Flower arrangement (Ikebana), as with most everything in Japan it seems, is a disciplined art form. And like so many art forms here its roots (no pun intended) can be traced back hundreds of years to a buddhist priest. In Kyoto, of course.
FTD this is not. Stuffing a vase full of posies is not ikebana. In fact, there are actually very few flowers in ikebana. There are plenty of branches and twigs and stems and leaves and roots, but flowers…no. Styles have changed and evolved over the centuries and different schools have come into and fallen out of fashion, but what defines ikebana really is elegant minimalist compositions.
I was given a ticket by Ito-san to an ikebana exhibition at the Takashimaya department store. To be honest, I had no idea it was a floral design exhibition. I don't remember her explaining anything. She simply gave me the ticket and told me it was at Takashimaya. So I went. And I was rather impressed. I've never seen anything like it. (I've said that a lot since I arrived in Kyoto, haven't I?)
My list of things I'd like to learn more about seems to grow every week I'm here. I can add ikebana to that list.