Good ol’ Lynn Valley, 2011, a balmy summer evening: where and when I first met Hikaru Seino. After returning to his hometown of Sapporo, Hikaru-san started up Ganon Florist specializing in beautiful, evocative floral designs that are anywhere from tastefully conservative to sublime.
In an interview, Takanori Aiba said that he attempts “to portray the beauty of the spiritual union between humanity and the natural environment” and that his work “speaks of the human aspiration to live amongst and in tune with nature…” Hikaru Seino shares a similar vision where humans comfortably coexist with nature. In his work, we see a symbiotic union. It is welcomed. It is a way of life.
In the winter of 1999, I took a class that I think was called Issues in Contemporary Literature. It was taught by Paul Budra of SFU’s Department of English. The theme was horror and it was maybe one of the best courses I have ever done as it showed me how historical context can shape the evolution of an artist and a story. It also introduced me to a bunch of fancy terms I can now use to talk about famous works, words like “epistolary” and stuff. Near the end of the term, one of the books we looked at was Kathe Koje’s Extremities. Fifteen or so years later, I am remembering her story, the Neglected Garden, and thought I would read it again after years more of accumulated perspective.
Here’s a brief description of Extremities found on goodreads.com: “In the 16 stories of Extremities, Kathe Koja enters the lives of ordinary people caught in extraordinary and often disturbing situations.”
And a brief description of the author from goodreads.com
“Her writing is lush and poetic, yet at the same time she leaves much unsaid, counting on the reader to ground the stories with his or her own sense of place. Koja’s blend of mundane characters, supernatural or at least unexplained situations, and a constant undercurrent of the erotic, is a satisfying and disturbing gateway into another world. Each story, unique in character and setting, gives a snapshot of an existence where reality and nightmares collide.” –Andy Bookwalter
In fact, got a break? You can read the three thousand word short story at weirdfictionreview.com:Ganon Florist, Hikaru Seino, inter-asian relations, Japanese Design, Plant Arrangement, Sapporo, vancouver