The Strange Trident Maple

Updated: Oct 8

The Strange Trident Maple


In a previous post, I said I was going to write an article just about this tree.  Well here it is!  In this post, I’m going to tell the history of this tree, show some different angle shots of the tree with a bit of commentary of my thoughts.  It’s Christmas eve today in Japan and I thought I’d share this gem of a tree with you all.  This special Trident maple is one of my favorite trees here at Aichi-en.

History of the strange

Many followers of the blog have asked me about this specific tree because of the unique structure it has.  It’s not everyday we see a tree quite like this one so when I first saw it at Aichi-en for the first time I was all over it!

This Trident maple was started by Mr. Tanaka’s great grandfather (first generation and creator of Aichi-en) almost 100 years ago.  One of the reason why I like this tree so much is that it’s such a good representation of what Aichi-en is all about.  Time and time again when I’m wiring and styling a not so typical tree, Mr. Tanaka will always pushing me to make it more unique and interesting in some way.  Whereas most people will either cut or replace something strange, I’m encouraged to keep it.  He was taught to do this by his father and his father’s father. This tree has been developed continuously by all generations to this day and has always lived at Aichi-en.  When I first arrived here, I asked Mr. Tanaka about this tree and why was it was made this way.  The answer wasn’t simple or quick and it was filled with words such as, different, strange, unique, creative, taste and personality.  The conversation was one of the defining moments of my apprenticeship and it made me realize that many different factors come to play on how a tree is created and that there isn’t just one way to creating them.  After the conversation, Mr. Tanaka then warned me that I should never forget the basics of Bonsai and that, “there is a thin line between a strange tree that expresses good taste and just a strange tree” (the tricky part is finding that line and realizing if I have it in me to create something different then most.  Perhaps it requires a certain type of personality?  I’ll share more about my thoughts on that in a future post).  Let’s get on to the pictures!














Here is both of them together but 16 years apart.

Moving right along

This is the first Christmas I am spending in a different country.  I can’t believe that the year is coming to an end already.  Two more months and I’ll be finished with my first year as a Bonsai apprenticeship.  I feel that I’ve already learned so much and am excited to see what the future brings.  Thanks to all of you who have been following my experiences here in Japan and supporting me through my studies here.  Through everything I’ve done here so far, I’ve always had a uplifting feeling that I have a great group of people out there rooting for me all the way.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Just in case you thought only Trident Maples can be dense…


This will probably be my last post of the year.  Happy New Years and I’ll see you all in 2012!


Thanks for keeping me company.


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