We tried to get in touch with some of our friends from the Bonsai community in Japan, after the great disaster of March 2011. An overview of some of the replies;
Latest news I received from several Bonsai nurseries / friends in Japan:
1. Valentin (Shunka-en trainee): the nursery is undamaged, some pots and trees were damaged
2. Jack (Syunsyouen): all is well
3. Yoshi (JBonsai): only minor damage
4. Seiichiro (Shikoku Shimbun): all is well
5. Masashi Nishimura (Kaneshin cutlery): all is well
6. Toriumi (Bonsai Toriumi, in Saitama): big shock, but all is well
7. Taisho-En nursery from Master Urushibata is also ok. big shock, minor damage.
8. Isao Omachi and his family is fine, but he lost all (house, garden, farm, bonsais, etc.)
9. Hisashi (Kikuwa): all is well, no friends harmed
10. Tomohiro Masumi (Kojuen): no damage to his Kyoto based nursery
My friends Mr. Tsukada and Mr. Kawabe (who both are between Tokyo and Sendai area) are doing OK, though power, water shortages occurred as well as some damage.
My teacher Mr Urushibata in Shizuoka had strong 6.4 earthquake the other day but everyone there OK since center of quake was closer to Fuji.
Update from Marco Invernizzi on the relief fund for Isao Omachi, who was hit severely in the disaster:
Isao Omachi is the rising star of Bonsai in Japan. He used to live and work in Yamada-cho in the Iwate prefecture with his wife, 2 daughters and his parents. The recent tsunami didn't take their lives but EVERYTHING ELSE they own.
They lost EVERYTHING including one of the most amazing bonsai collections in Japan. They need our help. They need it now!
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My sympathies to all the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
If you have news from Omiya Bonsai village nurseries or the museum I would appreciate it. I can only hope there has not been too much damage to the lovely trees I admired only six months ago.
Dale, nq (australia)
I was lucky enough to visit all the nurseries as well as the museum. My non plant loving husband Ste actually enjoyed the museum, especially the slide show on the art and practicalities of bonsai: he actually commented that he could now see why I am hooked.
I also visited the national collection in Showa park (barely recognisable by Ste as the site of a former US airbase, from his gap year forty years ago) and the small collections in various gardens. The highlight was the bonsai village in Shikoku, all those lovely fields of trees. Australia's quarantine rules saved me from bankruptcy.
I thought there might be losses of pots and trees from the shaking; here in North Queensland our city caught the edge of the devastating cyclone Yasi and one member who did not move bonsai from shelf to ground had his two largest (bougainvillea) blown down: pots smashed and smaller trees crushed.
Truly the earthquake and tsunami were terrible and the survivors need so much help. I like the way the Japanese media concentrate on survival and stories of resilience rather than just showing devastation. Maybe there is a story of recovery at Omiya or similar?