Where are the Japanese?

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Where are the Japanese?

Post  Orion on Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:51 pm

One characteristic of this forum that I love is the diversity. Where else can one obtain the collective experiences and expertise from members around the golbe?

But, where are the Japanese. It's so ironic that we practice an Asian art form and, maybe it it's hidden somewhere in the IBC archives, yet there are no posts from members in Japan. Do they generally shun these types of forums? And if so, why? We can certainly bridge the language barrier, as is frequently the case here and we have an intense interest in an important part of their history, art and culture. But there is something seriously missing, not just on this forum, and that is the perspective from the Japanese bonsai community.

So, if I've asked a question that has already been answered Confused , I apologize.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Tony on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:04 pm

Good question Rolling Eyes its is certain that not ALL Japanese are 'expert' at/with bonsai!


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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:35 pm

I cannot remember a single Japanese participant on the IBC, going back to its first days as a mailing list. The question has arisen before though.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:58 pm

Two remarks regarding that question. Firstly the Japanese do not cope very well in English speaking or writing. Major obstacle here :-)
Next, it is not in their nature participating and discussing as it is a habit in forums like this one. They are fare more keen on keeping respect and politeness in the public space than we are. That´s why I think, we are left discussing the Japanese art with ourselves, unless we have personal relationships with Japanese artists and involve.

Best regards
Morten Albek

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:33 pm

morten albek wrote:Two remarks regarding that question. Firstly the Japanese do not cope very well in English speaking or writing. Major obstacle here :-)
Next, it is not in their nature participating and discussing as it is a habit in forums like this one. They are fare more keen on keeping respect and politeness in the public space than we are. That´s why I think, we are left discussing the Japanese art with ourselves, unless we have personal relationships with Japanese artists and involve.

Best regards
Morten Albek

... RESPECT and POLITENESS! You are absolutely right Morten.
More frequently these days those two words seems to neglected if not violated by members of the forum, I remember the first few weeks/ days that I was watching the forum and stories of trees and owners unfold here and I was very happy and envious at the same time to see the friendly people and respectful environment involved here, That's why though I am "shy" by nature I decided to butt in. And I was reprimanded like a "new child here "a couple of times then when I am being slightly un polite.
...But now a days rudeness seems to be the norm, and I do my own moderating if the mods are not around (sorry). If you posted a tree and some guys do not like you, they will attack you or your personality and use the posted tree as a tool to do so. I have experienced that personally and my trees too both here and in the flesh.

...So I guess, Mortem is right. Japanese people ( as most civilized culture in other parts of the world) are very reserve and polite people. and if politeness and respect to other members continue to decline...101% chance we won't get any one of them here.

with love and respect,
jun I love you

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Orion on Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:30 am

Morten and Jun, two very interesting perspectives.

I can understand the language barriers, so does that also apply to the Chinese bonsai community? Regarding the "respect" and "polite" factors, how do they approach criticism?-in other words, how do they give it and take it? Because it seems that taking and giving a critical assessment is one way of making someone better at this craft. So, it is the method, degree and tone of criticism that is the major difference between the Japanese bonsai community and the West? If so, that's a huge cultural difference. Yet, I'm really stunned that there are no Japanese artists even attempting to communicate through this medium, is it because it's so frowned upon by their bonsai community as a whole?

It's hard to imagine that there are no "renegades" out there who, through the anonymity of the internet, would love to jump in here and elsewhere and help set the record on many of the questions that arise.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  John Quinn on Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:03 am

There are English speaking, French, German, Italian bonsai forums, among others. Are there Japanese bonsai forums with participation limited to Japanese speaking members?

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:05 am

To my knowledge there are no such forums in Japan. It is not a way to seek information or exchange views I believe.

The question about how they approach each other regarding exchanging knowledge is much like teacher telling student how it is, or challenging the student and then tell him/her what's the right thing to do.
It can be very direct but always polite is my experience.

I have seeking advices at a few persons in Japan, and always given a prompt qualified answer I can carry on to my work. Newer told its a rule, but a guideline. Also not agreed on everything I was told, but I have learned a lot this way.

The big difference between here and Japan is that you seek the knowledge and skills from one teacher, and not like here in this forum and otherwise throwing in a question to the middle of a crowd, getting a bunch of different answers thrown back, from novices to skilled bonsai experts. Who do you listen too, and which advice is right?

In Japan it is common to find one teacher who suits you, and stick to that one. That gives a decent and steady knowledge, but of course not the freedom to choose among many (but less confusing too).

There are small groups organized who attends meetings at nurseries, and there the teacher guides them with their bonsai workshops. There are surely discussions there too, but in a much more dedicated and polite way with much respect for the teaching expert. Like I experience here too in real life, but often seems to be lacking in a forum were you can hide yourself behind a pc.

