Posts Tagged ‘calligraphy’

Adult Material

2011年 8月 24日

In November 2007, my Japanese calligraphy study commenced. My teacher would write a model using orange ink and I would spend a few sessions trying to duplicate her work. About the end of 2008 with my interest growing, under the pressure of a friend’s encouragement, I joined the Japanese Calligraphy Society. 三段合格作品Monthly magazines, models to duplicate, and other support come from the society. Under my teacher’s guidance I practice works each month and, at the end of the month, submit one or two clean copies for evaluation. Judges in Kyoto send my works back with orange mark-ups on where I should improve.

Each month there is also the chance to move up to a higher rank. As our levels increase, so do the expectations; hence, the promotions become more rare. Upon entering the society I set an aggressive goal of fifth dan, at which level one receives the highest teaching license. Early success buoyed me up, but sometimes life throws challenges which interfere: being struck by a car; getting married; trouble with the tax man; death in the family; all manner of things have taken priority over study. Regardless – in life – we have to choose to move forward if we want to succeed. Setbacks are natural, but giving up means an end to progress.

Last Saturday, my teacher’s announcement lifted my spirits as I have now achieved third dan. Reviewing my high level works, I can see there is a significant difference in the overall balance of the current work. Additionally, third dan is a gateway to the higher levels; from this level we may study reisho, tensho, and Kampo sho styles. Reisho (隷書) has been my primary motivator lately, as I have wanted to practice it for a long time. I will post some explanation of it as I study.

My teaching license will now be upgraded to Advanced Level Teacher (高等師範) labeling me as qualified to instruct adults up to second dan.

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Promise Not Forgotten

2010年 4月 27日

二段合格My blog is full of unfilled promises right now. Hopefully during the summer I can make a list of them and start fulfilling them. Anyhow, here is one that’s been hanging out on the back burner. A few of my calligraphy works have been posted online, but my better works tend to be on the gasenshi (画仙紙), long paper often used for scrolls, which doesn’t fit nicely on a flatbed scanner.

Last July, I achieved 2nd dan (二段) which qualified me as a teacher for junior high level and below (中等師範) from my Tanabata work (七夕作品). My plan was to visit Lawson Station convenience store and make three scans of the top, middle, and bottom of the work. After that I would stitch the images together on my dual core and post it here. Around the time I was searching for appropriate software to merge the images, my computer problems started. I’ve managed to melt down both of my laptops a few times each.

Today, I had the files with me on a USB key, my time during 3rd period opened up, and I noticed my computer at this school had Panorama Maker from Arc Soft. Strike while the iron is hot, they say. The software was extremely simple to use (although it didn’t seem so at first, because of the UI) and in a minute it was all done.

I’ll write more about it later, but for now I’m just happy to have it up on the screen. If you click through, be careful; selecting the full-size image will take some bandwidth.

Excitement Among the Mundane

2009年 9月 2日

Before the term gets into full swing there aren’t many things for the Assistant Language Teachers to do. Of course we can prepare for classes, but there’s only so much of that to be done. Many ALTs over the years have complained about how they are just ignored but still expected to sit for 7 hours and 45 minutes being ‘busy’.

At my Wednesday school they have decided to take advantage of one of my skills and it has brought a little variety and excitement to what could have been a mundane day. Technically I am licensed to teach Japanese calligraphy to elementary and younger ages. One teacher who has been assigned the task of grading the childrens’ works finds it a bit laborious, so she has enlisted my aid.

Today we wrestled with which student from each grade created the best piece of calligraphy. A tough point in grading young students is that each work will include some positive points and, inevitably, some not yet developed points. So, whose weak points override their strong points and whose are vice versa is the critical factor. Rather than let it traumatize me, I had fun stretching out my creative fingers which have been cramped by recent traumatic events.

Most important point of the day: don’t read the names until after judging.

First Experience

2008年 10月 31日

My girlfriend told me about tsuitachi mochi (一日餅) and it sounded interesting, only she has never experienced it herself. For those of you who know a little Japanese or can read the kanji, you are probably scratching your heads trying to make sense of what you are reading. Tsuitachi is the first day of a month and mochi is made by pounding special rice until it becomes glutinous and yummy.

On the first day of each month, on Okageyokocho (おかげ横丁) – a very old street near the Inner Shrine in Ise – special mochi is served. Restaurants also have special okayu (お粥) – rice porridge – available. Reportedly, one should arrive around 5am if there is to be any chance of acquiring the goodies.

September and October first fell on inconvenient days for making the journey south, but November first is Saturday. I was worried that I would have to return for shuji class, but my knee injury is preventing me from sitting seiza (正座) so I’m taking a break.

I will head to Ise in the afternoon and stay in a hotel since the earliest train from here would be too late. Hopefully, I can join my girlfriend for a relaxing morning tasting new foods.

Beautiful Sitings Along the Trail 9

2008年 9月 30日

Continuing thread of little images from my hike the end of August.

At the summit I met a man who has worked with several of my colleagues. During our conversation, it came out that he is also interested in old handwritten Japanese like me. The next day he dropped off a bunch of documents to study, but I’m having trouble finding the time. What an interesting person to run into atop a mountain.