Monday, September 08, 2014

All About the Bonsai

Perhaps it all started when I was but a child dreaming up fantastic little tales of heroism and bravery in the small plot of land in front of my house. Under the forgiving shade of the blooming guava tree, I dug out simple country paths and lanes for the rudimentary twig houses I built. Dried guava leaves and torn palm fronds were woven into makeshift thatch roofs for the miniature figures that peopled the hopeful village at the crossroads. For everything else, there was always tape and paper around.

After all despite my large, clumsy hands, I've always been great at paper crafts.

So it's obvious that the miniature world has always held a fascination for me, what with designing DIY wooden houses to crafting mini paper lanterns and ... yes, even to keeping bonsai trees. But with my green thumb always in doubt, the paralyzing fear of maintaining those terrifyingly fragile zen gardens always kept me away. Didn't want to subject the poor bonsai tree to my dubious arboriculture skills lest I be deemed the local bonsai murderer.

However that certainly never stopped me from admiring those perfectly manicured and pruned miniature trees, occasionally even decorated with tiny temple shrines or the lonely wandering figurine.

Wow, that's one ginormous bonsai tree. 

So when I saw a friendly neighbour offering some of his potted bonsai trees for sale online, I just couldn't help myself. Not knowing how much to offer in exchange, I just came up with a particularly low price since I wanted a really, really tiny plant to start with. Several inches high perhaps?

Neighbour : Got a lot ah. What type? How much you want?
Paul : Just one should do. Something small for the office. 
Neighbour : Sure got one! How much you want?
Paul : Maybe about a hundred or so? 
Neighbour : Definitely. You wait here, I get for you. 
Paul : A small one yeah?
Neighbour : Small, small yeah. 

I assume he understood what I meant. Well that teaches me not to overestimate the skills of locals in determining size and length - and to severely underestimate the general price of items in the future. Turns out his version of small wasn't the dainty size of my palm as I had expected - but closer to the size of an overfed toddler.

Paul : OMG. 
Neighbour : You like ka? I got more. 
Paul : That's quite enough, I think. Didn't expect it to be this big!
Neighbour : You pay more, I give you more lo! 

Well perhaps the sole figurine would be seriously dwarfed by my alarmingly large bonsai tree - even with me immediately attacking it with pruning shears - but that wouldn't stop me from starting a little village beneath the shade! Maybe a small family of retired geishas setting up a ramen shop!

Oh the possibilities are endless!

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