Welcome! My name is Tyler Sherrod. This blog is dedicated to chronicling my experiences as a Bonsai Apprentice in Japan. I hope to share with you a little about what I am learning as well as giving an inside look to my life and what it is like living as a Bonsai Apprentice.
A history about how I began Bonsai…or how Bonsai became me!
My first introduction to Bonsai began sometime during my college years through some unknown Bonsai magazine or book. After telling my mother how cool these tiny trees were, she purchased a Mugo Pine Bonsai at a local grocery store. I then placed this tree in my window seal and within a few weeks, it was dead. Lesson #1: Water Your Bonsai! Now the Bonsai Bug had me, I had to find all there was to know about this Art.
Following graduating from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN (GO VOLS!) I returned to my home in Hickory, NC. I then proceeded to fill my yard with nursery plants of every kind which I cut up and called Bonsai. I found a Bonsai nursery about an hour away from my home where I sought more information. After countless weekends of helping around nursery and bothering the owner with countless questions about Bonsai, I happen to hear about a Bonsai professional in California, Boon Manakitivipart, who offers a Bonsai Intensive program. I found his website, BonsaiBoon.com, and signed up for my first intensive during the Fall of 2009.
It was at these intensives with Boon that things began to fall into place. I was learning more about the techniques of Bonsai as well as learning more about myself as a person. Having majored in Philosophy during college, the study of knowledge, value, existence, mind and reason has become very important to me and the way I live my life. All this I have found to be true in Bonsai.
In the Spring of 2011 I joined Boon and a group of Bonsai nuts on a trip to Japan to visit the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition. There I was introduced to Mr. Shinji Suzuki and formally asked him to take me on as an apprentice. I was accepted and returned to Japan on April 18, 2011 and began my apprenticeship.
Over the next five years of my apprenticeship, please join me through this blog. I will try to make it as informative as possible and will try to have a fun time in doing so!
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good work tyler, i will keep a close look on your blog, i love mr. suzuki work, and a small documentary i saw showed me his love for nature and bonsai. I wish I could do some time in japan learning as well…what are the costs of staying so much time in japan learning? i am a pianist from portugal, i have been to japan but just for a couple of days, in concerts, and i could not find any info on this… any advice? cheers,
thank you for your informations an your blog.
I make bonsai at the last twenty years ago.
Have a nice time in japan.
Thank you Norbert for visiting!
I found your blog while surfing the internet and I find it really interesting.
It ‘nice to see that a new generation is committed to continue studying this beautiful art.
p.s. excuse for the English, I am using a translator
Thank you for visiting! Yes it is good to see that many young people from all around the world are here in Japan studying. I know that American bonsai is in for a treat over the next few years as people such as Michael Hagedorn and Ryan Neil continue to raise the level and soon Matt Reel. Others such as Peter Tea, Owen Reich, Bjorn Bjornhelm and myself still are working hard here in Japan but will soon will make our contributions as well. Thanks!
Your dedication to and enthusiasm in Bonsai are highly commendable. May you continue to find inspirations in the countries and places to which you travel.
Hello Tyler, I really enjoy your blog and it has given me the inspiration to try to get an Bonsai apprenticeship in Japan. I´m from Sweden and here the Bonsai scene is extremely small to non-existing so I don´t have any real experience with Bonsai, but since I was about 10 years old I have had an interest for the art, do you have any advice? and is it possible to get an apprenticeship without any real Bonsai experience?
Thanks again for the blog and keep up the good work. /Simon
Sorry forgot to say that I´m 24 now so for 14 years I have had an interest in Bonsai