Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bonsai, it's the sushi of the horticultural world

I needed a picture for this post, so I chose this

It's time for one of my rants. Subject: Suhi. No, Not really. It's about bonsai. In fact, it is about the evolution of bonsai, and international bonsai.  

A while ago I watched a Begin Japonology episode about sushi. Sushi at first was fermented fish preserved in rice. This was something similar to what had been done in China. Sushi was an import. It slowly changed according to prevailing circumstances. At first sushi was a food only eaten in Japan. Sushi eventually made it to other countries. Some of these countries started making sushi with local ingredients. A good example is the famous California roll. The use of local ingredients has created in some a desire to eat/ learn about “authentic” sushi.

Is this sounding familiar? The parallels to bonsai is very uncanny. One could formulate many reasons as to why this is, but that is a post for a future date.

I was watching NHK last weekend. The subject was sushi. The last segment of the show was about the evolution of sushi in other parts of the world. The consensus was that international varieties of sushi should be encouraged. Sushi should be an inclusive food. Also, that sushi from other parts of the world does not detract from what sushi is in Japan. In japan you can get conveyer belt sushi all the way up to sushi made by Jiro.

You have already talked about what a bonsai should look like before Ivan. I know, I have. However, This is a different perspective. Sushi and bonsai have many similarities. Like any metaphor they are not identical. Yet, it is interesting to see how two distinctly Japanese things that are popular around the world  are perceived by the very people who make them. The differences in how each group embraces the evolution of the two art forms is remarkable. Why is there so much push back from the bonsai people in regards to evolving bonsai design. Why is evolving sushi trends more palatable ;)?

Do we who love bonsai love to argue? There are many points of contention in the world of bonsai. Why is that so?  Are people who are attracted to bonsai by nature grumpy people? I do not think so. If that was the case every bonsai club in the world would be composed of one person. Maybe its that bonsai attracts people who like to make things “perfectly”. These people want to make the best bonsai possible. In their quest for the perfect tree they become very meticulous. Or not. Cheers.    

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