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In my Minna no Nihongo book (Chapter 12), it says that 生け花をします means to practice flower arrangement. If that is so, they how do you expressing, "flower arranging or arranging the flowers or doing flower arrangements"? An example sentence.

  • X: What are you doing right now?
  • Y: I'm doing flower arrangements for tonight.
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I guess I'm failing to understand your point, but the conversation between X and Y appears fine to me. What is the confusion? Practicing 生け花 can mean both improving skills (i.e., 練習{れんしゅう}) and just the state of being familiar with it. –  Taro Sato Oct 20 '12 at 19:36
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I think your english example is grammatically incorrect and ambiguous in meaning, thus making it hard to translate. "I'm doing the flower arrangements for tonight." is what you're looking for i think. ( "I'm doing flower arrangements for tonight." could mean "i'm practicing the flower arrangements for tonight) –  yadokari Oct 20 '12 at 19:41
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If one is preparing/making/arranging the flower displays for an event (I am deliberately using different expressions from thse used so far) then perhaps the following expressions would be more commonly used in day to day life? 花飾り, 花の装飾. I might be confusing this with attaching flowers to clothes but Space Alc gives me: 私はもっとクリエイティブな花の装飾をやりたかったんです。I wanted to do more flower arranging that required more creativity. –  Tim Oct 21 '12 at 1:18
    
I think that Tim nailed down the problem with the question. Decorating a room with flowers is not generally called 生け花. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 21 '12 at 9:45
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2 Answers

There is a difference between doing the flower arrangements for an event and practising the art of 生け花 which is also known as 華道. Based on the the wikipedia definition (below) I suspect that referring to making the flower arrangements for a concert/event/room/church (or even the Chelsea flower show) as 生け花 is akin to describing a visit to Buckingham Palace for tea with the Queen as 茶道 (the tea ceremony).

When arranging flowers as a decoration but not practicing 生け花 the more correct expression is probably:

テーブルに花を飾る , To adorn/decorate a table with flowers

When referring to the flower arrangements in say a church or a room the correct expression for the flower arrangements is 花の装飾

Based on the the following sentences in Space ALC:

しかし、花を飾るのはすべて独学です。

However, his flower arranging was completely self-taught.

私はもっとクリエイティブな花の装飾をやりたかったんです。

I wanted to do more flower arranging that required more creativity.

There are a number of ways of saying "I am now doing the flower arrangemnents for tonight." depending on the context and scale of the operation but if this is a small event (say a table at a party) then the following would suffice:

今、今夜の花の装飾をしています。 "I am now doing the flower arrangemnents for tonight."

If you are practicing Ikebana for some event (possibly a demonstration) then the following would be appropriate:

今夜の生け花の練習をしています。 I am practicing Ikebana for tonight.

Definition in wikipedia:

More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The artist's intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece's color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement.

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Here is my guess, but please forgive me if it contains mistakes:

X: What are you doing right now?

Y: I'm doing the flower arrangements for tonight.

X: 今、何してんの?

Y: 今晩のため、生け花をしています。

But if you are interested in a more ambiguous meaning:

Y: I'm doing flower arrangements for tonight.

(could mean practicing them for later tonight or actually doing them for tonight)

Y: 今晩の生け花をしています。

Edit: I had suggested 今晩の生け花をしておきます as a possible translation, but upon hearing other opinions, I think this would mean "I will do the Ikebana arrangement for tonight." For further examples of ~ておきます see: http://j-learning.com/diapo//L30diapo.pdf

In your quoted example, します can mean "practice," but does not explicitly mean this. 生け花をします can also mean "to do Ikebana flower arranging." For a more explicit expression of practice, one can use 練習.

As per Taro Sato's example:

今夜の生け花の練習をしています。

I am practicing Ikebana for tonight.

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I think I now see what the confusion in the original post, and both sound fine to me. You could potentially make things more explicit by saying 今夜分の生け花の練習 for example, but the gist of the original question was about the ambiguity of します. –  Taro Sato Oct 20 '12 at 20:10
    
thank you for your suggestion. what does 今夜分 mean? –  yadokari Oct 20 '12 at 20:17
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@TsuyoshiIto: Most likely this is a cultural disconnect on my part. However, I take it that if you can "practice flower arrangement", then you can actually "do flower arrangement". Similar to "practicing a dance" and "doing a dance". –  dotnetN00b Oct 20 '12 at 23:23
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@yadokari: just a suggestion, but for someone studying from Minna no Nihongo (beginner book), you might want to avoid the casual 今、何してんの? because it may be confusing for that level. –  istrasci Oct 21 '12 at 2:11
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@dotnetN00b I don't think ん is a contraction of の here. I believe it is something called "nasal assimilation". しているの (してるの) becomes [shterno], and the rn sequence "assimilates" to nn. So ん is taking the place of /r/, not の. –  snailboat Oct 21 '12 at 18:12
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