Matt Reel finishes 7 years and 9 months…

…apprenticing with Shinji Suzuki! Are hats are off to you, Matt, this is a huge week for you!

If any of you remember the ridiculous, stressful stories from my book Post-Dated about the life of the apprentice, well, how anyone could have done that for nearly 8 years is simply ASTONISHING to me, and it makes me smile, too. I hope those stories might give you some sense of how momentous an event this is for Matt.

Matt joined us briefly at the last March Seasonal, and here are a few photos of his visit:


In total surprise, Matt Reel called me this week from a taxi in Japan, asking if I’d be around the next day. I was, and so were my Seasonal students, so in his first day in the United States as a free man did some bonsai work—after just finishing his 7 years and 9 months apprenticeship with Shinji Suzuki. We fed him well in celebration, and then he repotted his yew with the Seasonal class. Congratulations Matt! Your apprenticeship is a high water mark of dedication and passion that might never be reached again. WELCOME HOME!


Matt’s yew that has been missing him desperately, and that he finally got around to repotting this week.


Looking forward to having you around in your hometown of Portland, Oregon, Matt. Again, welcome home!


  1. George Haas says:

    Congratulations! Job well done. And, welcome home.

  2. chis says:

    Congrats Matt! Good to have you back home for a while!

  3. Peter Chapman says:

    Welcome home, Matt! Congratulations!

  4. Hi Matt
    Brian from Qualicum here. Congrats big for your accomplishment . You should find your way up to Victoria in the fall with Michael . I am in 3 of Michael’s workshops so you can buy me a beer. You should see the tree I am on. If I can I will send a pic to you guys

  5. chase says:

    Matt, I have not had the pleasure of meeting you, Congratulations. I am still a student of Bonsai and still learning. Its now spring in the east, too much to do in little time. If your east the door is always open, would be a pleaure to meet you.

  6. Steve says:

    Congratulations Matt!, your commitment is very inspiring, it gives perspective on my own commitment to bonsai, at times I’ve been as committed as a dog eating peas. In redneckeze I need to get off my butt and get busy! I hope to meet you someday, and hopefully I’ll get out to another of Michaels classes soon.

  7. martin burke says:

    Matt Reel, Hi, I’m a member of the Bonsai Club in Cleveland , Ohio. I have just subscribed to your newsletter. Your name came up last week at our member meeting. David Knittle was our speaker. But, also, my son, Matt Burke, and his wife, Satomi Jin, live in Portland. I’ll be visiting them April 15th thru April 22nd In Portland. If at all possible, I would like to visit your studio. best regards, Marty Burke

    Cell: 216-973-4774

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