bamboo roots painted in black and displayed upside down.The materials were put in containers which Iemoto made by herself. Not only our headmaster, many of our students who want to organize the MOST unique arrangement visit atelier/art studio to produce original pottery.Works are not always big. There were tiny ikebana like these. Tiny vases measured about 4-5 cm tall are used for this work. We call this style "mini-ature" and use some parts of the plants such as buds, a leaf, to emphasize the uniqueness of the material. On the contrary, at the center of the hall, a large work was shown featuring Sakura trees. Full bloomed Sakura and other branches were breathtaking. Also, stainless on the wall and floor reflects the colors of the flowers. I've never seen such a splendid cherry blossoms...                                                               On the second floor, there were exhibitions of flowers and modern arts.Ikebana can be collaborated not only with dimensional arts, but with planar artworks such as paintings. There were arrangements inspired by paintings of the young artists. The works looked like as it was just ONE production created from ONE artist. Last but not least, display on the fifth floor was also attractive. Originally, there was a traditional Japanese room with tatami, like this.But during the exhibition, the room were decorated with modern sculpture and flowers! The works dramatically changed the atmosphere of the old room!Did you enjoy the exhibition tour with my pictures? I'm happy if you understand that ikebana can be collaborated with many kinds of arts.

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  • Tokyo

Indoor Hanami event in Nihonbashi

Spring is almost here! Many people living or visiting Japan are expectant of hanami in this season. But don't you worry about the weather? For me, YES. Everytime I go out for some activity, it rains. I always bring rain to events..when watching professional baseball games, going to Disneyland, driving to the beach... We call such person as Ame-onna (雨女; ame means rain, onna means woman, if the person is male, Ame-otoko 雨男; otoko means man) . When it rained on the day of the event, I would cancel the it (or the event would be cancelled automatically), and wait for another chance, then find something different to do. But what if it rains on the day of hanami? The best season of hanami is too short as the flowers fall very soon, and you might have to wait for A YEAR for the next chance of hanami... If you are Ame-onna or Ame-otoko, and really worried about missing the opportunity, you can visit an "Indoor Hanami" event in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Last week, I enjoyed hanami with my Ikebana friends."Flowers by NAKED" event is getting famous through social media with its beautiful pictures. NAKED is a group of creators holding many events highlighting projection mapping or other latest technologies. "Flowers by NAKED" is a collaboration of flowers and digital art. Not only visually, it appeals to our five senses using many cutting-edge technologies. (You can search on Instagram with hashtag "#flowersbynaked".)At the entrance, there is a Big book. This book is about three meters high and shows breathtaking beautiful pages of flowers with projection mapping. Also, you can smell the fragrance of the flowers. Don't forget to take pictures and breathe deeply here!Passing by the Big book, there is a wide screen displaying Mosaic of flowers. With the language of flowers, the flowers appear continuously, one after another. Find your favorite one.Then, you will find a ball-shaped object, Dandelion clock, surrounded by shade curtains. Something tricky will happen on this dandelion puffball when you do something... Do and see it for yourself!After the magical dandelion, you'll step into the world of Frozen flowers. They are not actually frozen, but look like they are in ice in some freezing area. The flowers used here are dried (or processed with chemicals) and delicately covered with thin glass. Blue and white lights make the area look really icy. Enjoy the winter before proceeding to the spring room.Then you will walk through Bamboo corridor. This passage is a work collaborated by our Ikebana school headmaster and NAKED, created from SO MANY bamboo trees. (More than 1,400 sheets of sliced bamboo!)  Bent, twisted and tangled bamboo work expresses blowing strong wind that brings us the spring. The huge work is illuminated with colorful lights and we can enjoy the reflections, too.After the spring storm corridor, we finally arrive at Hanami area full of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossom trees spread over our heads (actually they are artificial flowers, not real), and real trees are displayed in a large glass vases, and the thousands of flower petals made from papers are floating at the top, creating the very soft, calm, relaxed but brilliant and gorgeous space that gives us an illusion of being under the fully-bloomed cherry flowers.If you feel like having a sip of a cocktail for more hanami mood under the cherry blossoms, there's a bar featuring Sakura cocktails and sweets. (But remember that you can't sit on the ground as it is very crowded)While you enjoy the drinks, you can also enjoy the elegant dance show with sakura projection mapping. The performance in the storm of cherry petals is worth seeing and taking a video of .Beside the bar, a beautiful sakura-colored dress designed by famous Japanese fashion designer Keita Maruyama is on display.Now we are going to finish this hanami tour, but before the exit, we can leave the flowers which we bloom by ourselves. Stop at the wall on your left and touch the screen, then something happens....At the exit there is a mysterious labo, The secrets behind the garden, which creates this flower event. Honestly, I was not sure they are really related to the event, but some girls were absorbed in taking pictures.Outside the hall, you can enjoy shopping for many kinds of flower-designed goods such as confectioneries, aroma oil, apparel, stationary and ornaments.The weather in Tokyo is still unstable and cold. So should you miss the hanami opportunity, don't be depressed. Visit Nihonbashi for the "Flowers by NAKED" event!This event is held until March 20 (MON) in COREDO MUROMACHI 1, accessible from Mitsukoshimae-station on Tokyo Metro Hanzomon or Ginza line. The ticketing booth and entrance is on the 4th floor and the venue is on the 5th. Opening hours: 10:00 to 20:00 ( admission until 19:30) Ticket for adults: 1400yen, children: 900yen. For details, visit the official page. English available. http://flowersbynaked.com/

