Flowers and Ikebana

Coconut: Missing Philippine Summer

Coconuts, white sand beach, fresh fruits… hmmmmm… As the temperature rises here in Tokyo, it makes me feel like I am in the Philippines – very sunny and hot minus the nice beach and delicious tropical fruits! During this time of the year, most of my friends are trying to beat the summer heat by either climbing the mountains or enjoying the water. Although we live just a few meters away from Tokyo Bay, it’s still not the same.

bohol beach
Pastel-colored beach in Bohol, Philippines

A few weeks ago, I was so happy to find fresh coconuts from the supermarket. For almost three years that I have been in Nishi-Kasai, it was my first time to see fresh coconuts here. To my excitement, I immediately grabbed two pieces – one for me and one for my husband! However when we wanted to open one, reality struck: neither me nor him has ever tried opening a coconut!! I love coconuts especially those with young and soft meat. But back in the Philippines, there is always a manong (typically used to call an older man you do not personally know) who opens the coconut with his big bolo.

It has a challenge for the both of us but after half an hour, we were able to enjoy our coconut meat and juice using a handsaw. And for some reason, I tried to save the shell by drying the inside under the sun for a couple of days.


Coconut Vase for My Ikebana

Last Tuesday as I prepare for my afternoon Ikebana class, it gave me an idea where to use my coconut shell. As much as I can, I always try to incorporate my roots in my works to remind me of the place where I started to love the art of flower arranging. It is also my way of fusing two cultures into one beautiful workpiece. I used the coconut as the vase for Ikebana that day. The inside shell is hard and woody, it can hold the water quite well. On the other hand, the outer shell gives a soft yet rustic appeal. For the flowers, I used dark pink peonies to contrast the light colored-vase. I also used a white carnation with red border to balance the whole arrangement. And to add some character, I used some white and green-striped grass.

Coconut Ikebana
Repurposed coconut shell with peonies and carnation


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