the tree three or four days after I ordered it. It arrived in perfect shape, with plastic over the soil which was still damp! There was no way it was going to be damaged in shipping, but it was SO well packed I was worried about hurting it while taking it out of the box. It seemed perfectly healthy, all of the leaves being green, anyway. Its bent form was not identical but equivalent to that shown in the picture, and with that I was pleased.
Never having dealt with bonsai before, I approached my caretaking with some trepidation. I read a couple of books (101 Essential Tips- Harry Tomlinson, for one), and another one picked at random from Amazon's wide selection. The most important thing I got out of the books was the importance of watering. The soil must be kept damp. It seemed like water just flowed through the soil into the evaporation tray without any staying in the pot, but there was nothing I could do about that. Still, I water it daily (as directed) and so far (two months), somewhat to my surprise it has thrived.
In fact, although it is Fall, there is actually new growth--tiny little leaves popping out at the end of some branches! I guess whatever watering I am doing is sufficient. It will be interesting to see how it will survive the Winter. It is an outdoor tree (and it is important to know when you are considering getting a bonsai plant whether it is indoor or outdoor) and requires the dormant period of cold and short days. It should be watered as often as possible even then (obviously if the soil is solid ice that won't be possible).
If it dies anytime from here on out, it is on me; the plant itself as delivered was healthy and happy. I do not hesitate giving the tree five stars, and would buy bonsai from Amazon again.