Best regards
Morten




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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Alain Bertrand on Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:11 am

There is no active Japanese bonsai forum (at least not in the meaning we generally attribute to the word forum). There are some small forums more like bbs generally run as a side activity by a nursery.
I know there is a bonsai section at the (in)famous ni-chan forums but I have not checked it and due to the nature of ni-chan channels I doubt it is worth checking.

As for the politeness thing, it looks as a cliché to me : just have a quick look at the ni-chan forums (the most active japanese forum site) to discover how incrediblely rude it is.
I mostly agree with what Morten says about teaching. Other factors may be the average age of bonsai amateurs in Japan and the fact that internet on a computer is less popular than internet from the cell phone.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  fiona on Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:21 am

Interesting comments on the Wikipedia description of the 2channel/ni-chan forum especially on the anonymity system it operates under:

"If there is a user ID attached to a user, a discussion tends to become a criticizing game. On the other hand, under the anonymous system, even though your opinion/information is criticized, you don't know with whom to be upset. Also with a user ID, those who participate in the site for a long time tend to have authority, and it becomes difficult for a user to disagree with them. Under a perfectly anonymous system, you can say, "it's boring," if it is actually boring. All information is treated equally; only an accurate argument will work."


There are also some equally interesting insights into its workings including some of the seedier aspects and all in all I don't think I'd fancy being a moderator there.

But OTOH, I don't think the owner is likely to be driving around in a beat-up old Nissan either!



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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:26 am

morten albek wrote:Two remarks regarding that question. Firstly the Japanese do not cope very well in English speaking or writing. Major obstacle here :-)
Next, it is not in their nature participating and discussing as it is a habit in forums like this one. They are fare more keen on keeping respect and politeness in the public space than we are. That´s why I think, we are left discussing the Japanese art with ourselves, unless we have personal relationships with Japanese artists and involve.

I think Morten hit the nail on the head.

If there is one thing I learned about the Japanese - both the older generation here in the States and my time in Japan - is that there is nothing about this type forum that would appeal to them other than the bonsai itself. They might cruise, but I can't see any Japanese joining and actually posting. I'd really be shocked if they did particiapte. Not their "chawan" of tea, you might say. I'm not implying that there's anything wrong here, it's just a cultural thing.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Brett Summers on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:10 am

Not sure 2channel is a fair indicator for Japanese politeness on the Internet. Unless you compared it to our Western equivalent being 4chan. What a Face
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4chan

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:30 am

I think, if you feel an ownership of something, it can be hard to see/listen to it being discussed by those for whom it is a hobby.

I have studied and taught history all of my adult life, but I have never joined the local historical society even though I have lived here almost 50 years.

You will also notice that we don't really get those who have a bonsai business as contributors, although I know many of them read the forum.


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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Tony on Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:39 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:You will also notice that we don't really get those who have a bonsai business as contributors, although I know many of them read the forum.

Hi Bill never a truer word spoke. I KNOW that many 'professional and trader' bonsai folk read this forum, because they tell me... they are usually unregistered or an alias. They cannot comment negatively as it may affect their business, nor can they overtly praise as they would be seen to be soliciting... a loose loose situation.

This popular forum has an alarming/pleasing number of guest 'visitors'

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  fiona on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:51 am

Oh dear, Tony, now I'm worried about all these "loose" members. Maybe it is getting like ni-chan and its very dodgy forums. Wink

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:07 pm



Billy M. Rhodes wrote:I think, if you feel an ownership of something, it can be hard to see/listen to it being discussed by those for whom it is a hobby.

I have studied and taught history all of my adult life, but I have never joined the local historical society even though I have lived here almost 50 years.

You will also notice that we don't really get those who have a bonsai business as contributors, although I know many of them read the forum.




Very interesting points, Billy!!

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  newzealandteatree on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:25 pm

I wonder whether there are any members who are of Japanese ancestry, living outside Japan and fluent in English.

CJ

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Alain Bertrand on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:38 pm

Brett Summers wrote:Not sure 2channel is a fair indicator for Japanese politeness on the Internet.

This is precisely the reason why I don't subscribe to the respect and politeness argument to explain why Japanese bonsai amateurs don't participate. Reality IS that 2-chan is a very very active site all countries included , and the most active of the Japanese Internet community though it may be very very rude,much more rude that the bbs style bonsai forum I have checked in the past (which were in fact quite polite and friendly).
I have thus checked ni-chan for bonsai. Contrary to what I have posted before, there is no dedicated section but some posts in the gardening section. Out of the almost seven hundreds threads of this section, only 6 deal with bonsai. So the conclusion is that though Japanese gardeners are quite active on ni-chan and seem not to be bothered by a so-called nature that would prevent them to chat on the Internet, either Japanese bonsai amateurs have a different nature compared to gardeners, or they are simply to few to account for a sizable traffic.

