Episode 205- Traditional Japanese Flower Arts

Episode 205- Traditional Japanese Flower Arts

Host J Schwanke explores the wonderful traditions of Japanese Flower Design: Ikebana flower arranging, Zen gardens, and bonsai. He visits a Japanese garden, speaks with a Bonsai Club, and shares his knowledge of Ikebana Flower Design.

J shares the art of Ikenoba Flower Arranging - he learned in Japan in 1978.

J shares the art of Ikenoba Flower Arranging – he learned in Japan in 1978.

This week on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom- were experiencing Traditional Japanese Flower Arts. I was very fortunate at a very young age to visit both Japan and China with my parents for a Society of American Florists post-convention tour. My father was the President of the Society of American Florists- and the convention was in San Francisco- and reconvened in Hawaii- and then we flew on to Tokyo and visited many locations in Japan.

J introduces us to his childhood friends- The Kitayama Brothers- and they share their special Family Philosophy for Flower Success!

J introduces us to his childhood friends- The Kitayama Brothers- and they share their special Family Philosophy for Flower Success!

I was very fortunate that my room mate for this trip of a lifetime was another florist- whose family was Japanese. This allowed me to attend local events- and my friend Toshi- spoke Japanese fluently- thus allowing me to experience so much more of the local flavor and interests. This adventure also allowed me to study and attend the Ikenoba School – of Japanese Ikebana Flower Arts. This was an amazing opportunity- and it was important to my family to have me classically trained in Japanese flower arranging- to help with my upcoming career as a florist back in the USA.

Flower Cocktail Hour features this Ginger Saké Orange Blossom Recipe.

Flower Cocktail Hour features this Ginger Saké Orange Blossom Recipe.

I share some of this formal training in this show as I create a Ikenoba inspired flower arrangement. The Art of Ikebana – is never truly mastered- it is felt that process of learning- continues for a lifetime – and each arrangement is an experience- and a journey- as well as an education and expression of art… thus no one ever really completes their study- they continue to grow and attempt to perfect the art of Ikebana and Japanese flower arranging.

The Art of Ikebana is also viewed as a form of worship- and observation- many times the flowers are placed on ‘altars’ in the home that are reserved for honorable pieces of Ikebana Art create with flowers and plants. In this show- I also share one of my favorite books- that was a gift from my brother-in-law- and it’s a treasured reference – that has greatly helped my education and enlightenment with the Japanese Art of Flower Arranging.

My Friend Dusty- stops by to share a few of his Bonsai Trees- as well as tips for Bonsai Success!

My Friend Dusty- stops by to share a few of his Bonsai Trees- as well as tips for Bonsai Success!

I also visit with my Friend Dusty Brown- who is a professional photographer and avid Bonsai Hobbyist. Dusty shares his passion for Bonsai as well as some of his favorite tips- and helps to inspire me -to give the Art of Bonsai- a try!

The Japanese Flower Arts- also influence my cooking and beverage skills. In this show- I share how to make a Sushi Rose- using Ahi Tuna and some vegetables from the garden. Check out the Recipe for the Sushi Tuna Rose Here! I step behind the bar to create a Ginger Saké Orange Blossom cocktail – that includes a flower-inspired Saké! Here’s the Ginger Saké Orange Blossom Flower Cocktail Hour Recipe!

As a child growing up in the flower industry- I formed a lifelong friendship with other florist’s children- and none has been as meaningful and rewarding as my friendship with the Kitayama family- specifically Robert and Stuart Kitayama- and their Cousin Dave Kitayama. We visit their family flower farm in California- and they share the philosophy of their Japanese Heritage- and how it has positively affected their career and success in the Flower Industry!

The Fugi (or Spider) Chrysanthemum is the featured flower.

The Fugi (or Spider) Chrysanthemum is the featured flower.

The Fuji Chrysanthemum is our Featured Flower. This classic Japanese flowers is named for Mount Fugi in Japan – and we learn more about this classic flower – that is used frequently in Japanese Art and Flower Arranging.

I try my hand at creating a Zen Garden- using a wooden container and sand. I use classic miniature tools- and even a few flowers and plants to my interpretive Zen Garden.

I try my hand at creating my own Zen Garden- complete with a few flowers and plants.

I try my hand at creating my own Zen Garden- complete with a few flowers and plants.

It’s time to bring a bit of Zen and Calm into our lives- courtesy of the Japanese Flower Arts…I hope you enjoy this episode of “Life in Bloom” that is inspired by the Artful Culture of Japan!

2 Comments

  1. Helen Daly June 20, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    loved this episode as I have always loved Ikebana and other Japanese flower arrangements since being in High School even before I got to be a Florist. How lucky were you that your parents sent you to Japan to learn these lovely styles of arranging flowers and I especially enjoyed the Zen Garden. At 74 I just might have to make one if I can help to keep it away from my grand daughter till she gets a little older and I can help her make one of her own. At almost 3 it will be a little while longer. She has just gotten a sand box to play in and what a mess she is making of that. More sand out then in Ha ha. Thanks for the inspiration as usual.

  2. Karen Carpenter July 6, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    This is a wonderful episode. I’m empowered to try the bonsai again and I loved the visit to the flower farm. Amazing quality.

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