Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Autumn In Kyoto

This morning a few of us visited a large flea market at the Toji Temple, which is near our hotel in Kyoto. We arrived early to avoid crowds, but were met with hoards of people including many foreigners looking and buying. Near the main entrance there was a large area with vendors selling flowers, plants, dried fruit and even bonsai.







It appeared as though anything you wanted could be found here, antiques, clothing (new and old), jeans, car license plates from Washington state, snacks, old books, antique scrolls and inserts, dishes, light bulbs, cutlery, tools, bonsai tables, stones and even pins! Lots of good stuff and we left fully loaded with goodies. We did not visit the snack shops….





Today was the set up and judging for the 34th Japan Taikan Bonsai Exhibition one of the main Japanese exhibitions . Earlier…

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The “Roaring Dragon” of Shokoku-ji Temple (Kyoto, Japan)

I wrote this several years ago and just found it in the archives of my blog. I wanted to share it with you again.

Ledia Runnels' "Mysterious Orient"

Kyoto imperial palace garden in Kyoto, Japan

You enter the temple. An eerie quiet surrounds the few pilgrims, besides you, inside the hall of the inner sanctum. Yet it feels as if someone or something is watching from above. Your gaze travels toward the ceiling where a giant dragon is coiled in painted wood above your head. While you stand transfixed, yours and the creature’s eyes lock.

Then the unthinkable occurs. Someone claps their hands disturbing the peace of the sanctified place. Before righteous indignation registers, an amazing thing takes place. The dragon, in all its Imperial majesty, roars.

You cannot believe it. A trick of imagination and the awesome surroundings must have caused the breathtaking phenomena. Yet, another clap summons the dragon once again and you smile.

“So this is what calls the creature to wake.”

You hear someone whisper that the sound is a reverberating echo traveling between the parallel planes of the floor and…

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Mirth and Motivation

“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” Confucius

Wishing You 歲歲平安 Suìsuì-píng’ān – everylasting peace, year after year!

2013 is the Year of the Snake; the Black Water Snake. “Water Snakes are lucky with finances, they always seem to have money flowing their way. They are adventurous spirits and love to take risks. They are also very intelligent and often a wellspring of creative ideas. Water Snakes love to socialize and meet new friends.They are proud of their achievements, and also very thoughtful and considerate of others.
The colour of the 2013 year of Snake is Black. Black color is the Space, Arctic night, darkness on the Abyss, this is a color of deep waters. The Black Snake will bring people unexpected changes, instability, and changeability. That is…

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 22,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.



These ceramic Tanukis (Racoon Dogs), often seen outside Japanese cafes and bars thanks to some odd word association, are probably the most recognised images of these creatures.

Don’t worry I’ll explain the word association later!

However, in Japan there is a rich folklaw tradition built up around the image of the Tanuki which means he pops up in some unusual places and surprising contexts.

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