Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Shopping for Flowers

Flower seller, Kiyonobu
Kobori Sojitsu is the present Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School. He is the 13th in a long line of grand masters and inherited the responsibility for the tea ceremony tradition from his father. I found this charming little story in his column "Leaves from a Tea-Journal" on the Enshu Sado website. It's about a son's experience of going shopping for flowers with his father, the respected grand master of a tea school:

I would go to a flower shop with my father and listen to conversation between its shop owner and my father. It is only once in a year when my father went to the flower shop all the way. I remember very well that shop staffs to welcome us were so nervous along with courteous attention, much more the owner who had to directly conversation with him. 
In terms of shopping for the first-three days of the New Year, there is one unforgettable thing about my father: He has never misspent money. It seems to be easy to execute but actually it’s not. For one thing, when he looked at flowers, he observed and assessed what these flowers could be in upcoming 3 or 4 days and finally bought them. Since they were always right, his predictions impressed me a lot back in those days.

To me this little story has a special atmosphere of the old world about it. I don't know much about Japanese flower shops, but I can almost see the son and the shop staff following the examination and conversation leading to the decision on what flowers will be perfect for the respective day of the upcoming new years celebration.

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