  • Living
  • Tokyo

Feel tropical mood in winter!

You already know Japan has four seasons and it's still cold winter. And some parts of Japan are currently having heavy snow. But in Tokyo, there's an event where you can feel like as you're in a tropical land.I visited Orchid Festival in Tokyo which is held at Tokyo Dome in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. The festa's official name is "Japan Grand Prix 蘭 International Orchid Festival" (蘭/Ran means orchids) . It's called one of the largest orchid festivals in the world, and as the name suggests, there are a lot attractive spots.EntranceEntrance gate was decorated with, of course colorful orchids, and it was designed by Takarazuka Revue Company, Japan's female-actresses-only-gorgeous musical company. Visitors enter into the exhibition passing this gate of the large heart and gorgeous dresses both decorated with orchids.Group worksAfter the gate, there are many many artworks of orchids. Most of them are created by orchid farmers, but some are made by students of agricultural high schools.This is Mt. Fuji,They are Kimono (of course they are not wearable!),This looks waterfall,Why a gorilla on the top??Simple work using traditional Japanese room and pots.Table coordination created by ambassadresses to JapanEvery booth has original character reflecting own cultures. Find your country's ambassadress's work!Individual worksThey are not ikebana, but flower arrangement, wall hanging or painting,  also interesting to see.Works by professional artistsHuge works by headmasters of ikebana schools and famous flower artists. My schoolmaster created one using bamboo and orchids.CompetitionVarious kinds of pots are displayed. You'll be surprised to see these unique orchids.This looks normal. Just as I imagine when I hear "orchid".This looks like sunny-side-up!Small ones are pretty.Seeing many beautiful orchids, I found unique ones. They are all the same "orchids"...Cobra orchid,Spider orchid,Rose-printed orchid...so delicate.You could spend a whole day looking all the exhibition (don't worry, there are food stands and seats for rest) and also you can buy some pots at market space. They sell various flowers from under 1000yen. You can pick up your favorite.This event is held until February 17, opening hours: 9:30 to 17:30. Entrance closes at 17:00. Visit there and forget the freezing weather for a moment!

  • Living
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  • Tokyo

It's best time to start something...How about Ikebana?

