Moribana Containers From The Past

Added on by the ikebana shop.

It is not unusual for us to receive our supply of flower containers wrapped in newspaper.  Well, recently 2 suiban arrived bundled in very old, yellowing newspaper...from Sep 30, 1972!  Apparently, these containers had been forgotten in some storeroom somewhere and were only unearthed recently.  Don't ask us how we found's a trade secret! 

Check the stock prices! Canon Inc on Sept 30, 1972 was worth 206 yen.  As of June 15, 2018, it's now worth 3752 yen!

Old newspapers are like time capsules.  See what's all the rage back then...

The latest automobile from Nissan, the Laurel. 
The latest microwave oven from National (Panasonic).
The latest 4-channel stereo from Toshiba...featuring The Beatles!

Oh, we almost forgot to show you... This is the suiban, half-moon in bright orange.  If it is still available, this link will bring you to our online shop.

My Ikebana: No Kenzan With Wisteria

Added on by the ikebana shop.

In ikebana, water not only serves as a means to sustain the flowers. Water in itself is usually an integral part of the arrangement.  Arrangements using suiban (flat containers) without kenzan allow us to appreciate the beauty and clarity of the water more precisely because it there is no kenzan to distract us!


This arrangement uses wisteria branches to create the structure.  Chrysanthemum and eryngium add colour and character.

Here is the whole arrangement.


I hope you like it.  --Miyako

My Ikebana: Watering Cans As Container

Added on by the ikebana shop.
Green bamboo tubes and simple rustic jars also make the best containers.
— #32 from The Fifty Principles of Sogetsu, Textbook 5

Taking inspiration from this principle, I look around the studio to see what can be used as an unlikely container.  And right there in front of me are the watering cans that we use for our ikebana lessons!  They usually play a supporting role in our ikebana; but today, they are the stars!

Here is the arrangement.


I hope you like it.  --Miyako

Friendship: Ikebana Exhibition

Added on by the ikebana shop.

The Friendship: Ikebana Exhibition was held for 2 days (May 26-27, 2018) at the Halifax Central Library.  Miyako and her students shared their ikebana to the Halifax public not only by showing their work but also by being there to talk about ikebana with the people who came by.  We are very happy that many people visited to enjoy and learn about ikebana.  The live demonstration was a quite a draw as well! Thank you to all who visited us!

Photo credit: Media C.


This exhibit is also part of the celebrations across Canada commemorating the 90th anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations. Incidentally, 10 years ago, Miyako held a solo ikebana exhibit to commemorate the 80th anniversary!  (Click here to see the 2008 exhibit.)

We are extremely grateful to the Halifax Public Libraries who generously allowed us to use their beautiful space at the Central Branch.  Special thanks to Hilary S-N, programming manager, who was very patient and helpful with our numerous little requests as we prepared for the exhibit.  As well, our huge thanks to Joanne and Heather who were wonderful during the set-up and exhibit days. Everything went smoothly because of you!

Our sincere thanks to: Val S., Media C., Robert L., Odessa G., M.S., and Cody O.  They worked hard for this exhibit: designing arrangements and staying on during the exhibit to help explain what ikebana is all about to our curious visitors.  Your dedication and hard work in the study of ikebana has not gone unnoticed and seeing how people enjoyed and appreciated your work is great validation of your ikebana!  

Joint Arrangement by Miyako and Val S.

Arrangements by Val S.

Arrangements by Media C.

Arrangement by Robert L.

Arrangement by Odessa G.

Arrangement by M.S.

Arrangement by Cody O.

Arrangement by Miyako

Thank you all for coming!  We hope you enjoyed our little ikebana exhibition.  We hope to do another one some time soon!

Press Release: Ikebana Exhibition in Halifax

Added on by the ikebana shop.

For Immediate Release - May 22nd, 2018

Friendship - Ikebana Exhibition will be held at the Halifax Central Library lobby this coming weekend (May 26-27).

Ikebana is the art of Japanese floral arrangement.  Although ubiquitous in Japan, authentic ikebana is not often seen in Halifax.  This exhibition offers a rare glimpse of what ikebana is like...and a glimpse of one facet of Japanese culture.

2018 is the 90th anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations.  Across Canada, there are many events happening to commemorate this milestone. Through this exhibition, Halifax joins in the Canada-wide celebrations.

More information about the 90th anniversary here.
List of other events in our region here. (Note that NS is overseen by the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal.)

The exhibition will be presented by Miyako Ballesteros (Sogetsu School of Ikebana) and her students.  Back in 2008, Miyako held her first solo exhibit in Halifax in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations!  From then on, she started teaching ikebana and now 10 years later, she and her students will share with Halifax their ikebana.

Admission is free.

Friendship - Ikebana Exhibition

May 26th (Sat) 12 - 6 p.m.
May 27th (Sun) 12 - 5 p.m.
  (Short live demonstration on Sunday, 2 p.m.)

At the Halifax Central Library lobby. (5440 Spring Garden Rd., Halifax NS)

We hope to see you there.  


My Ikebana: Splitting Palm Leaves

Added on by the ikebana shop.

There are two noteworthy points about this arrangement.  First, 2 nageire containers were used.  They were "joined" together using a spirally steel hanadome.  Second, palm leaves were split and ripped lengthwise, transforming the flat, smooth leaves into material that has more lines and texture.


Here is the whole arrangement. 


I hope you like it.  --Miyako

Plum Vs. Cherry

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Both the plum (ume) and cherry (sakura) blossoms feature prominently in Japanese fabric and print patterns.  Can you recognize which ones are the plum blossoms and which ones are the cherry blossoms? 


The plum blossom is much revered by the Japanese.  It blooms in February to early March; that is, around the time when winter is not quite over yet.  Only a strong flower can bloom in the bitter cold of winter and therefore, the plum blossom is seen as a symbol of strength and fortitude.  Together with pine and bamboo, the plum is one of the Three Friends of Winter (shochikubai 松竹梅)  It is also the true harbinger of spring.

The cherry blossom is probably the most loved flower in Japan.  It blooms in late March through April.  Once blooming, the flowers last for only about a week.  During this very special time of year, Japanese people come out and celebrate the blossoms with hanami (flower viewing) parties.  There is a carpe diem element to this, a celebration of impermanence in the Japanese psyche.

 Plum blossom. By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Plum blossom.
By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

 Cherry blossom. By あおもりくま ( Aomorikuma ) - 青森市 合浦公園, GFDL,

Cherry blossom.
By あおもりくま ( Aomorikuma ) - 青森市 合浦公園, GFDL,

So now, back to our question: how does one distinguish between the plum and the cherry?  
The key is to observe the petals.  The plum has round petals.  The cherry has indented petals.  
Simple as that!

Plum blossoms on fabric.

Plum blossoms on greeting card.

Plum blossoms on chiyogami paper.

Cherry blossoms on fabric

Cherry blossoms on greeting card.

Cherry blossoms on chiyogami paper.

Now you know! 

Extra trivia....
Cherry blossoms are depicted in the 100-yen coin!