Monday, July 29, 2013

Bonsai and cigarettes

I am a known houseplant murderess, which is a drag considering what an important role a few well-chosen plants plays in attaining that midcentury-to-1970s design vibe. But I shouldn't really have plants in good conscience, and I certainly can't have bonsai. The guilt of tossing a snake plant (a.k.a. mother-in-law's tongue) after a year of hard duty in my sun-scorched house and simply replacing it with another $10 specimen from Home Depot pales next to killing one of these ancient jewels of the herbaceous world, the product of millennia of painstaking study and artistry practiced in various parts of Asia since at least the 6th century.

Though I do get tempted. There is an elderly gentleman in my neighborhood who sells bonsai from a rickety old book case in the gas station parking lot across from the middle school. (Normally a place you'd expect to see a taco truck in these parts, but, no—bonsai.) But I resist and make do with adorable books about adorable bonsai, like Bonsai Miniatures Quick & Easy published in 1973 by a fellow named Zeko Nakamura, described as a Zen Buddhist acolyte-turned-famous-movie-and-television-comedian. And renowned bonsai expert of his day, apparently.

But what I really love about this book is the way the bonsai have been photographed alongside cigarettes, matchbooks and attractive men's watches to show their diminutive scale. Genius!

"A light-hearted approach"

Note the matchbox next to the bonsai containers. Yes, that's how small they are. I want to eat these containers they're so dang cute! 

Cherry blossoms and ciggies. Another freaky juxtaposition.

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