Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ikebana

            Maybe some of you remember this, but maybe there are some of you who are new to this blog. I am a fan of anime, cosplay and all nerdy Japanese things. (In fact, one of the most frequent hits is because of my Sailor Jupiter cosplay photo waaaayyy back when I started this thing.) When it comes to traditional culture, I also like many things, but I find it hard to participate in things like tea ceremony because I cannot sit in seiza (sitting on your knees on the floor) for very long . While I LOVE kimono, the traditional clothes, my size is pretty much impossible to find without custom ordering. Technically, I fit into the very largest kimono size they make, just barely. However, the fact that most Japanese people are not broad shouldered, decently endowed, don’t have stomachs and aren’t 170 cm tall, make my size a bit of an oddity. It was only by luck that I was able to take a class last year and made my own yukata (the summer version of a kimono).

My yukata. Remember this?
               So, while I want to participate in man things regarding Japanese traditional culture, excluding tea ceremonies, for some reason or another I either cannot or am for some reason entirely unable to join in. However, I am a HUGE fan of ikebana.

               Ikebana is the traditional art of flower arrangement in Japan. Now, ikebana began many, many hundreds of years ago. Today, there are many schools, each with its own style and focus. Some of you might remember that last year I was awarded the first rank in the school of Ikenobo. I wish I could tell you the differences between the schools, and maybe sometime I’ll have the chance to learn and tell you. 

               Three Fridays every month I go my Ikenobo class. My teacher is a really nice elderly lady and I usually study with two older women who have been studying it for around 20 years. Because I am still a low level, I practice Jiyuuka (or free style) flower arrangement. The ladies I study with often do oshoka (sp?), a style which rules I don’t know, but generally revolves around the stems being in a straight line and rika, or standing ikebana. Rika being the higher skill level of the two.

Here is an example of Oshoka. 


Here is an example of Rika.


And here is what I do.


About 3-4 weeks ago, all the people who study at my Ikenobo school made our arrangements and had them placed in the Shimada Citizen’s Cultural Festival during the ikebana weekend. Many of the students of the various schools of Ikebana also presented their creations during this festival. While not large, it was kind of my ikebana debut. So, without further ado, here is the arrangement that I debuted with as well as some other arrangements from the show.

My debut arrangement


Until next time!

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