Friday, November 13, 2009


Right now, there are three flower arrangements in my house. A few days ago, there were five.

I'm pretty good at recycling plants and re-vasing whatever is still good from last week's ikebana class.

Ikebana is the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement. I've learned since coming here that it's one of those refinements that makes a woman a good wife, and it's part of keeping house. What it means for me is, there are always a lot of fresh flowers at the grocery stores, and they are usually pretty cheap. Also, it means I get to take flower arranging class, and always have plant life in my house, while simultaneously fulfilling my need to participate in a cultural (and even community) activity.

The first kind of arrangement I learned was moribana, a very traditional setup with three levels and a sort of triangular aesthetic.

I chose this flower set the first time because of the yellow flowers' resemblance to the flowers I used to pick in Kansas.


My second go was also in muted colors, so I was having flower envy for the bright yellows and pinks other people got to use.. and also the sweet smells of lilies. But, I was sure that I too would eventually have a go at the big leagues. (That's mine in the back)

The woman here is doing a freestyle.

The following week...

Now, ikebana, like all things beautiful, must begin with a bed of rusty nails.

What, you think I'm kidding?


How else did you think the flowers stayed where you put them?

Then you put in your three principle points...

And viola!

October 23rd was my first time to try "freestyle"! Our ikebana sensei called it "Freestlye Halloween." Heck yeah.

Trick or treat!

In a traditional house, moribana can be placed pretty much anywhere. But freestyle isn't supposed to go on the tokonoma, or the traditional display alcove. It can, however, go in the front entrance of a house.

My apartment does not have a tokonoma, or for that matter, a proper "entrance," so my flowers just go on the table, always.

My birthday, I got to do a fancier little freestyle that I really liked.

I even ended up putting it in as a display in the cultural art show that happened in my Big Elementary school. When I was there, I saw some of my kids with their parents. Mine was the only name not in kanji.
This vase? Does not travel well.

There were some other sweet ikebana pieces in the art show. I really liked the 'scene' type best.

Finally, what I have now is a new kind which I am still kind of trying to understand. This type is supposed to be viewed from the front, like this:

But I actually have it on my table kind of facing sideways at an angle (so it'll fit better).. and I kind of like looking at it from here a bit better.

I've still got leftover flowers here and there all over, in little vases. One is a dry vase because on set of the flowers are crispy, and have been since I first used them.

I like having flowers in my house. The end!

Update: a spider seems to have taken up residence in the top 'branches' of this ikebana sometime in the last couple of hours. Am I weird for thinking that is really cool?


  1. having flowers in your house is very European as well..... it is in your blood

  2. Now, ikebana, like all things beautiful, must begin with a tetanus shot.

    It's cool that you are learning this stuff.