After much consideration I’ve decided to head back to the states. I have carefully discussed with others as well as spent significant time assessing my own thoughts to come to this decision.
Everyone’s apprenticeship experience is different and it’s hard to assume a single mold , model, or stereotype of what it is, what one’s experience should be, and what they have difficulty with.
There are significant problems with Kouka-en. For obvious reasons, I will not disclose them publicly but I consider it in my absolute best interest to leave. I am grateful to have had the experience to hone my talents and improve my skills. I have no regrets and I can confidently say I did nothing other than my best for my duration here.
Of course, there are still many things I lack for me to learn and to gain experience in. I understand how deep the breadth of knowledge bonsai encompasses and will seek to further my knowledge and skill. My passion in bonsai is still strong and I will always be in pursuit of this art.
I am grateful for the support I’ve received, and some kind members of the bonsai community who check on me on occasion and offer help.
I ask people to respect my decision if you support who I am, and I apologize for anyone who I’ve let down. It was a very hard and conflicting choice, but I am confident it was the right decision.
As far as what comes next, I’m not too sure myself. On this blog I have been very transparent on my development from an hobbyist to the last 2 years, as an apprentice.
Although my skills have rapidly advanced the past 2 years, I can acknowledge and recognize that I still lack a lot of knowledge and experience necessary to become a “full fledged” professional.
I want to pursue bonsai to my highest ability. I want to stay true to myself. I want to be able to support myself and those I care about around me. I am not abandoning my path, but certainly this is a detour if any.
I’ll be back in the states next month. I need some time to assess my options and save some money.
Lastly I wanted to share some pine work I’ve recently completed. They both came out fairly clean and I am content with the results.
I was debating removing the lowest branch. With a left moving trunk and the tree flowing back to the right you get a more dynamic design.
There was too much disconnect between the foliage and the trunk. In order to create a more powerful tree and to lose the disjointed feel, I compressed the trunk. A bend was already in place so it was fairly easily to push it further. Unfortunately the screws and wire I had on hand were not strong enough to hold the bend. I relocated the anchor screws onto a large jin and directly into the deadwood.
Lower branches set.
Since pulling the right side of the trunk down lifted everything on the left side, I had to compensate with guy wires hidden around the back and left side of the tree. Overall the design was able to be compacted quite a bit.
Here’s a red pine I styled as well. The goals with this tree was to clean up the pads and design–meaning necessary branch cuts/thinning as well as pulling all the old needles. After doing so the entire tree could be wired.
Done! Repotted in a lightly larger container and roots slightly worked to accommodate for angle change. Looks a little messy in this photo with needles stacked over each other, but it turned out really clean in person! These 2 trees will be available for sale at Kokufu.