Like many bonsai enthusiasts, I’ve long dreamed about studying bonsai in Japan in a formal apprenticeship. After hearing tales from Kathy Shaner, Boon Manakitivipart, and Michael Hagedorn, I’m both excited by, and somewhat afraid of, all that the experience entails.
Recently three more bonsai students began apprenticeships in Japan: Tim Gardner, Peter Tea, and Tyler Sherrod. Tim is studying with Tohru Suzuki at Daiju-en in Okazaki. Toshinori Suzuki, Tohru’s father, trained Yasuo Mitsuya, Kathy’s teacher, and Kihachiro Kamiya, Boon’s teacher.
Peter is studying with Junichiro Tanaka, owner of Aichien Bonsai Nursery in Nagoya. Tanaka studied bonsai with Tohru Suzuki.
Tyler is studying bonsai with Shinji Suzuki in Obuse, near Nagano. Michael Hagedorn studied bonsai with Shinji Suzuki, and Matt Reel continues to study with Suzuki. Shinji Suzuki studied with Motosuke Hamano, Masahiko Kimura’s teacher.
Somehow, Peter Tea has found time to write about his adventures and share them online. His blog is among my favorite bonsai sites as it contains great photos and excellent advice on bonsai training and care. Here are some photos from Peter’s Aichien Journal (photos by Peter Tea):
Japanese black pine
Japanese five needle pine
Peter, Tim, and Tyler – I wish you all the best of luck. Ganbatte!