Ikebana Festival

Trip Start Jul 27, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

My friend Alison and I are on a mission to engage ourselves in as many cultural activities before she finishes her contract this summer.  After our tea ceremony lesson, and our Flamenco experience, we decided to give Ikebana a try. 

Wikipedia further explains:

"Ikebana means "arranged flower"  ike(ru) meaning to place or arrange; bana/hana meaning flower.  Ikebana therefore, is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as "kadoo" the "way of flowers".

In contrast to the decorative form of flower arranging in western countries, Japanese flower arrangement creates a harmony of linear construction, rhythm, and color; in themselves, decorative requirements. The Japanese emphasize the linear aspects of the arrangement. They have developed the art to include the vase, stems, leaves, and branches, as well as the flowers. The entire structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on three main points that symbolize heaven, earth, and man."

Hmm- maybe I should have read that before embarking on this experience.  A handful of us Kobe JETs set out to Osaka to attend an IKEBANA FESTIVAL.  When I told my Japanese friends about this, they thought I was crazy.  Apparently Ikebana, is not something usually associated with a festival.  But this was an attempt at reaching out to foreign citizens in Japan, to expose them to a great aspect of Japanese culture. 

The festival included traditional Japanese Ladies Court Dances, tea and treats, a multitude of flower arrangements by Ikebana teachers, and 30 minute workshops where visitors could try their hand at making their own Ikebana arrangement.  As long as it looked exactly like the display on the table, EXACTLY! 

I had the flowers pulled out of my hands more than once by my instructor- because I simply wasn't understanding.  This is another cultural difference.  In the US, we are taught NOT to copycat and instead to be original and bring our own ideas to the table.  In Japan, they are taught to be the same.   I should have known that the workshop wouldn't be my opportunity to attempt to make a similarly beautiful flower arrangement, but instead to exactly replicate my teacher's work of art and then claim it as my own.  Silly Brianne.

But this is exactly why we do these sorts of things, to not only have the experience, but also to learn about the culture behind the experience.  We had a wonderful time, and are looking into signing up for more regular classes. Maybe then I can learn the art of Ikebana, well enough to create my own works of art!
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