Today’s JBPP lesson was about taking phone messages. That was good practice, because I can’t always catch everything that’s said to me in Japanese, remember it all in Japanese, and write it all down in Japanese. It takes practice!
After school, I had my calligraphy lesson with S-buchou, who works at Yamasa, and is a fine calligrapher. He creates some beautiful work. There was a small group of about four of us. Z-san from my JBPP class was also there.
Today’s lesson was on the character for dragon, because next year is the year of the dragon, and it’s useful if you want to write 年賀状 ねんがじょう nengajou, or New Year’s postcards. Some people buy them, some do them by hand. Handmade are the best, but they take a lot of time to make.
Just about everyone in the class is better than I am. I’m out of practice, but I also know that even though I’ve been studying for five years or so, I still have a long ways to go.
I can write the characters just fine, but I don’t know how to add the right level of “oomph!” to it to make it as impactful as I’d like it to be.
S-buchou is really into デザイン書道 dezain shodou, or maybe the best way to put it is shodou that has non-traditional artistic elements to it. So instead of just writing the character for dragon, make the character for dragon with the characteristics of a dragon. It makes for really cool artistic expressions of what the artist’s image of a character is.
He’s a really neat person to talk to. I’m so glad my Japanese has gotten to the point where we can chat!
He showed us this one long brush that was impossible to handle. As you use up ink, it goes from being a fluid, flowing brush to suddenly seizing up into some twisted shape. It’s like trying to write with a small animal’s tail, while the small animal is still using it. I want one! (Brush, not animal.)
I love the results I got with that brush. I have a feeling, though, that it will take me 20 years or so to get the hang of it.
S-buchou agreed to meet with me on Wednesday so we can talk about where I can get one. He knows a guy in Toyohashi who made his brush, and can sell me one, too.
Toyohashi is a great place to go for calligraphy brushes (fude in Japanese). It’s a region where they’ve been making them for quite a while now, and the quality is famous in Japan. I’m excited! I’ll probably go to Toyohashi on Saturday.