We spent a lot of time on trains in Japan – sometimes the view was pretty great.
Mt. Fuji from Shinkansen
Our final train ride brought us to a familar nursery about an hour outside of Tokyo. It belonged to Makoto Hashimoto. This was the first nursery I had visited in Japan ten years ago. It looks much the same now as it did then, only it was much warmer this year.
I first heard about Hashimoto from Joe Harris. Joe grew up with bonsai, working with Brussel Martin at Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery from the time he was 11 years old until he went to Japan, in 1986, to study with Hashimoto. Joe learned a lot about satsuki azaleas on that trip by working with Hashimoto at the Kanuma Shizen Bonsai Koen (Kanuma Nature and Bonsai Park). Today Hashimoto is head of Japan’s satsuki association.
That doesn’t mean he’s not a fan of other varieties. Hashimoto likes white pine, as you can see by the trees he keeps outside his front door, and he likes trident maples and other deciduous trees that can be found growing in small plots around his property.
More future bonsai
Visits to Hashimoto’s are always a good time. He has a good sense of humor, a fun collection of trees, and plenty of old pots for sale. This year he brought two of his daughters along with us to lunch – a kind gesture, and practical as they both spoke good English and could help translate the conversation to their father.
Jeff, Emiko, Kaori, Boon, Hashimoto, Jonas
The final stop of the day was a visit to a Japanese super-store where Emiko helped us load up on cardboard, tape, twine and bubble-wrap for packing our purchases (read: pots).
Back at the hotel we only stayed up until 1:00 a.m. packing, so things could have been worse. And fortunately, everything made it back in one piece – ourselves included.
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