Safflower in full bloom

This is the seasonal term for around the last week of May and is my favorite.

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For, safflower is written in Chinese characters as 紅花, which happens to be the name of one of my best friends.

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Almost summer season

The temperature is steadily going up and it is almost summer.

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So, these are paper fans with children’s songs of the summer season on them.

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The songs are about firework displays, fireflies and sudden showers, all of which are features of summer in Japan.

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My old piece

The photo shows my work from a long time ago that was exhibited in my first solo exhibition in early 2009.

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I have completely forgotten about this one, which makes me feel very old now.

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Its motif is Zen idea of steps toward enlightenment.  It is only the second step out of ten.

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Non-conventional “picture” postcards

Just as shown in my last entry, “calligraphy on postcards” is one of my main line of works.

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This time, I thought I would make a change in my idea on this “calligraphy on postcards”.

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So far, I have always tried hard to turn just an ordinary postcard into a work of art.  However, this time, I thought if they carried a small amount of characters or words, it would be something new and interesting, and hopefully, attractive.

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These postcards have “for flower-like you”, “I want to see you” and “Take care”.

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I very much wish people use them just like they use normal type of “picture postcards”, with pictures, photos or illustrations, that is.

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And I hope this idea would give more comforts to people’s “stay home lives”.

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New tries of the old style

The photo shows my latest works on postcards.

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I tried again combination of ancient forms of Chinese characters and those used today, which has always been my favorite.

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I wish these small pieces would work to spread this art and culture to the world.

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I very much wish to see these unpretending works of arts affixed on the doors of refrigerators, on the walls of kitchens or living rooms in many homes in the world.

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Juicy greenery

The photo shows my work of about ten years ago.  Its motif is a poem of ancient China describing growing greenery and longer summer days.

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One of my important friends sent me an email message containing a very impressive expression, “juicy greenery”.  She wrote this phrase to describe the dewy leaves of the forest near my house as she saw a picture I sent out to her.

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Then, I remembered this old work of mine.  I just hope it is as impressive as her creative, brilliant usage of words.

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Aoi Matsuri Festival

The most famous, popular and important festival in Kyoto, Aoi Matsuri Festival has been held on May 15th for a very long time, hundreds of years.

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However, regrettably, the main feature of the festival, that is, the parade has been canceled this year.

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The “college” in this haiku is thought to be Kyoto University, the poet’s alma mater.

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I remember when I was working part-time at that university, I noticed surprisingly many students from various parts of Japan showed great interests in cultural and historical events of the city, which made me even more proud of my hometown Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.

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The plant, one sort of “mallow” with kind of heart-shaped leaves at the bottom of the photo of the small garden at the back of my house is the important symbol of this festival.

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In the college too/

People talk about/

THE festival these days/

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Translation and calligraphy by Chio

Memories of my young days—Handmade mask

A very good and longtime friend of mine sent me another handmade mask.

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She has known me for a long time and I am sure the photo shows the fact very well.

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One more thing about the photo is it is my very first selfie in life.  I tried to do this only to find out I definitely need a selfie stick.

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Static noises from the records/

Myriad green leaves of early summer/

Look cold/

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Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Agreeable breeze

This is a well-known ancient Chinese poem on good climate of early summer.

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It describes pleasant air of the season.

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I hope we can fully enjoy this beautiful weather, but…

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I wrote this following a traditional rule of writing a poem, that is, how many lines there should be and how many letters must be put in the last line.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Here is a haiku of irregular rhythm I made around one year ago.

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People may be celebrating Mother’s Day in a new and different manner from they used to.

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I took up a blouse/

Mother’s Day/

Is coming near/

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Crane and dragon

These days, people can’t help feeling low.

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That is why I searched a motif that holds a tough mind and found this one.

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It roughly means a crane takes wings, kicking deep snow fields; a dragon flies into the sky, breaking up the frozen lake.  Breaking through any hardships, they exert their inherent ability to the fullest extent.

