An Apprenticeship in Japan

Mitsuya and Yochan at work
Mitsuyasan, my sensei (teacher), works on a cryptomeria.
Yochan, my senpai (senior colleague), trims a needle juniper.

From May 1993 through June 1994, I lived in Japan as a bonsai apprentice.

I was the third American to study with Yasuo Mitsuya, the bonsai master and owner of Tokai-en, a bonsai nursery located in Toyohashi – midway between Tokyo and Kyoto, just off the old Tokaido road.

Hideko Metaxas, past president of the Golden State Bonsai Federation, conceived the idea of the organization sponsoring students who would study with a Japanese bonsai master and then share their knowledge with member clubs in California. Now, online, I can continue to impart the skills I gained and the experiences I cherished.

Tokai-en bonsai nursery
Mitsuyasan's Tokai-en nursery contains over 100 magnificent bonsai –
some owned by Mitsuyasan, others owned by clients
and kept here for maintenance or show-entry preparation.