Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Self-assertive bonsais


  Self-assertive bonsais


A middle-aged American woman moved to the next door. She loves to take care of her giant bonsais in the shape of a cube, heart, etc. I’d almost say that's her reason for living. I can’t help thinking that unlike Japanese bonsais, her bonsais are self-assertive, just like her.

Speaking of bonsai, it reminds me of a movie that I watched seventeen years ago when I was a foreign student here: “Edward Scissorhands” (Director: Tim Burton; Starring: Johnny Depp). It's a romantic fantasy in which an android, whose hands are scissors, falls in love with a beautiful human girl. I liked the scene where Edward was trimming bonsais with his hands (= scissors) to shape them into animals and the like. I’ve realized that such topiary figures are common in real world….

My neighbor’s huge bonsais are visible from outside as well. They’re so huge that they’re sticking out of the fence. I can’t say they’re beautiful. They dominate the place and are almost scary. “Aren't they beautiful? I want to know what you think about my bonsais because you're from Japan where bonsais are popular." She asked for my comment, then went on and on. Well, I’d say, it’s not about a sense of beauty…it’s probably about our fundamental differences in the sense of coexistence of nature and humans. Japanese would not use bonsai as a form of "modern art”….

I’m now thinking of giving her something about Japan as a Christmas gift. What about a book in English that explains the Japanese "Wabi" (austere beauty) and "Sabi” (quiet simplicity)" styles that Japanese apply to enjoy the changes of the seasons and their elegance? I don’t think giant bonsais—for example, the panda and flamingo bonsais found in the San Diego Zoo—can create a soothing garden. Are Japanese the only people who feel something wrong with such huge bonsais?


(You’re Number One)