Photo Gallery From Japan: Matt Reel, Tyler Sherrod, Kokufu, Trees…

As this is a photo album with a strong streak of randomness, I’ll say little here and more in the captions under the images… Enjoy!

A couple hours before the Kokufu show opened on February 4th, I wandered around the neighborhood of Asakusa and found this odd little shrine. The stuffed dolls in front of it were particularly arresting.

Inside the Green Club sales area of the Kokufu show, intricate stands. One year I was helping set up (must have been 2005 or 6) and just when we finished a tremor hit. We all grabbed stands or whatever our hands closed around. When it stopped we all looked at one another with big eyes. I can't look at stacked stands and trees like this without thinking of that day.

A Chojubai quince being reworked in a big box at Suzuki's. This tree was about a meter wide.

Matt Reel working on an Ezo spruce in the new studio.

Matt and Tyler at Tommy's---the preferred hangout of eclectic locals. They fit in perfectly!

An incredibly good smaller Chojubai, also at Suzuki's. This could get in the Kokufu show. The density of the branching, age, and the compactness of the tree is rare.

Matt in front of the opened truck that brought back the trees from the Kokufu show. Incredible vehicle, the whole side of the thing lifted up on hydraulics. Each tree has its own stand, and is tied to it. All of them were blocked in so nothing could shift around. The Shishigashira maple in the middle won a Kokufu prize. The Stewartia you might recognize from my book, and this was it's first time in the Kokufu. Matt is 6'2", and that Stewartia is behind him. It's huge! This shot of the returning trees does show the variety of trees that Suzuki enjoys working with---a broad spectrum of conifer and deciduous.

Matt using the swift method of flower cleanup... by vacuum. We'd just finished pulling all the flowers off this Ume that was in the show. Leaving them on would have weakened the tree even more---being in the show was stressful enough.

Many kinds of trees had flowers that were in the Kokufu... all were removed following the show.

The goofiness that a long night can bring... I lost those glasses a week later. Still can't find them. My last memory of them...sigh.

Tyler Sherrod concreting a tree... this was an unusual operation of filling in a very large and long cavity in a Camellia. It was very close in color to the bark, and looked great. Like Matt, Tyler is also 6'2". This crop of apprentices is massive. Matt and Tyler claim they've frightened small children just walking down the street shoulder to shoulder, a solid moving wall of bearded guys. Terrifying!

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  1. Scott Tice says:

    Thanks for sharing Mike!

  2. Heiko says:

    Thanks for sharing this pictures from japan. The big Chojubai is very impressiv and the little shrine is something special.

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