Translated by Hilary Keyes
Learn In English! Ikebana Workshop For Travelers In Nishiarai
Written by Ramona Taranu
Today we'd like to introduce Emblem Hostel Nishiarai's ikebana classroom experience. Wouldn't you like to try arranging seasonal flowers for yourself too? These fun lessons are taught all in English too.
Ikebana is the ancient art of Japanese flower arrangement, one of the many traditional art forms found in Japan. By beautifully arranging seasonal flowers you can not only appreciate the beauty of the flowers in your own life, but also have fun taking part in this refined and elegant art.
Learn in English! Try Ikebana in Nishiarai, Adachi Ward
For those that would like to experience ikebana firsthand while in Japan should by all means take part in an ikebana workshop held at a culture center or ikebana classroom.
Today we would like to introduce the Ikebana Workshop offered by Emblem Hostel Nishiarai (participation cost is 2000 yen, which covers the cost of the flowers used). Our lecturer was Ms. Sogyoku Imamura, a member of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, who has been instructing in this method for the past 30 years. A translator was present and provided Ms. Imamura's lecture in English, which made it easy even for those that don't speak a word of Japanese to take part in this lesson.
Here is our account of the Ikebana Workshop that took place on November 9th, 2016.
The participants in today's workshop were guests of Emblem Hostel Nishiarai and residents from the Nishiarai area as well. As everyone in the group had never taken part or tried ikebana before, all were eagerly listening to Ms. Imamura's explanations regarding ikebana from the start. It was much easier to understand the differences between ikebana and flower arrangement when everyone learned about the various schools of ikebana and looked at photographs as these points were being explained. As the teacher explained, “ikebana is an art that reflects the personality and individuality of the artist".
What sorts of tools are required and other points were also thoroughly explained in this lecture as well.
To begin with, one of the most important tools are the scissors for ikebana, which can only be purchased from an ikebana specialty store. Luckily, today all the necessary tools were prepared for everyone in advance.
The next most important item is the flower vase. Depending on the size and style of the work you intend to make, the type of vase best suited to your work will change. This time we were attempting to make a basic ikebana work, so this small vase was prepared for us. Inside the vase a piece of green material known as an oasis is placed. This sponge helps sustain the flowers in the desired position. Usually, a tool made of iron called kenzan is used, but in order to make the arrangements easy to carry, at this workshop the convenient oasis was used.
Let’s Start Arranging Our Flowers!
Although everyone was a bit unsure at first, slowly but surely they got started on their arrangements. Before pushing the stems into the oasis, the desired length of the flower must first be decided. If you cut it too short, the flower will have been wasted, so everyone was very carefully considering their desired lengths and overall image of the work before doing anything else.
The flowers need not all be placed perfectly straight up and down; drastic or gradual slopes, different heights are all important features in ikebana arrangements. By doing this, different views and expressions in the flowers can be created. Under the guidance of Ms. Imamura, the participants slowly gained self-confidence and went from working too cautiously to gradually becoming more bold with their arrangements.
And in a flash, beautiful arrangements took shape!
Although everyone was using the same basic flowers, drastically different arrangements with various senses of refinement were produced by the students.
It's just as the teacher said, “Ikebana is an art that reflects the personality and individuality of the artist".
A Mini Flower Exhibition
And once the last arrangement had been made, in The Round, Emblem Hostel Nishiarai's Cafe and Bar, a small ikebana exhibition was held.
Our teacher looked at each work individually and gave comments and further explanations on each piece, which enable everyone to gain the aesthetic sense and proper means of appreciating other ikebana works.
The very last thing that Ms. Imamura taught us was the importance of enjoying the flowers along with conversation.
What do you think? Emblem Hostel periodically holds ikebana workshops, the next of which will be held on February 3rd, 2017. If you would like to take part in this or any of the other workshops offered through Emblem Hostel, please contact the hostel staff through their website.
If you would like to know more about the ikebana classes of Ms. Imamura and of the ikebana exhibitions she organizes with her students, please check out the website of Flower Salon Sougyoku.
For information on other ikebana classes, please refer to the JNTO Introduction page.
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