I read a few threads. The first one I read was called " the thread where the shame enduring beginners ask questions "

It starts like that :
The three promises of this thread :
-whatever the question, don't make fool of the the questioner.
-People who know, please gently answer.
-If nobody answers you, don't be discouraged.
but then, the tone in at least in the twenty or so first messages was rather friendly, but due to ni-chan technical choice, there is no way to mix text and pictures which is very damageable for bonsai.


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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Brett Summers on Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:04 am

Alain Bertrand wrote:
Brett Summers wrote:Not sure 2channel is a fair indicator for Japanese politeness on the Internet.

This is precisely the reason why I don't subscribe to the respect and politeness argument to explain why Japanese bonsai amateurs don't participate. Reality IS that 2-chan is a very very active site all countries included , and the most active of the Japanese Internet community though it may be very very rude,much more rude that the bbs style bonsai forum I have checked in the past (which were in fact quite polite and friendly).
I have thus checked ni-chan for bonsai. Contrary to what I have posted before, there is no dedicated section but some posts in the gardening section. Out of the almost seven hundreds threads of this section, only 6 deal with bonsai. So the conclusion is that though Japanese gardeners are quite active on ni-chan and seem not to be bothered by a so-called nature that would prevent them to chat on the Internet, either Japanese bonsai amateurs have a different nature compared to gardeners, or they are simply to few to account for a sizable traffic.

I read a few threads. The first one I read was called " the thread where the shame enduring beginners ask questions "

It starts like that :
The three promises of this thread :
-whatever the question, don't make fool of the the questioner.
-People who know, please gently answer.
-If nobody answers you, don't be discouraged.
but then, the tone in at least in the twenty or so first messages was rather friendly, but due to ni-chan technical choice, there is no way to mix text and pictures which is very damageable for bonsai.


Yes it is VERY active but here are a few more active in Japan.
Of Course Yahoo and Google
But some that are more popular than 2chan and may be of interest in order of popularity would be
3: fc2 .Blogs and stuff
4: youtube
6: Ameblo.jp Blogs and stuff
7: Facebook
13: Twitter
Since Face book has become popular in the bonsai community maybe that would be a good place to start looking for Japanese Internet users talking about Bonsai? I have not really checked for all I know I already have a bonsai friend from Japan on my account?
2chan and 4chan (western equivalent) are both set up for anonymous posters encouraging the anarchist genera. So like I said I am not sure that is a fair website to judge Japanese politeness on the Internet. At least not in this context.

Edit Hmm... Seems the guys out at 4Chan have moved on to 7chan

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  dick benbow on Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:06 pm

i've been in another similar hobby...Koi for 30 or more years and the same thing happens in our chatlines. No japanese. When i lived in japan, I often went to school to have the english students hear an american speak the language instead of their teachers. ( they know english ). Why this happens i have No clue and don't know how to change it...I do know in my suiseki club we do get lots of help from california and americans of japanese heritage.
Our mum club looks more to england then japan for guidance.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Alain Bertrand on Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:56 am

So like I said I am not sure that is a fair website to judge Japanese politeness on the Internet. At least not in this context.
Read again what I have written. I have never stated such a thing.

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Re: Where are the Japanese?

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:38 am

Maybe a few other reasons too. In general the Japanese bonsai enthusiasts doesn't count in what happens outside Japan. Japanese bonsai is the centre of their self-perception. Many are not at all aware that much happens here. This is also true regarding many professionals although some are opening up for the west these days.

There are very big differences in the perception and approach to the bonsai art, and this counts too. I do not believe the Japanese with their aesthetic values and traditions in this art form do see much to come for here to be brutally honest. The aesthetic approach is very different when I compare both bonsai as they are styled, and how they are exhibited in many occasions. There is a great diversity in aesthetics throughout the bonsai community here (outside Japan), and that doesn't attract either. But still, the language barrier is the biggest obstacle I am sure.

A few artist from Japan do see outside the country. This shows in an article in the Japanese Kinbon bonsai magazine just published. This contains an article and interview with me and Tomohiro Masumi from the Koju-en shohin nursery in Kyoto i.e.
Tomohiro is one of the modern professionals who seeks the west to expand knowledge and make connections to evolve the true art of the Japanese bonsai art.
In the article it is shown how the bonsai world situation is in Denmark and Russia. Two places Tomohiro Masumi visited the past summer this year.

But there are of course ways of doing bonsai as we pleases in its many forms, without this forum connection with the Japanese. We may miss some valuable informations directly but if we seek the professionals and people who have been in Japan learning, it will be passed on. People like William Valavanis and Ryan Neil from the US are valuable sources of knowledge and skills, as is others from Europe like Rita and Mark Cooper from the UK i.e.
Several bloggers also delivers knowledge and inspiration from Japan disseminating the informations needed.

Many places to find what you need, even it is not at the same spot.

Regards
Morten Albek


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