Photo of A beautiful old bonsai right in the middle of the rice paddy.

Weekly Gem #175 Reflecting on an outstanding bonsai

Published 11/3/2018

Location: This hidden gem is located in Iwate Prefecture, Japan (see the Clue Me! Map).

In Japan's Iwate Prefecture, there are thousands of rice paddies, edge to edge and end to end. Fields are separated by dikes, and the fields are divided into paddies by perfectly straight lines of mounded soil and plant material from past years. Thousands of rice paddies, uniform, identical in every respect.

Then, unexpectedly, you see this bonsai out standing in its paddy. ; ]  

Somebody, many years past, defied convention to either plant the tree in an existing rice paddy, or to excavate a rice paddy while leaving this tree in place. That doesn't happen. Presumably the same somebody and their heirs in tree care have tended and pruned the tree in the years since, probably for generations. This tree is clearly special to someone, and it shows.  

Being the only bonsai with its own rice paddy gives it an opportunity to reflect, and be reflected upon. For example, if you look directly at the tree, you can see how its tidy and carefully tended shape contrasts with those wild and unruly trees in the background. But green on shades of green, there's also a blending in ... different, but the same. Then if you look at the reflection in the water irrigating the rice paddy, you see only the bonsai against the contrasting blue sky, where the distinct and carefully tended shape jumps right out at you.

Keep your eyes peeled. You never know when you'll come across one (or two) outstanding view(s)!


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


An outstanding bonsai


A beautiful old bonsai right in the middle of the rice paddy.

Why It's Interesting

There are so many rice paddies where people cultivate just rice. Thousands upon thousands of rice paddies. Then, there's this one, where someone decided to also cultivate a tree. It really stands out in the field! ; ]

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