Field Trip to Obuse, Part 1

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.

From Nagoya to Obuse is about a 4 hour drive.  This is an interesting bridge that we went through.

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 stopped at a couple of rest stops such as this.  The rest stops in Japan are nice because their facilities are extremely clean!

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 is a picture of my friend Tyler Sherrod.  He was kind enough to give me a little tour of the garden.  This multi-trunk Tosho is one of the trees he’s worked.  Sweet!

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.

This Shimpaku is one of Tyler’s favorite trees in the garden.  I don’t think there’s a single straight line in 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…

Here’sa picture of another section of the garden.  What a beautiful place!

Not the best picture but the man on the right is Mr. Shinji Suzuki and the man on the left is a member of the group.

Here are some of the club members looking around.  Notice the two men in front are smiling.  Everybody was smiling at how beautiful and amazing the garden is.

Tyler told me that this Red Pine is one of the first trees he’s wired and styled at the garden.

Now that’s cool.

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.


7 thoughts on “Field Trip to Obuse, Part 1

  1. tylersherrod says:

    Hey Peter, very cool post! This Tyler guy seems like a cool dude! LOL I asked both Matt and Yusuke about the famous Tosho and they both said they didn’t think it had a name, guess we don’t like giving things names around our nursery. It was nice to have you and your group visit. We will have to plan a time for me to come visit you soon. Thanks

  2. KENNY says:

    Thanks Peter for sharing; looks like fun excursioin! Good to see that Matt and Tyler are doing well in, as you put it, “The Garden With No Name”.

  3. Peter,
    Thank you for taking to time to share these wonders.

    I double clicked on the missing photo and go to view it, but I had to get out of that to read the rest of the post.

  4. ron says:

    looks like you had a great time!

  5. Jeff Lahr says:

    Great Field Trip. The two red pines are impressive. Nice photo expedition, thanks for sharing.

    PS Viewers should really click on the photo that didn’t show up, it’s an impressive tree too.

  6. John Kirby says:

    Very Nice Peter, good to see Tyler in good health and looking well. Looks like everyone had a good time.

  7. Peter Tea says:

    I have no idea why one of the pictures didn’t come out. Just click it and you can see it then. Thanks

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