Friday, May 2, 2008

My first attempt at Japanese shodo calligraphy. The large characters mean "daffodil," and the small characters to the left are my name.

Aren't my slipper socks cute?

Hello, hello! If you haven't done it yet, check out the links that Jen posted on the comments page for my April 23rd entry. They will make you laugh, laugh, laugh!

On Wednesday this week I walked up to the army base, Camp Zama, and took a Japanese shodo calligraphy class at their arts and crafts center. It was great! My Japanese instructor has been a calligrapher for about 30 years, and I learned so much from him in just a couple of hours. I have a much greater appreciation for the art form now. I enjoy doing Western-style calligraphy and I took a course in it during my college days, but I found the Japanese style so different and much more in tune with how you feel as you are writing or painting the characters. My instructor explained that your feelings and your strength are reflected in your brush strokes, and the simple act of breathing and how you hold your body are important parts of the process.

During the class, he had me practice several different brushstrokes, and then he let me pick a set of two characters to write that together mean "daffodil." I also learned to write my name---the first character means a wide river, and the second one means love. I'm not sure how he determined that these two things mean "Ellen," but I'll just go with it. I've posted a picture of what I thought was the best sample I did. It is not even remotely close to being perfect, but it was my first attempt and I thought you might enjoy seeing it.

And the strange strawberry slipper socks? I just threw a picture of those in because I'm wearing them today and I think they are cute. I found them for 300 yen, or about $3. :-)


Ursula said...

Your "shodo" looks very authentic.

Okay the videos are a riot. I can't believe that people subject themselves to stuff like that. OUCH!!

Ellen said...

Aren't they crazy? I can't believe it either!

ES Me & Wonder Twin said...

This is brilliant. I would love to get a black motorcycle helmet and have the symbol for my name on the back...hummmmm here's thinking out loud. Maybe if I purchase one, I will have to send a "shodo" request.