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Beginning of summer

Today marks the first day of the summer season according to the old calendar.

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The kana (Japanese alphabet) piece is a haiku.

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I hope this new season will give us energy.

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Transparent is/

The first star of the evening/

Summer begins/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Love is the ocean

This is my favorite image, the image of love’s inexhaustibility.

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Now, I know I am immersed in it.  Thinking back now, I realize I have always been.

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I wonder how I could change into the giving part.

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Mother’s 令和

Exactly one year ago, the very first day of this new era, that is, my mother did this 令和at the facility for the elderly.  She was ninety then.

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Remembering her, I composed a haiku on this.

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My mother/

Her calligraphy name: 絹笑 reached the era of 令和/

Summer is approaching, just around the next door/

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My name is …

My name as a calligrapher, a pseudonym, is 知櫻.

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I tried several times to prepare materials as a part for a layout of my new business cards to be designed by a longtime good of mine.

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What I really want to do is give impactful impression to those who see my business cards.

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Now, I am feeling very frustrated about being unable to go and discuss face-to-face this important matter with the designer.

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White flowers

Since a Japanese enkianthus tree in my garden is in full bloom now, I felt like searching on the net for an ancient Chinese poem on “white flower” as a material for my calligraphy work.

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However, what came out was this… a poem by Lu Tong, a poet in the Tang Dynasty and enthusiastic tea lover known as a deep understander of the tea ceremony culture.

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The information on the net says, the poet composed this poem to acclaim the ceremonial tea, because he thought he saw a beautiful scenery in a tea bowl composed of the clouds, breeze, white flowers and light.

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Another Zen words

The other day I wrote one of the well-known Zen phrases https://wp.me/p2EZhA-2AI and this is another one.

 

A website about popular Zen words says its rough meaning is “Check it by yourself whether it is cold or warm.”  In other words, don’t believe what others say, but believe in things that you have actually experienced yourself.

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I think I must admit that I am a kind of person who gets influenced by what others say quite easily, still I am sometimes tempted to say to some people, “Check yourself first!”.

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Am I hypocritical?

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Face masks!

Yesterday I got a couple of cute face masks from a very good, long-time friend of mine.  As the photo may show you, they are handsewn, just like the ones some people are wearing these days.

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Today I proudly used the blackish one going to the grocery store I frequent.

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Although my friend thought it might look somewhat strange to some people, in fact, only few people did a double take at it.

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I dropped/

Some of my real feelings/

Into a face mask/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Dragons!

Both my late first calligraphy teacher and my late mother were born in the year of the dragon, that is, in the Chinese astrological calendar.

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And I searched idioms with the character meaning “dragon” having positive connotations on the net.

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Then I found this one that roughly means in turbulent times a dragon, a symbol of a heroic brave appears and plays outstandingly.

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Second tries ~ Not perfect yet ~

The other day I wrote about my half-formed idea https://wp.me/p2EZhA-2Au and I hope to further polish up this idea, that is, “a Chinese character in a circle”.

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This time, I used some colorants and different types of paper, different in color and material to see how the ink turns out.

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Moreover, I tried to write thicker lines than before to make the characters stick out more.

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I am now hoping to create more sophisticated works next time.

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Rainbow

This phrase is from the solar system terms and it is one of the segmentalized one that is allocated to the period from April 14 to 19.

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It literally means “rainbow firstly appears”.

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I desperately want to see rainbows both actually and figuratively.

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Stay home

This phrase is one of the popular Zen words and it means “Your treasure is already in your hand”, in other words, you already have everything you need.  So, we only have to try and take notice of it.

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Above is what I learned from my calligraphy teacher and on the net.

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It simply reminded me of the story, “The Blue Bird” at first, however, now I am wondering if this one of the reasons we should stay home as long as possible….

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Good memories? Mixed emotions.

Cherry blossoms are beginning to fall.  However, the trees will certainly bloom new flowers year after year.