When a new year begins, we feel like starting new things, don't we? In fact, we see many ads of schools including online or correspondence course. Do you have any special plan for something new? How about trying Ikebana this year? In this article, I will introduce how to start Ikebana lesson.The most important and difficult is to find a school. Below are the ways to find schools.1) Web searchJust as usual search, put in google "Ikebana lesson English Tokyo" or like that. In the result, there will be major school's headquarters information on top. And you'll find some small private schools as well. If you find English page on those sites, you can be sure that the teacher can speak English. Then compare pictures of lesson room, teacher, and works they show on webpage.2) Instagram or blog searchIt's really modern method, but actually many flower artists have IG account, including me. If the artist is a teacher and has own school or lesson, they mention so in profile page or each post. Through IG, you can easily find your favorite works and contact each artist.You can search with hashtag  #ikebana #いけばな #生け花This is my IG page. Search @yoonaflowers 3) Cultural Experience program for touristsIf you are visiting, this is the easiest. You can learn the brief history of Ikebana and try it in traditional Japanese room. Also, the students are all foreign beginners. But fees will be expensive and difficult to have next lesson even if you like because it is for "tourists' experience".4) Hobby clubsI heard ten or more years ago, many companies had hobby clubs after work, and Ikebana was one of the major activities. Some of my older Ikebana classmates say they started it from hobby clubs. But recently, many companies abolished such circles as the recession goes or other reasons.5) Paper ads in newsletterYou'll find some ads in your city's newsletter. Fees are little cheaper than other schools, but most of those schools are not bilingual (and in my opinion, the students might be elder than you).Most of the classes have one-time trial lesson, and fees will be around 3,000 yen to 5,000 yen. Normally you can borrow the goods needed, so all you need is a towel to wipe hands, apron if you wear delicate clothes. After the lesson, you can have flowers used in the lesson (material fee are normally included in lesson fee) to re-arrange them at home for review. Lesson timetable and number of students are different on teachers. Some open only private class on requests, others regularly have 10+ students at one time. If you are more interested in Ikebana and want to continue, you can visit several schools for trial and find your favorite. Next time, I will write about the materials/tools which I use for Ikebana.Oh I forgot to say... Of course, I can teach you if you are looking for a teacher in Tokyo!!!

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  • Tokyo

Tips to arrange new year's flowers

I was so busy and sick for last few months and couldn't post articles... Now I recovered and will start introducing Ikebana again!2016 is almost over, and we are preparing for the new year, 2017. Most of Japanese houses, shops, buildings decorate their gates or doors with new year ornaments. It's one of the Japanese traditional ways to celebrate new year and you can get detailed information through books or web, but if I explain very briefly, we decorate them "to welcome gods of the new year to our houses/facilities". Not only at doors, we arrange Ikebana arrangements inside. There is no specific rules, but we prefer to use certain materials to make our works more special. Each material has own meanings to be selected for arrangements. Let's see what they are.This is my work for 2017.I'm sure that most of the ikebana artists usually use pine tree (Matsu 松) as main materials. Pine trees are symbol of longevity and youth, because their leaves are always green and not be fallen off throughout the year, even in dry and cold winter season. Also, the sound "Matsu" is the same as "Matsu 待つ to wait". So it means we are waiting for gods' arrival to our house.I added colorful materials afterwards. Since we are going to celebrate, brilliant colors such as red, white,yellow, gold and silver are preferred for new year arrangements. As I mentioned before, there's no rule, so it's OK to use pink or other bright colors. But I personally think red, yellow or white will help our arrangements look more traditional.Then I used round shaped yellow chrysanthemum (Kiku 菊). Chrysanthemums are used in many ikebana arrangements regardless of seasons because they look very Japanese-like with their colors and shape. Not only that, they last long in water, so we like them as luck of health.Then I put some branches with tiny red fruits, they are Senryo 千両. Senryo is Japanese, means Sen (thousand)-Ryo(old Japanese currency), and is thought to bring lots of money or fortune.Similar plant called Manryo 万両(Man means ten thousands) is also used in arrangements as fortune item. Search in Wikipedia pageAt last, I chose red tulip, white baby's breath and gold-painted willow to add colors.Below is another arrangement for new year, which I made in Hawaii. Compared to Japan, Hawaii has limited materials for ikebana arrangement due to different climate. But it's still possible.My teacher prepared pine tree, bamboo, white chrysanthemum and plastic plum branches (if it's extremely hard to get it, you can use artificial ones). Bamboo (Take 竹) is popular item for new year with its straight shape, representing strong growth. And plum trees (Ume 梅) are known for symbol of good luck or success, because they start to bloom in winter, earlier than other flowers.Now do you think you can try it? Or you concern that you don't have enough space in room to put works or can't get enough materials? Don't give up! You still can make it!This is made of leftover after lesson; one short gold colored willow, one short yellow chrysanthemum and three short pieces of senryo. Simple work, isn't it?Try to create your own new year arrangement with these tips. But please note that 29th and 31st Dec. is not preferable to set, because the date 29th 二十九 (Niju-ku) sounds as the same as 二重苦(Niju-ku; double troubles), and 31st is too late to prepare for gods. Sorry to update this article on 29th... we have only tomorrow, 30th left to prepare....Anyway, have a great new year!

