I received my official certification to be an ikebana sensei for the Ohara school of ikebana. I can teach! I'm so excited. I've been taking lessons and testing for three years. I would have had it sooner if not for a bunch of health problems in 2013 that required me to take some time off.
This is me and Ura sensei.
Ura sensei is 85! She dyes her grey hairs a purple blue which I've sworn I'm going to do to my grey days. It seems to be a thing here out in Japan that once you reach a certain age you don't have to follow rules anymore. Women my age in Japan don't dye their hair crazy colors and they also don't walk in the middle of the road. But old ladies in Japan can!
Ura sensei was raised in Japan occupied Korea. She's divorced, which is very rare in Japan. She's as fierce as a tiger and has supported herself teaching ikebana for oh...probably 60 years. For at least 40 of those years she's been making ikebana arrangements and teaching bored military wives on Misawa AFB.
She's a true artist. It's amazing what she can do with flowers. She just turns them half a degree and they come to life.
I got a certificate in Japanese and a certificate in English. My husband said "Look it's signed by your boyfriend.". I have a bit of an artistic crush on Hiroki Ohara. He is the head of the Ohara school of ikebana. He makes arrangements that are such an amazing blend of flowers and sculpture. Someday, if we are ever on the same continent I want to do a show together and have coffee. Ian can come too.
This is my sensei book. It's like a little instruction manual with all the different levels, arrangements, certificates and stuff like that. I can't read it except for the first page, but that's ok.
On the left hand page starting at the top line is the imperial date I became a sensei. It's the 26th year of Emperor Akihito. I think 4. 30 actually stands for April 30th because we ordered this a while back and had some mailing issues.
The second line is the chapter name. The third line is my teacher number. Sensei says I'm lucky because it's so easy to remember. Her sensei number starts with a 2. That's how long ago she became a sensei. Meaning there have been over 800,000 Ohara ikebana senseis. Though not all of them teach. A bunch of sensei's students don't teach. The fourth line is how my last name is signed in Katakana. The Japanese alphabet for foreign words.
The tables on the right hand side are all the levels of sensei there are. My sensei is one of the levels in that second table from the bottom. You have to be chapter president to get those. The last table at the very end of the page is the highest you can go. Sensei says that once you reach that level you don't have to pay club dues anymore. My sensei's sensei is still alive but she's not sure if her sensei has reached the highest level yet. I asked sensei when she would be awarded the top level and she said probably once she dies. Isn't that so Japanese! Maybe it's an artist thing. You don't become recognized and famous until you die.
If I ever have the chance to take more tests and gain more levels then I will try. But at least I'll be able to teach beginner katachi to American students in the mean time. I'll also get to do some experimenting with American plants! I want to do some giant installations in the future.