Summer Blues and Lots of White Pines

The summer season at Kouka-en has been quite slow. Unlike the stressful intensity of the Kokufu period or the physical strain of repotting season, summer season here is a marathon. The persistent humidity, intense sun, and for me, an endless stream of mosquitoes put a damper on my energy. During this period, we’re neither acquiring nor selling many trees with most of our customers doing business during show season. In short this makes for lots of watering and long muggy days in the workshop. Aside from the occasional visitor or customer there are a significant amount of days in the summer where apprentices at Kouka-en are working by themselves. The isolation plays twofold, from the greater Japanese society, but from the bonsai community here as well. With Oyakata not around often, I feel a sense of responsibility not only to make sure things run smoothly but also to improve my…

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