News: Flower arrangement provides cultural experience for participants
Story by Pfc. David Walters
IWAKUNI, Japan - Culture is described by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”
Station residents traveled to downtown Iwakuni to participate in the Venture Out Flower arrangement, June 13, 2013, prepared by Marine Corps Community Services. The event, hosted at the flower store Loto, allowed participants to experience a unique part of the Japanese culture that not many get to see.
Flower arrangements, called Ikebana in Japan, are a serious art used to express emotions. Just as in America, hosts may use Ikebana to welcome guests into their home.
In Japanese culture, different Ikebana are used for particular occasions. Smaller Ikebana are used to decorate the entrance to homes as that's where people greet each other. For example, they may be placed throughout a home or in the center of the dining table if guests are dining with the host.
Larger Ikebana are used for celebrations or important occasions. They can be used in festivals, weddings or anniversaries.
Smaller details in the arrangement of the Ikebana, such as color of the flower, are used to express certain emotions. Details such as the patterns used in placing flowers also contribute to the skill and beauty of individual Ikebana.
Throughout the day, participants learned about Japanese culture involving Ikebana, different ways to make and prepare them and about the history of Ikebana.
“I learned the way of Japanese flower arranging with Ikebana is about circles and lines,” said Erica B. Edwards, a Venture Out Flower Arrangement participant.
During the Ikebana lesson, participants learned what makes the Japanese Ikebana different from flower arranging in different countries.
“Flower arrangements are popular for different reasons,” said Eileen Erwin, Venture Out Flower Arrangement participant. “These Japanese flower arrangements are facing forward because they are placed on an altar or table. In Europe, their flower arrangements are more circular because they have more round tables.”
MCCS hosts weekly events for Marines, spouses and children to experience Japanese culture.
For more information on future events, contact Cultural Adaptation at 253-6165 or stop by their office, located at Building 411, Room 101.