Taking the ikebana course is definitely a unique college experience. It's not only about crafting and aesthetics, but also about mindfulness and self-reflection.

week 2

Ikebana makes cut flowers from death to live again. We cut flowers to bring the beauty of nature into rooms, but inevitably shortening their life. Ikebana is to bring back the liveliness and fully express their beauty, during which the thoughts and emotions of the artist are added onto the arrangement. In addition, seeing flowers shriveling and changing the arrangement can make us cherish every moment.

week 4

Every week before we start designing our arrangement, sensei (the professor) asked us to think of a kokoro (mind, heart, feeling) as the theme. This pushed me to be more mindful of my life. In the fifth week, I noticed I was struggling to motivate myself to focus on some hard problems, so I made this theme: Be determined to pursue a goal and never forget why you started, like the red flower is growing upward from the root and ignoring the foxtails around it.

week 5

Week 6: Be curious, like the two containers reaching out to each other by the grass. Enjoy exploring new things and refreshing yourself.

week 6

Final arrangement: Don’t afraid of getting attentions and having conflicts. It can leads to something as bright and beautiful as this arrangement.

week final

At the end of the class, sensei held a tea ceremony to say goodbye to the class, during which I deeply understood the saying ichigo ichie (treasuring the unrepeatable nature of a moment).

tea ceremony

I really appreciate Professor Gunji giving the class. Checkout the Japan House if you ever visit UIUC!

tea