... FLOWER ARRANGING!
Ikebana is a traditional Japanese art enduring for hundreds of years. And just like Trekkies, Dog Show Trainers, or any fringe group that takes their hobby or craft extremely seriously, so do Ikebana flower artists. In fact, there's a whole spiritual philosophy behind it.
That's why I should have known better about entering an Ikebana Flower Show in Japan.
If I'm completely honest, there were signs all last week among the other participants in my class that should have clued me in to the importance of it. BUT I chocked up all their anxiety about preparing for the show to- I don't know- Japanese over the top perfectionism (which they tend to exhibit)
THEM: "Have you chosen your flowers yet?"
ME: "Uh no, I thought I'd just buy whatever is on sale."
THEM: "What vase are you going to use?"
ME: "I'll just use the same training vase I started with."
THEM: "What arrangement are you going to do?"
I just didn't think it was THAT big of a deal. Come on, they're just flowers!
Well, now I wish I had heeded the warnings, because I ended up feeling ASHAMED.
First off, I was wholly unprepared during the set up. I never even considered how I would get water into my vase. Everyone else brought little brooms and clean up supplies, plenty of newspaper to cover their work surface, and even flower food!
I think some of the other Ikebana ladies must have felt sorry for me because they pitched in and lent me all the supplies I needed.
They also tried to give me encouragement too when they saw my final product by saying things like, "Nice Colors."
(which incidentally is about the same as saying "nice font" about someone's research paper)
I even walked away for a moment and upon returning, I saw my Ikebana sensei hovering over my flowers, adjusting things, bending branches, and adding greenery until it looked a little better.
That's when the shame hit me.
At that moment, I realized the Ikebana show was not really about me or the other participants. It was about reflecting well on our Ikebana teacher, and I never even considered that.
In case you're are wondering... no, none of the pictures are my flowers. I cannot reveal my arrangement online since it looked like a weed wacker got to it. Seriously, it was the ugliest one in there.
Have you ever participated in something thinking it was no big deal and then found yourself in over your head?