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A combination of nature and humanity: Ikebana.
Ikebana in Japanese refers to the arrangement of flowers and it is an important element of the Japanese tradition.
The Japan House on the University of Illinois campus is known for holding events in hoping to bring the Japanese culture to the community. The events include the tea ceremony, Calligraphy workshop, Girl’s Day celebration, etc. One of these events is the practice of Ikebana, the art of arranging flowers has been practiced for more than 600 years. Once in a month, people would come in to participate in the Ikebana workshop.
Jeanne Holy, the workshop organizer, is always the first one to arrive at the Japan House to set up for the workshop. She says her love for flowers got her into doing Ikebana. During her career at an art gallery, she got to know Kimiko Gunji, her Ikebana instructor, because Gunji was there exhibiting her Ikebana photography and performing Ikebana and tea ceremony.
Kimiko Gunji is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. When asked about her motivation in teaching Ikebana after her retirement, she says teaching is learning and she gets to learn a lot and associate with students which is a highlight for her.
Now let’s get to the practice of Shoka Nishuike which is a type of Ikebana. First, you want to decide what’s for your Shin. Shin is about 2.5-3.5 times the height of the vase and it should be placed in the center. Second, you decide on your Soe that is about 2/3 the height of the Shin and it should be placed behind the shin. Third, the Tai is about 1/3 of the Shin. Tai is placed infront of the Shin and moves the opposite direction to the soe. The last but not least, you place the flowering material in the very front.
The overall filming experience was a lot of fun. Different from the previous assignments, I used two cameras at the workshop. One specifically for shooting videos which I always put it on the tripod and another one for taking photos. I find it cool and professional to be able to use both cameras throughout the Ikebana workshop. After sharing the fun part about the experience, the bad part is yet to come. When I was in the moment of interviewing Jeanne Holy and Kimiko Gunji, you can hear the noise in the background because the participants have arrived. I didn’t want to interrupt the interview so I ended up not moving to another place and getting interview videos that have pretty loud noise in the background. I should have taken that into consideration and find a quiet place in the first place. Another thing that I would also like to mention is the challenge that I face while interviewing Nicole Faurant, a participants from France. She has a strong French accent which I love beause I also speak French but the thing is that the audience might have trouble knowing what she is actaully saying. Therefore, I decide to put subtitles on the video.
Click me, Click me, see my script here