This week of our travels began in Tokyo and finished in Okinawa, following our four days on the Nakasendo. We were in time for the last good week of the Cherry Blossom Season.

This photo shows a section of an extensive avenue of beautiful old trees in the Yanaka Cemetery above the Nippori station on the Yamanote line. Laurie and I had stayed in a Ryokan near the station on my first visit to Japan in 1992.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to catch up with Yukiko, the daughter of one of Laurie's students in his 1978 English class, and to meet her four-month-old son Riku.

I got the chance to do some 'baby wrangling'.

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On Tuesday we flew to Okinawa for the 11th Ikebana International World Convention which ran from Wednesday to Saturday.

While out walking I was fascinated by the large number of tetrapods and this example of what looks like a 'guerilla' art attack. 

The conference provided an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones as well.

I was pleased to meet a passionate orchid grower, ikebanist and fellow blogger Lyn. Her blog is called Orchids and Ikebana.

Lyn is a member of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana and a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of Ikebana International. Above is her arrangement in the conference exhibition. She has used alium, monstera leaves, statice and a peony. 

There were demonstrations by ordinary members of Ikebana International as well as the Iemotos, head-masters, of seven of the schools. Each school has its own characteristic style. 

This is the final grand work of the Iemoto of  the Ohara School.

Above is the work of the Ichiyo School.

And this was the final work of the Headmaster of the Sogetsu School, Ms Akane Teshigahara.

The last village we visited when we were traveling along the Nakasendo was called Narai. This area is a centre for lacquer-ware and I was able to buy an interesting vase. It was made from lacquer-covered linen over a pulp base. I was able to use the vase in the member's exhibition at the convention.

These were my materials, a smallish philodendron leaf and some red alstroemeria flowers. 

I began by doing the work of a caterpillar... 

...removing the fleshy part of the leaf so that only the stem and ribs remained. I then drew the ends into a knot making a 'cage'. 

The finished arrangement had three stems of alstroemeria flowers partially contained within the 'cage'. The vase is placed at a slight angle and the space at the mouth of the vase and within the arrangement is clear. I would have like the arrangement to be slightly lower; however, I wanted to have only two lines arising from the mouth of the vase.

Greetings from Christopher in Okinawa
16th April 2017

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