In today’s post, we visit the wonderful and well provisioned big-box-bonsai-store that is Seiji Morimae’s S-Cube(pun definitely intended and apologized for), then we visit the well-known-in-the-West mecca of Shohin and pottery, Yorozuen, where my friend Toriumi Atsuishi meets us with a surprise.
S-Cube, the garden and sales area of Seiji Morimae, is truly an incredible place. From Stones, to pots both inexpensive and antique, small and immense, to trees of every size and quality level, Morimae San has something for everyone. He’s truly an erudite and interesting fellow, to boot, and well worth your taking the time for a chat. Absent that, pick up his book “A Dialogue with Bonsai”, it’s an interesting read about the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual side of bonsai, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Morimae San takes the time to explain the ceremonial tea house and it’s origins, and the position and design of the gardens according to energy flow and feng shui. Really cool stuff. Note the path leading to the door of the tea house, the Kurama stone “boat” sailing across the “sea”, and the incrediblly old pillars holding the bonsai.
A very cool and old stone piece. Note the sun and the moon inset in the pool at differing levels, and the same symbols repeated on the path stone.
Inside, a famous bonsai that died is given honor and place of respect.
My good buddy Matt Ouwinga poses with two massive Kaede.
Incredible and Massive Kaede.
Incredible and massive Kaede number 2. I measured, but this wouldn’t fit in my suitcase. ;-p
In the receiving room, a tokonoma display of cascading willow, scroll, and accent conveys a much needed cooling impression.
Some large and impressive Goyomatsu.
A really lovely slanting Momiji.
Momiji in what appears to be a Shukuho pot.
Elegant composition of Kaede with a lovely green oval tray.
An impressive and unpublished Shimpaku. While most bonsai are very inexpensive compared to America, this is what upper range 5 figures buys in Japan.
A Fantastic Shimpaku with great looking deadwood.
A really impressive semi cascade Tosho. Drool….
Awesome GoyoMatsu in the Front garden.
Chojubai! It’s tough to understand why some guys swear by them until you see them in person! Look at that bark! Drool…again….
Karin in a Canton style blue, and the trunk of a raw white pine with supa bad Sabamiki and Uro.
Interesting and well refined Kan-Gumi(Eleagnus)
Massive based trident maple. This is the back.
An interesting root over rock hornbeam.
Elegant multi-trunk clump style shishigashira.
Root over rock Kaede in a fantastic yellow bag pot showing some excellent patina. If you’re ever in Japan, take lots of pictures. Everything is so mind numbingly impressive that, often, you don’t even notice details like this pot until you look at your own photos later!
Great looking Momiji in development. I’m referring to the rear tree, but the front one is nice too…pretty sure I meant to photograph the back one though.
Impressive hinoki forest planting. Note the placard.
Another nice looking root over rock Kaede.
Really nice. Not 100% on the species, so I’ll leave it a mystery. Styrax?
Elegant and massively based Momiji. I love the unique cascading branch.
Tall and elegant Momiji. It’s impressive to note that I didn’t really see any Japanese maples that DIDNT have wonderful bases!
Triple trunk Momiji, with a more palatable nebari to those westerners who hate on the pancake.
Kaede group on stone.
Big and nice Sanzashi(hawthorn) showing some fruit.
Big black pine showing some nice bark.
Black pine root over rock. Very nice, but I personally feel the crown is too big.
Old GoyoMatsu in the sinuous root, raft, or Netsuranari style.
Big boy black pine with the contemporary helmet crown. I’d like to see it opened up a bit to see the trunk.
Interesting double trunk pine.
A long line o’ pine.
White pine with interesting sabamiki.
A truly modern composition. You don’t see much like this. Non traditional and modern, yet still with a very Japanese feel.
It was tough to get a good angle on this tree, but I thought the ten-jin was interesting.
Tall elegance in a multitrunk maple.
Slanting triple trunk white pine.
Mimosa! Damn weeds here in the American south. While I didn’t see any true specimens of the species, it must be possible if the Japanese are taking the time t’all. Get out there and get native Southerners!
Cascade maple chuhin.
Literati hop hornbeam.
Another thin trunked Bunjin Japanese Hornbeam.
Momiji…look at all them chicken foots…
Big Kaede with a nice base and slow taper. Love this….
Rhus. I love these. As a species, they’re the antithesis of “sumo” style.
Princess persimmon with immature fruit and significant deadwood….the file isn’t large enough to read the tag. For the most part, I made sure of that, because I’m not here to depress you. This one time though…it’s 18,000¥. $180….
Chojubai shohin! I only have one nice one of this species, I wish I had a dozen more.
Big pine. Probably yamadori, very long needle variety.