  • Living
  • Tokyo

Ikebana means flower arrangement. True or false?

I lived in Hawaii for 6 months last year, and had opportunity to make many foreign friends there. Some knew well about Japan while others didn't, of course. One day, one of my European friends asked me "Do you eat sushi every day?" No! We don't eat sushi daily unless we are 寿司職人(Sushi-Shokunin: Sushi chef) !!Keep talking about Japanese people and culture, we are not living in traditional styles. We don't wear 着物(Kimono) often, actually I do, but most of Japanese don't. We have few chance to be dressed in it... to attend some ceremony in childhood, and many girls wear it at the age of 20 to celebrate coming of age. Also, only one or two of my friends have experienced 茶道(Sa-dou :tea-ceremony) , and it's same as ikebana.When explaining ikebana, we call it as "Japanese flower arrangement". It's correct because the word 生け花(or いけばな, ikebana)  is made of 生ける(orいける, ike-ru ; to arrange) and 花(or はな hana; flowers). But ikebana and flower arrangement is technically different. Some of my Japanese friends don't know it, so I tell them briefly as below.Flower arrangement is basically like these.Make round or other kind of shape by adding flowers and leaves. Containers are full of flowers.While ikebana looks like this.We use least materials and make space between flowers to create the shape. The space between and around the materials consist the arrangement.In other words, flower arrangement is made by + (plus, adding), and ikebana is -(minus, cutting). So these are technically not the same.I don't want to confuse you, but the story above is about the very BASIC ikebana. When we finish basic lessons, we do it freely as below.I call it "ikebana", but some might say it is "flower arrangement". Yes, both are correct... Even though I am ikebana teacher, it is difficult to clearly define...

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  • Tokyo

A day in a life of ikebana teacher

First of all, I have to tell you that I'm Japanese. I guess most of the users of City-Cost are foreigners, and I enjoy reading blogs and answering questions. Then I realized how I DON'T know anything about Japanese things... from daily shopping spot, to cultures like annual festivals or sightseeing area, even though I was born and grown up in Japan! It's a shame!It's also embarrassing to say I'm studying and teaching IKEBANA, traditional Japanese flower arrangement. It's weird, what a paradox. To become better teacher and more "Japanese", I'll start reviewing my days, and also will share it through this blog.Let me excuse, but I'm sure many many Japanese, especially young generations, don't know much about our culture and can't explain it to foreigners. (It's not because they don't speak English well but they don't have topic to talk) So please read my blog as "a day of a Japanese girl". Nothing special, but it's real.I'll write about ikebana next time!

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