|LIFE IN JAPAN
Flower design teacher /
Time in Japan:
I have always been lured by the scent and beauty of a fresh flower. My life would
not be complete without these gifts of nature. I studied horticulture and flower
arrangement in Switzerland and graduated from a three-year apprenticeship at a flower shop
where I learned technique and developed my skills.
Then I went to New York to learn English and worked as an au-pair for a year. The
second year, I worked at a flower shop in New York City, but I didn' like the way flowers
were handled, like objects rather than a living example of nature?s treasures. I decided
to leave the States and travel, uncertain about where I wanted to end up.
My travels eventually led me to Japan, where I had only intended to stay for a few
months to earn some money. A friend whom I had met in Indonesia invited me to stay at her
aunt's home. To my surprise, the host was Mami Kawasaki, founder of the Mami Flower Design
School and renowned among floral arrangement connoisseurs. Meeting this delightful woman
was a turning point in my life and led to a job where I could do what I really wanted to
The Mami Flower Design School, founded in 1962, was the first flower design school of
its kind in Japan, and has been very successful, with thousands of schools throughout
Japan and Asia. Lessons are based on solid techniques and a high level of knowledge, but
first students are taught the unwavering philosophy that the subjects are not merely
objects, but living things to be respected and presented in a natural way.
At Mami's school, we are always searching for new ideas, for the world of flower design
has no limits. I work mainly in the research room where my job is coming up with new
ideas, new arrangements, developing fresh ways to present the flower without losing the
element of nature. Twice a month, I teach these new approaches to the flower design
teachers who then teach the students. I love my work because it?s more like a hobby than
After six years, I have realized that Japan is the only place where I can do what I
really want to be doing. Flower design is highly respected and appreciated in this
culture, and I have found people who share my passion for flowers.
Eve spoke with Anne Bouyssounouse.
Mami Flower Design School will host an exhibition of the works of 400 teachers until
June 9 in Ginza. For more information, call Mami Art Media 3778-9543.
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