Ever since I started my apprenticeship here at Aichien, I’ve always talked to Mr. Tanaka about my friend Tyler Sherrod apprenticing with Mr. Shinji Suzuki in Obuse. Mr. Suzuki is one of the leading professionals in Japan and have won numerous awards including Taikan-ten, Sakafu and Kokufu-ten. Mr. Shinji Suzuki is also the person that trained now professional in the U.S., Michael Hagedorn.
A month ago, I was talking to Mr. Tanaka about Tyler and I told him that Tyler was apprenticing with Mr. Shinji Suzuki. I then asked if Mr. Tanaka has ever been to his garden before? Mr. Tanaka said no, but would like to see it in the future. Turns out that Mr. Tanaka was serious about seeing the garden, because this last Sunday, he decided to take his bonsai club members to Mr. Shinji Suzuki’s garden and I was able to come along too. In part 1 of this trip, I’ll will be sharing the details and photos of our visit to Mr. Shinji Suzuki’s garden.
Here is one of the many tunnels that we went through on our drive to Obuse. I’ve noticed that many of the mountains in Japan are steep so the roads tend to go through them instead of over them. One of the tunnels we went through was over 6 miles long!
We finally made it to Obuse and arrived at Mr. Shinji Suzuki’s garden. I found it interesting that the Garden doesn’t have a name. Notice there is no name on the door? I will now refer to this place as, “The Garden with No Name.”
Here’s a picture with Tyler and Mr. Shinji Suzuki’s prize winning Tosho. I can’t remember the name of this Tosho but perhaps Tyler can chime in on the comments section and tell us the name of this tree. In Japan, very famous trees are given special names. Tyler told me that his sempai (senior) Matt Reel last worked on this tree.
I remember seeing this pine either at Kokufu-ten or in one of the Kokufu-ten books. The tree has a really good, “feeling,” to it. One day I’ll write a post about this so called, “feeling.” It’s a very deep and interesting topic and I’m not sure if I’ve even gotten a good grasp of the concept. I have a feeling I’m starting to understand it though. ;o) Looking at this tree definitely helps.
Here is a picture of the walk way into the garden. Tyler says that this is one of the areas that he’s assigned to clean every morning. The whole garden is spotless just like this walk way here. I think Tyler did okay for an apprentice…
Sempai Matt Reel on the left, and Koehi Tyler Sherrod on the right. These guys look like they’re running the show now. I’m glad that Tyler has some nice sempais to work with. Mr. Tanaka told me that if you get along with your sempai, they will be your friends for life. Behind them are two enormous Red Pines.
I thought this area was interesting. This area is the repotting room and at the moment this Chinese made furniture was in there. The apprentices here really have it made relaxing on fine furniture. Turns out the furniture was temporarily left there until it’s moved.
More info about Tyler Sherrod
If you’d like to know more about Tyler Sherrod’s apprenticeship life working with Mr. Shinji Suzuki, you can read his blog at:
there you will find more information on him and more pictures of the garden. I was so excited about the visit to the garden that I forgot to take more pictures!
What’s in stored for Part 2:
I’ll tell you next time! Thanks for traveling.