Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: bwaynef on January 30, 2010, 10:35 AM

Title: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: bwaynef on January 30, 2010, 10:35 AM
I've got a few projects lined up for this spring and I've been doing my research.  During my research I drug out _Pines_ and started studying the JBP from Seed to Shohin in 8 years article.  I'd given it a cursory read a few times before but never really studied it.

Upon careful study, I'm pretty disappointed in how this article turned out.  While it would be my preference that things were given in some sort of timeline, I can understand organizing things differently to fill the format of the book.  Even so, it would have been helpful to give some reference of the years throughout the article rather than denoting the passing of time as "the following year".  Also, one whole year is dealt with in one sentence: "Continue to fertilize and water through the growing season."  The next sentence, representing a new year, begins "The following year, in mid-spring...".  If you're not careful you've just missed that the only instruction given for an entire year is "Continue to fertilize and water through the growing season".  (The transition from  page 144 - 145.)

Also, I'm not sure the pictures could be placed any more confusingly.  Most pictures seem to support the text (somewhere), but the text never makes any reference to any of the pictures to clarify what the text means (or conversely, to clarify what the pictures are depicting).

The photo series on page 149 goes (l-r) year 2, 4, 5 then (on a different row of pictures) 5, 7 and an unmarked illustration (that probably should have been joined with an illustration on page 148), then another undated picture, year 1, and year 4.  I couldn't really understand the arrangement so tried to make sense of it with the understanding that Japanese read right to left.  It makes no more sense in that direction though.  I'm really at a loss as to why this arrangement of pictures was chosen.

In studying the pictures of trees given as examples of what's possible if you follow the steps given in this article, another puzzle was discovered.  The lower-right tree on page 150 with the caption "Mr. Matsuo decided to pot this sweet little shohin in a bonsai pot after only seven years ..."  The lower-left tree on the opposite page with the caption  "Black pine.  six years from seed."  If you study the two images I dare you to find a difference in the trees.  The photos are taken from different angles, but ...they're of the same tree.

The details of this article are priceless.  Its organization and illustrations really distracts from what could be a great article.  I wonder if its original printing in Bonsai Today dealt with the material in any less confusing of an arrangement.
Title: Re: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: John Kirby on January 30, 2010, 10:52 AM
Wayne, Yes it did. There were a couple of very good shohin/kifu JBP from seed articles in the first 20 or so. The Book is nice in that it puts several related topics into one place. I find this and the Juniper book to be good coffee table (or bathroom...) books, but not really useful in the practical sense.

Title: Re: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: mcpesq817 on January 30, 2010, 12:16 PM
I agree with John.  I thought the two books were a "how to" for pines and junipers, but they took the easy way out and compiled a number of old articles from Bonsai Today.  There is good info there, but particularly with the Pines book, the nomenclature is all over the place from article to article, and in some cases doesn't make sense (I believe they were translated from original Japanese articles).

In any event, there is some decent info there, but I have a feeling that one would get a lot more out of something like Boon's videos (which I'm planning to get).  Hopefully he comes out with more in the future on other topics :)
Title: Re: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: bwaynef on January 30, 2010, 03:34 PM
I may have a copy of one Matsuo's articles as it appeared in Bonsai Today (though I'm not exactly sure if I still have it).

I didn't want to place this in the review/Profiles/Interviews section because it was mostly a rant (but it might end up there). How hard would it have been to incorporate the pictures w/ the text.  All of the articles are heavily edited w/ additions and opinions of the editor (Wayne Schoech I believe).  I just couldn't believe how unintuitively it was laid out.

If anybody has those articles in the original Bonsai Today's and wouldn't mind loaning them, I'd be much appreciative.

ps.  He also mentions that he splits his seeds into 3 groups according to size, discarding the smallest, sowing the largest, and reserving the group in between.  It was never mentioned what those were reserved for or how/when they were used.  Does he feed them to the birds?

pps.  The 2nd Optional cutting of the seedlings leaves a few questions as well.  Is the 2nd optional cut done at the time of the 1st, but just in a different location ...or, as the pictures imply, after the 1st cutting has rooted.  If that's the case, why not just make the cut higher originally?

ppps.  Thanks for indulging me.
Title: Re: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: rockm on February 01, 2010, 08:24 AM
I haven't seen the article or books, but I do know that confusing art/pictures and text were sometimes a hallmark of Bonsai Today.

The publication, from what I understand, was put together with articles from Japanese Kinbon magazine--BT had the rights for them in the West. The articles were translated from Japanese to English by a contractor in Spain. The original meaning in the articles, nuance and finer points were sometimes garbled, turned upside down or lost completely. Not all articles wound up like that. Most were perfectly understandable. Some were incoherent gibberish...
Title: Re: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: bwaynef on February 01, 2010, 09:01 AM
The issue isn't the translation.  Its quite good.  Its the formatting and layout that lead to the confusion.  My problem with it is that it was simply unnecessary.  Have a heading when each year begins.  Order the photographs chronologically.  Refer to the pictures in the text by some sort of nomenclature that makes sense.  (Isn't that what editors are for?  I mean, he interjected throughout the book anyway.)  There was plenty of space allowed by the formatting.

Also, there were details that appear to have been left out as I mentioned in post-script earlier.
Title: Re: Kusida Matsuo's translated article in Stone Lantern's _Pines_
Post by: MatsuBonsai on February 01, 2010, 09:09 AM
I agree with rock, and for me the issue in some instances is the translation.  It seems the word "pinch" is used interchangeably for pinch, trim, pluck, and cut throughout the Pines book as well as the Juniper book.  It seems that's still the case on the Bonsai Bark blog as well.  For those that aren't aware of this it's a source of much confusion.