|LIFE IN JAPAN
Time in Japan:
What brought you here?
I followed my dream to become the first non-Japanese student of Japan' most famous bonsai
What were your first impression about Japan?
I came here for the first time when I was 17. I looked out of the plane's window when we
landed at Narita and noticed that there were so many swimming pools. I thought that was
strange because I'd never heard about this. But, when I took my first trip on the
Shinkansen, I realized that they were not swimming pools, but the blue colored roof tops
of country houses.
How did you get involved with bonsai?
I studied art and design in high school and university. My passion started when I saw Karate
Kid 3. There was a scene where Miyagi Sensei explained that the sense of life is
expressed through a beautiful bonsai. I still do not know the reason why, but at that
moment, I understood that the art of bonsai was the right one for me and my life. I
immediately decided to dedicate all my free time to little trees, studying with an Italian
teacher and after that, I worked for bonsai shops in Europe.
What attracts you most to bonsai?
The art is special because it consists of four dimensions. We use the three dimensions of
a sculpture, but we also integrate the time the trees are alive and in every season there
is something which changes on them. Bonsai is a never ending art, you cannot say that it
ever finishes. The bonsai grows and changes and you with it. The trees, in a forest or in
a pot, do not speak, but they can tell so many things about the whole world of nature and
human beings. Bonsai need constancy and a lot of caring so it is like a mirror of your
soul. If you are in good balance, the bonsai will grow, following your humor, if you are
too busy with your own engagements, it will reflect on your bonsai, because its health
will soon worsen. For all these reasons, my own nursery is called "Ever Bonsai".
What do you try to express through your work?
A tree which you can hold in your hand can light your imagination. It can remind you of
the big tree which was the castle of your childhood games, or the tree in which you carved
the name of your first love. I spend a lot of time traveling around the world looking for
the strangest trees and ones with particular shapes. I have a special interest for the
kind of trees that grow in a place where the conditions of the weather are very hard as on
top of a mountain or an ocean cliff. I use many special techniques to create a bonsai, to
express my personal interpretation of the shapes of nature. With bonsai you are the little
one, standing in front of the tree with your fantasy imagining the environment where it
grew and its story. My relationship with nature is not based on what I see, but how I see
nature. So my relationship is not really visual, rather more expressive. Bonsai is a key
that can open a new world in and around you, because you will see nature from a new point
of view. This view transmits a special feeling about nature, and that is very important
for all people who live in a big city like Tokyo.
What do you most like about Japan?
I enjoy the colors of nature in the fall. Also, I like the old temples and private houses
made of wood and bamboo. I come from the civilization of stone, and here, we are in the
civilization of wood, everything made from wood seems alive, and when the wood is old the
grains breathe beautiful texture.
What would you like to change in Japan?
The cost of fruits. In Japan, I can only afford one apple a day. Some weeks ago I saw a
quarter of melon that cost as much as a dinner for four.
Marco Invernizzi to Maki Nibayashi.
Do you know someone who
has an interesting life in Japan? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org