Tag Archives: Fall Bonsai Show

Taikan-ten 2011

Taikan-ten 2011

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.  It’s been very busy lately because of the show season.  Luckily, the busy season doesn’t last forever so here is a brand new post about Taikan-ten.  In this post, I will talk a bit about the show, the judging process and some of the things I did during the set up.  The nice thing about being apart of the setup crew is that I got to see the behind the scenes of how the show came together.  I was also fortunate to meet other apprentices from other nurseries.

31st Taikan-ten exhibition in Kyoto, Japan.  November 25-28.  This show is the second largest show in Japan.

Prepping for show

Instead of going into the show prep, Jonas from Bonsai Tonight wrote a great post about prepping for Taikan-ten.  Visit here to see what went on for show preparations.

What’s a show without loading a trunk full of very large heavy trees?  As you can imagine, we did lots of lifting in awkward positions.

On our way to Kyoto.  This was one of the many tunnels we drove through.  If you want to go anywhere long distances in Japan, you’re going to go through a lot of these.

Of course!  20 minutes into the drive, a rock hits the windshield.  We couldn’t stop laughing.  Good thing it’s a rental trunk.

We stopped at a rest stop to get some food and this crazy person just stood in front of our trunk the whole time.  Hahaha.  That’s actually U sempai having some fun with us.  Though he is still crazy…

In this picture, you can see another shot of the crack in the windshield!  Oh yeah, once we got into Kyoto, we drove through the biggest Torii gate I have ever seen in my life.  The base of one of the pillars is bigger then a car!


Once we got to the hall and set up the show, the judging for the trees began.  There was a group of about 10 or so judges that walked from tree to tree.  There was two rounds of judging to finally pick the winners.  From what I could tell, there was multiple categories ranging from tree sizes, types and styles.  There was even awards for suiseki.  Once the preliminary around was over, all the selected trees were places on long rows of tables.  Trees for different prize categories were placed together, then they were judged.

That’s a lot of trees to judge!  No wonder it took so long.

Here is Mr. Tohru Suzuki on the left and Taka sempai in the red shirt.  This section of the judging was for rock planting.  Mr Tohru Suzuki is one of the executive committee members for Taikan-ten.

The judging lasted for several hours so let see what else was going on during the judging.

There’s Uch sempai running around looking busy.  One thing I learned quickly here is that an apprentice should always look busy.  If you watch closely you can see some of them sweeping the same spot for 10 minutes.  I especially like the, “walking like you need to be somewhere but not really,”  technique.

Here is Mr. Akio Kondo (Ak sempai) setting up his sales table.

Here’s me doing some last minute pruning on a dense Trident maple.  This section of trees were not part of the judging.

Here’s Jonas giving us some scale for this large Japanese Black Pine.

Back to the judging

Once the trees went through the second round, the winners were announced.  This Yew Hemlock caught many peoples attention.  It made sense that it took the prize for medium conifer.  We don’t have any Yews here at Aichien because they don’t do well in the hot weather that we have in Nagoya.

The group of judges making the rounds.

I’m not going to talk too much into which trees won which prize  because a book isproduced for this show every year and I don’t want to take away from that.  Also, the following pictures are only some of the trees and stones at Taikan-ten.  Enjoy!

This is an interesting stone.  It looks like a rabbit!  As if you didn’t already figure that one out.  ;o)  I looked closely and could not tell if it was carved or not.  A part of me wants to believe that it’s all natural, but I have a feeling it’s been manipulated.  Honestly though, I can’t tell.

This was one of my favorite trees at the show.  I believe it came from Mr. Shinji Suzuki’s garden.  It’s a mult-trunk rough bark Japanese maple.  It was over 24 inches (61 cm) tall and just amazing!

A very nice cascading Japanese Black Pine

Semi-cascading Shimpaku.  The white thing hanging down is the tag on the tree.  Please place finger over it to enjoy tree.

Another cascading Japanese Black Pine.  I really like the pot this tree is in.  It’s a Chinese Antique pot with a huge lip!  I’m a fan of the lips!

Here’s a cool twisty Shimpaku

A meaty Azalea!  Did you know that azaleas can go in either glazed or unglazed pots?  If not, now you do.  If you did, then good for you!

I’ve heard that Ginko Bonsai have lost popularity in Japan.  I think they’re great and wouldn’t mind having one.

Here is a small suiseki on display.  It’s only about 5 inches (12.7 cm) long.  What does the stone looks like to you?

These two pots were on loan from a famous collection.  They are over 150 years old.

This huge Japanese Black pine is over 48 inches (122cm) tall.  This tree had it’s own special display and hasn’t been shown for a very long time.  The significance of this tree is that it was in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped there in 1945.  It survived the blast and since has found it’s way to Daiju-en.

This was a very unusual display.  The black stone is incredibly heavy.  Four people helped carry it.  The round ball on top required two people to lift it.  The owner pointed out that in the round stone, there is a pattern that looks like a rabbit.  I’m not sure about the significance of the overall display but interesting none the less.

Now that is a lot of princess persimmons!  Just a warning, for those who may not know.  The persimmons taste horrible!  I sacrificed my taste buds to ge the word out.

Here is great big Japanese Holly.  This tree won a prize.

Again, sorry about the tag. This Japanese Black Pine won a prize.  Very nice!

Nice little hut stone.

Another amazing Ginko.  WOW!

Here’s a nice Five Needle Pine

Dense multi-trunk Trident Maple.  This photo was shot before I did some last minute pruning.

Colorful chrysanthemum stone

This display won the Shohin category

Not the best picture but this large Japanese Black Pine won the Kokufu prize three years ago.

This big Japanese Black Pine won Kokufu-ten at the 70th show about 15 years ago.  Interesting thing I did not know about this tree was that it was mostly developed at Aichi-en for many decades before being sold to Mr. Kamiya, who then styled it and won the Kokufu-ten prize for it.  When the tree won the Kokufu prize, it did not have a hollow trunk.  Not sure how that happend.

Sales area!

The sale area for Taikan-ten was huge!  This picture only shows half of the sales area.  I have more pictures of the sales area but I feel that it would be too painful for those who did not attend to see so I will leave it at that.

After the show was over, we did the usual clean up and loading of trees.  I did my share of lifting as always.  I hope you enjoyed the digital show.  This was the first Taikan-ten I’ve ever attended.  Hopefully you all can say the same in the future.

Thanks for visiting

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