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Wednesday, June 9

Last Ikebana Class

I haven't talked much about any Ikebana that I have created lately mostly because I have only been creating it at home.  Without proper sensei supervision, I don't want to call it Ikebana and show it to the world.  Lately, the art form has been strictly something for me to enjoy, in my own, limited spare time, more than trying to master the craft. 

However, Ikebana is one of the things in my life here in Japan that had to give a proper goodbye to.  Last week, I emailed the best English speaker in the class and asked her if I could stop by for a visit.  Not wanting to disturb the class and knowing that I would have to bring Kimono Peanut with me as class is on a Friday afternoon and all the other supervising grown-ups are working, I promised I would keep it short, all the while keeping up a quiet hope that they would ask me to stay.  Of course, they did.  The Japanese are overwhelming welcoming, if you ask me.  The responding email was filled with friendly insistence that I stay for a final class with the Peanut and then join everyone for a farewell luncheon.  

I was so excited about the day that I ended up being forty-five minutes early.  Anyone who knows me, knows that early is not my thing.  I was nervous about having my curious toddler in a room full of pretty flowers to rip apart, but he was amazingly well behaved after only one small meltdown, when I insisted we stop playing outside and come in for class.  Sensei took his meltdown as an opportunity to take him out herself and downstairs to the flower shop below where she purchases the flowers and show him off a little.  It warms my heart to see my friends here, these friends that I may not always be able to communicate properly to, but they always show how much loving kindness they have in their hearts for not only me, but my own.  Once they were done their little stroll, KP was then perfectly content to play with his cars and a new toy one of my fellow students had brought for him.  I was able to complete my arrangement in no time, even while keeping a keen eye on the whereabouts of my busy, little man.

Takenouchi-sensei just has that magic touch.  She liked what I did, but with a few tiny adjustments and she seemed to bring the whole thing completely alive, as if you happened upon it on a walk by a quiet lake.  This is exactly what the Kozan school is about and it is no wonder she is a master of it.  She does this with everyone's work, even when I think they are so amazingly accomplished that they couldn't possibly be improved upon.  I have learned so very much from her.
Once class wrapped up, we gathered our wrapped flowers to recreate our work at home and then headed over to Kamakura Pasta.  I've been there only once before, long before there was a KP, and I do love it.  What I didn't know was that it had a glass room on the far end filled with toys so that adults can eat and kids can play.  Just another way that my friends and classmates are so thoughtful, to chose a restaurant like thoroughly with the two of us in mind. 

Ahead of time, I had prepared a little speech in the best Japanese I could muster.  It may not have been perfect, but I know that each and every one of my friends understood.  The tears (mine, but they quickly joined in) came in only my second sentence, but I continued so that they would know how much I value what they have taught me, not just about flowers, but about bonding with those from an entirely different culture, who speak an entirely different language.  It has been one of the most wonderful experiences in my time here.  It wasn't just about the art form, as it was when I first started studying.  In the end, it is much more about the value of true and treasured friendship.  I am thoroughly grateful for every moment I spent with them.


Amy said...

I'm sure it's going to be hard for you guys to leave Japan! You've created such wonderful memories there. :) We are certainly looking forward to having you guys back in the US!

Kimono Karen said...

Tremendously hard!!! But we are looking forward to being with old friends again!