In a tea ceremoney house at Syukkei-en garden in Hiroshima
My interest in foreign cultures has led me to travel to many countries, either to work or for pleasure. Meeting different people awoke in me a strong sense of pride in my culture and a desire to spread the aesthetics of Japanese culture to people from other cultures. It came to me that Ikebana would be the perfect medium to do this, as well as English to communicate, taking advantages where I am from. This desire let me go through a very intensive training of Ikebana. At that time, I was having a difficult time; my father had suffered a stroke, which had turned our lives upside down. It was only a few days earlier that my father had taken us orange picking. It was hard to accept how my father changed in a moment and the hectic days that were to follow, with work, hospital visits, and physical and emotional support of my mother. But (or because of it), I got into the spiritual practice in this art….healed by finding the best aspect of plants and seeing them in a good harmony. My tired body and heart greatly valued this quiet time.
My name is Ayuko Kouke. Shinonome is my Ikebana instructor’s name and it’s written 東雲 in Chinese characters, literally “clouds of the East”. But the meaning of shinonome in Japanese is the dawn (we have 3 words to describe it, and “shinonome” is when the sun rises from the darkness to light, not before and after that). I wanted the heart of Japanese aesthetics to prevail as the sun lights up the sky. Also, I am from Japan, the Far East, the land of the rising sun.
I will pay a continuous effort to introduce Japanese cultural traditions and literature with aesthetic insight to people in the world through my lessons as my duty of my life.
Ikebana lesson with Japanese aesthetics in Hiroshima, Japan