My experience with Japan’s Flower Tribute Tour was very gratifying, I still cannot believe how special it was. I was selected to represent Flowers of Colombia in a mission to pay homage to Japanese women through our finest flowers.
Once I knew how I wanted this tribute to occur, I sought help from someone who would turn these exquisite Colombian flowers into amazing creations: a skillful Japanese florist named Kyoko Fujita. I asked her to design two types of bouquets, representing a duality in Japanese culture. The first one, a symbol of tradition and, the second one, of modernity. Ms. Fujita understood what we wanted to convey with our tribute, the precious balance of different values and the way beauty is born from diversity.
The first design, intended for traditional women, highlighted the nuances of a red palette with crimson, deep burgundy and dark hues of pink; an ensemble with a very clean shape, just lovely. The second arrangement spoke to modern women, with a more spontaneous design. A mix of carnations, roses, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas in different varieties created a fresh composition in pastel yellow, pink and green.
The homage took place in Tokyo, a fascinating city that balances the old and the new, a place where you feel surrounded by great people and fantastic stories. You can see skyscrapers and bright city lights contrasting with ancient temples and serene parks.
Something we considered when thinking about this tribute was the loving relationship Japan has to nature: flowers are a cherished part of Japanese daily life. As a foreigner, I’ve come to understand that flower symbolism is a part of Japan’s essence. They are featured in traditional and contemporary culture through art, literature and films. There are festivals made to celebrate their blossoming and even consumer goods created around them.
Walking around Tokyo you can feel the palpable contrast between the old and the new. This duality is expressed through the way women dress, act and feel. Some display their heritage through every detail and others gaze at the future, with effortless style. This trait gets to me because it reminds me of the best feature of Colombian floriculture: diversity.
In my country we produce different types of flowers and, within those hundreds of flower types, there are thousands of varieties, colors, scents and shapes. An ideal mixture of traditional and modern blossoms in Colombian floriculture to express all kinds of feelings.
This is why Ms. Fujita was tasked with two designs. Something to connect timeless flowers with timeless Japanese women and something surprising to honor spontaneous Japanese women.
I wandered off in the middle of Tokyo to find the women I wanted to give these special flowers to. Not an easy task. I must confess, when I first approached them randomly, they seemed a bit apprehensive or rather surprised. Once I explained the motives I’ve just shared with you, they were marveled and excited. They gave me their most genuine smiles and a big “Arigato Gozaimasu” while embracing their floral arrangements. That experience made this whole trip worthwhile.
I felt proud to represent Flowers of Colombia in our Tribute Tour. It was a new way to connect to Japan. With every flower our farms send their way, there is also a wish for Japanese women and men to discover our country and its own diversity.