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Cherry blossoms always make me feel lonely and sad because they remind me of the people who loved the flowers but not here with me any longer.

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The photo shows my unadorned feeling toward the blossoms.

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It is a little depressing to think I will continue to have this kind of feelings every year.

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THE beginning

It all started here.

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The photo shows the very first samples my first calligraphy teacher gave me that I found when trying (just “try” and not “succeed” or “finish”) to tidy-up my house.

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Looking at these, I renewed a sense of gratitude to my first calligraphy teacher and his wife who were both great calligraphers; and my parents who let me continue practicing with them.

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Half-formed idea

I thought calligraphy on round sheets of paper might look cute and attractive.

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However, it seems it would take some more time for me to produce characters that would give out “round image”.

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Once upon a time…

I did some copying practice of my first teacher’s samples that he wrote for me more than fifty years ago.

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However, I have no memories at all about practicing these when I was a six grader.  I only remember he was a very kind teacher.

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Still, the books of samples he gave me are such invaluable treasures for me all through my life.

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Lo and behold!

風景異化 I read somewhere it means a scenery may look different to a different beholder, I am not sure if this interpretation is accurate, though.

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What is certain is that somehow it reminded me of a literary term “intentional fallacy” I learned years and years ago as a student.

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Flower gift

Someone came over and offered this flower arrangement for my mother who loved to see white flowers and passed away in February.

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I only wish she had survived to see these beautiful flowers.

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Live for today/

See white flowers/

Oh, the month of February/

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Calligraphy and translation by Chio

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Everything changes

Water flows.

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Things go away.

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Something new happens today.

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Stream of the waterfall/

In the mountains/

Spring approaches slowly/

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Calligraphy and translation by Chio

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Where happiness resides

It shows “the place happiness is”.

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I wrote this to dedicate to a very good, longtime friend of mine from high school days who has always been really supportive of me when I was going through hard times, and whose name begins with this letter 幸 or happiness.

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Rainy morning

It was a quiet rainy morning.

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Ordinarily, it should have been a peaceful morning.

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Oh, rain in spring/

Without any second thoughts/

THE virus/

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Calligraphy and translation by Chio

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Symbol of the solar term of this season

“A caterpillar changes into a butterfly.”

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Ordinarily, it should be the most exciting, delightful season.  However, it has never been like that this year.

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My ideal as a calligrapher

My ideal as a calligrapher

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What I desperately want are: the beauty of vibrancy of the lines and the beauty of the blank parts.

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However, both of the above are so hard to obtain.

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The photo shows “vibrancy”.

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Life

Today, on March 11th, prayers for life must have been everywhere in Japan and elsewhere.

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As above, so below

I learned the phrase means what is happening above somewhat coincides with what is happening on the ground.

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一心万花 (one heart, ten thousand flowers) has been my favorite motif for my calligraphy for long.  However, I now am certain this new phrase will be another favorite one for me.

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Acorn in a dream

This time <https://wp.me/p2EZhA-2zh&gt;, I had an impressive dream of a plump acorn in my hand.

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I seem to dream a little bizarre dreams before dawn these days.

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The photo shows my calligraphy of a letter “chestnut” in ancient style and present style.

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Spring breeze

Spring is just around the corner.  And I only remember my late mother.

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It was such a happy time for me to push my mother’s wheel chair and take a walk with her under cherry trees on a river bank.

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So deeply linked by fate/

Mother and daughter/

Even got tired of the fate/

Spring breeze laughs at the two/

Going, going laughing at them/

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Springtime

As today falls on Jingzhe, one of the solar terms, which is designated as the day of awakening of the hibernating insects, I searched and found this poem of springtime.

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Following is its rough meaning:

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“Spring breeze would not blow away my melancholy.  Longer spring days only deepen the grief in my heart.”

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As for its style, I followed an orthodox way of layout.

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My time has come!

And at the moment, I am feeling it has begun to flower more and more vigorously.