More Bunjin-ji pine stock.
The Mark Section
I promised P.B. Mark I’d try and snap some hinoki pics when I could. Here are a few that were at S-Cube, man. Don’t say I never did nothing for you, and keep me in mind next time I’m wanting some stock. 😉
And we’ll finish up this look at S-Cube with this simple but nice looking Squirrels foot fern. I thought I was doing something wrong, because mine wouldn’t develop the characteristic “feet”. I thought maybe it just took a long time. Informed at this shot that it happens quite quickly….wonder what kind of ferns I bought that we’re labelled “Squirrels foot”?
We’ll be back to visit S-Cube in the pottery post, for now, we’re back to Saitama and
I’m sure you’re all familiar with “The Yo” by now. Fukano San and Yorozuen have a significant western presence on eBay and Facebook, as do several of the Deshi(former and current) like Aya Tsuzuki and Toriumi Atsuishi. For those of you not familiar with Yorozuen, they’re one of the top nurseries in Japan specializing in shohin. I won’t say how high they rank, but it’s certainly in the top third of the best 3 or so. 😉
When we arrived at Yorozuen, my friend Toriumi San had a surprise waiting for us. I knew he had some associates at “Bonsai Sekai” magazine, and has written articles for them in the past(see
Bonsai Sekai Articles
For more on this. It seems he’d brought a journalist from the magazine to interview us and document our tour. Cool stuff, thanks Toriumi! I look forward to the article, but not really seeing myself in it. I suffered a serious eye injury last year(nothing fun about eye pain and cornea scarring, and detached retinas, I can tell you that!) and every now and again, when it gets irritated, it’s horrifyingly painful and nothing pretty to look at, either. I’ll be the guy in the group photos in Bonsai Sekai wiping away tears from a blood red eyeball! Click:
And See? I’m the dude in the blue dickies shirt who looks like he’s in pain, with the squinty left eye(it’s actually MY right). Just my luck, a magazine article with photos on the one day in 3 months that my eye kicks me in the nuts. Anyway, Moving on… here are some trees.
I didnt space the pictures so you get the idea that It’s just seas and seas and seas of top shelf Shohin and Chuhin bonsai at Yorozuen. Then you go upstairs, and discover great lakes of more incredible trees. Bear in mind that I’m in a great deal of pain here, and cannot see. So, well, you’re welcome. 😉
Ball-achingly-badass Chuhin Ume.
A very impressive Taiwanese Boxwood. Man, we need some of these thick ridging bark varieties here. They’re so much better than the landscape varieties typically seen as bonsai in the States. There are couple of leaf varieties I’ve seen in Japan as well, one with leaves that are very thin and narrow, proportionate and similar to F.Nerifolia.
Hornbeam in a well-patinated bag pot.
Shishigashira shohin like these turn me into Homer Simpson “Mmmmmm…..Maple…”
Kifu Bunjin Akamatsu
Osteomeles. These used to annoy me, but they’ve grown on me, and now I love them. I only have two nice ones, it’d be nice to see more stock being produced in the US; they produce attractive fruit and have cool pinnate leaves unlike any of the other species coming out of Florida and the subtropical US. It’s an 8 or higher species. Get to it people!(and while you’re at it, start some wild Kumquat seed).
Tall and elegant Iwashide. Virtually Scarless. Gorgeous.
Sekka Hinoki in a fascinatingly odd pot choice.
Chojubai with a very rare basal flare. Drool…
Larger Chuhin Ume
Mark, perhaps some of your grafting projects should target this type of thing….Chuhin Hinoki showing some really nice refinement and a massive trunk.
A shishigashira in development….thats a lot of root grafts.
Yet another Lions mane maple. I Never tire of these.
A crepe myrtle so ramified, I can’t tell what’s going on underneath. Let’s have a closer look:
Front and back. Drool….Homer like Crepe….
White pine ishizuke, and a sea of shohin pines to the rear.
Nice Nioi Kaede(stinky maple, Premna Japonica). Love this species.
Crepe Myrtle. I refuse to hide my affection for these southern staples.
If you couldn’t tell from the overview pictures, there was so, so much more at Yorozuen worth a picture. In fact, there was an entire other nursery, the Yorozuen Annex, with near as many trees, most in development; unfortunately, between being half blind and drop dead tired, this was all I could manage. Except for the pot photos, of course. I managed those just fine.
We’ll look at them in the next post:
In addition to all the other containers we viewed, and the ones we brought home 🙂
Fukano San is well acquainted with our tastes. We’d barely sat before Several boxes of Tofukuji were brought in from the back. Here, Matt Ouwinga unwraps a world class specimen. Well over hundred Tofukuji in the boxes visible to the left. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.