To prepare a tree for transplantation, experienced gardeners begin cutting roots in a circle around the base of the trunk a year or two before the move. The notion is that this can ensure the tree carries along a network of young roots which can immediately start absorbing water and nutrients in the new location.

This technique is the origin of the term nemawashi — literally "turning of the roots" and one of the first terms that foreigners learn in the Japanese business world. In corporate terms, nemawashi represents the preparatory phase before a major decision is taken.

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