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Is Portland The Epicenter Of A New American Bonsai Movement?


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Amazing story of an American kid who watched _The Karate Kid_, became obsessed with bonsai, went to Japan to apprentice with a bonsai master, and is pioneering an American style.

What a marvelous story!

Neil spent six years under Kimura’s eye.

“As cliché as it sounds, it was kind of Karate Kid-ish,” he recalled. “I remember the first Christmas, we’re building a fence on Christmas Day, and I was like, you just couldn’t make this stuff up. He was very very hard on us. It was a very almost old world feudalistic manner of education.”

Of the six apprentices, Neil was the only one to finish and is one of only a dozen people, and the only westerner, to complete the full apprenticeship. 

He was driven by the idea to create a professional, modern bonsai culture in America, one that could support artists at every level, from the people who find the trees in the wild to the ceramicists who make the pots. 

So he created Bonsai Mirai, and started teaching and working, applying the high standards of Japanese bonsai to American trees instead of the traditional Japanese ones in a quest to pioneer a contemporary American style.

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