I just took my first Ikebana class. It was a one-on-one class with a Japanese instructor on the Navy base. It was probably 40% English, 40% Japanese, and 20% nods and smiles and her grabbing the scissor and showing me how to cut flowers the correct way.
I loved it. It appealed to what I like best about Japan: tons of rules (in this case on how to arrange the flowers), and then suddenly no rules! (Just rip that leaf right off. Who needs it.)
The arrangement looked way better in the classroom, this photo is a recreation I just did at home. And for the record, the instructor didn’t like the small flowers at all. She said they were western, and the arrangement was more Japanese without them. But she gave me a big bunch to take home and I was going to try to recreate it exactly, without those little flowers, but they smell so good I used them ALL.