I began studying Ikebana in Japan while living in Tokyo. I was always fascinated by the arrangements I saw on display around the city. They were purposeful expressions of the season, but they were effortless and soaring. When a Japanese friend offered to introduce me to her Ikebana sensei, I jumped at the chance.
Each week, I would ride the bus into the suburbs north of Nakano to my sensei’s house. Her name was Tsubaki, which means “camellia.” Over the next few years, she patiently helped me to explore the different styles of the Ohara School of Ikebana. She spoke no English, but her careful, slow explanations and demonstrations helped me to understand the art. My Japanese gradually got better, and my love for the art form grew. At the conclusion of my time in Japan, I had earned three levels of certification from the Ohara School. I currently hold the しはんか いっき しゅうりょう, Advanced Level Certification.
When I moved to Austin from Japan, I soon understood that the soul of this city is based in its natural surroundings. Far from being relegated to only parks and city edges, the natural world winds its way through Austin’s city center and businesses. It’s a perfect place for this art form to be appreciated, and I feel honored to offer it here.