Gravel crunched beneath my feet as I walked up the driveway towards Johnny Uchida's serene Grove Way Bonsai Nursery in Hayward, CA. In 1962 the Fuji Bonsai Club had mostly Japanese membrs and met in Berkeley, CA. Uchida formed the Yamato Bonsai Kai, in Castro Valley, CA.
Uchida was born in Kagoshima, Japan and graduated from Ichiki Nogei Koko (Ichiki Agricultural High School). He arrived in the United States on an Agricultural Labor Contract and worked at various fruit farms in California. His labor contract ended in 1959 when he went to work for Mr. Toichi Domoto at the Domoto Nursery in Hayward. It was here that he became interested in bonsai.
While we were filming in Uchida's nursery, we discovered his beatuiful stones. He grasps the stones and lovingly gives them a squeeze. Mostly they are on custom stands ready for the tokomona. Many look like gifts and have personal stories.
In 2010 Uchida was inducted into the Bunka Hall of Fame Class of 2009 Yoneo “Johnny” Uchida ‐ Miniature Trees ‐ Bonsai. This award honors those “who have excelled and contributed to the culture of Japan as practiced here in America and bettered relationships in our community by enlightening all to the culture of Japan as practiced here in America.” This important cultural award was presented by HOKKA NICHI BEI KAI The Japanese American Association of Northern California at a New Year Party January 29, 2010 at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco Japantown.
In November 2010 I visited China. Here I am on the deck of the Century Star, hair blowing in the breeze of the Yangtze River. When I studied Mandarin Chinese, literature, art and history as an udergraduate at UCLA in the 1970's, who would have imagined I would finally get to visit this fascinating country full of contrasts and surprises. If you want to find out what's going on a half a world away, check out Gate 1 Travel.
Hypnagogic, Oneirism, Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreams (WILD), Sleeping with a Key
Here I am painting at Wright's Beach in Sonoma
Only new videos for 2011 are viewable in China.