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Deer in a dream

I had an impressive dream of a young and very gentle-looking deer coming into my house.

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And…voilà!  Combination of an ancient character and the one used today for “deer”, my favorite!

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Chosen ones

Someone liked these very much and offered to buy them from my shop on eBay.

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Now, I am determined to expand the selection of my calligraphic works in my online shop.

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YouTube channel

I posted a new video on my YouTube channel (chio_art).

Check this and enjoy seeing how characters are born out of an artist’s arm and a small brush!

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The video shows my piece of a tanka by Hakushū Kitahara.

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As a matter of fact, I chose this one two years ago for collaboration work with my late mother, when I asked her to write the last one letter, “FLOWER”.

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Those who saw her letter were all amazed at its dynamic touch.

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But here, please enjoy the movement of the small brush produced by my arm.

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R.I.P.

My mother and I created four-parter works last year with her big letters of flower names and my haiku about those flowers.

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This “DAFFODIL” was the first one we did and our teacher suggested we do other flowers, as well.

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Then I got a hint from her comment and thought we would make works about flowers of the four seasons.

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Daffodils are/

Assertion that/

Pierces the frost/

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Huge work of art

The other day, I enjoyed visiting an exhibition of a calligraphy group specializes in kana characters, or Japanese phonogram.  This style of calligraphy has a long history and many fans even today.

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Firstly, the scene of many pieces with a same kind of touch was “new” to me.  For, my teachers and fellow students quite naturally do both “kana” and “kanji” or Chinese characters calligraphy.

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However, I didn’t feel any monotonousness in the negative sense.

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Quite the contrary, the venue itself looked like one big piece of kana calligraphy art, with its refined, elegant atmosphere.

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One more thing that I have noticed there was the sincere effort to be good from both the teacher’s side and the students’ side.

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Now, I am looking forward to seeing the next exhibition of this group.

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Celebration

This character is often used when celebrating weddings and longevity.

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However, I once heard it should accommodate to any kind of happy occasion, sort of an almighty character, if you will.

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I tried writing the letter on this little unusually shaped paper.

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I am going to attach this little piece to little presents to friends, wishing for their happiness.

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YouTube channel

I posted a new video on my YouTube channel (chio_art).

Check this and enjoy seeing how characters are born!

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The video shows “New (Fresh)” and “Wind”.

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It has been pretty cold these couple of days in Kyoto.  However, the sunshine is obviously stronger and brighter, which makes me quite certain that spring is just around the corner.

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Start of the joyful season

According to the old lunar calendar, yesterday marked the beginning of spring.

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“Start” “Spring” “Excellent” “Fortune”

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This phrase is a kind of a motto of that day and has been believed to work as a charm to drive away evils and bring in happiness.  I have once heard that people in ancient times sensed something auspicious because all the letters are bilaterally symmetrical.

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For copying practice, I picked four characters from a book of collection of various letters written by my first teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道).  That book was compiled in a dictionary format by my senior calligrapher at his school.

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Visiting shrines

For some years now, I have been interested in visiting shrines at various occasions.

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Today it is Setsubun, the end of the winter according to the old lunar calendar, so I went to Yoshida Shrine, the most famous shrine in Kyoto regarding this occasion, where people say most elderly people in Kyoto gather for the occasion.

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Oh, birds chirp/

Shrine gave me the oracle/

Written on a pale-green paper/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Big event in March

It is such a pleasure for me to announce that I got an opportunity to set up a booth at “Kyoto ART craft market 2020 Spring” to be held from Friday, March 13 through Sunday March 15 at THE MUSEUM OF KYOTO.

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Here are its official poster for announcement and the photo of my work to be printed on the handouts.

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Please come visit my booth on the Sanjo Street, Kyoto.

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I love taking calligraphy lessons!

The photo shows the tasks for today’s practice session.

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It is always extremely difficult for me to unlock the desire for expression.

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