〜This is May カエルの歌〜

This is the first seasonal phrase for the month of May.  The sentence is:  Frogs begin croaking in plow-land, which imply summer season begins and farm activities also start in earnest.

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5月最初の七十二候の名称です。田畑で蛙が鳴き始める。つまり、夏が始まり、農作業も本格的に始まるということでしょうか。

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〜Start of summer 先生からのプレゼント〜

Today falls on the first day of summer on the old calendar.  Unfortunately, though, it is rainy now and the weather forecast says it will be rainy all day.  The photo shows two little works my teacher gave me that I asked to be arranged on a panel board.  The right one is his own haiku on this day, the first day of summer.

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今日は立夏に当たります。雨模様が残念です。写真は、先生からいただいた短冊2作品をパネルにまとめてもらったものです。右側が先生自詠の立夏の句です。

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〜April’s last seasonal phrase 牡丹華〜

“Peony flowers open” is the April’s last seasonal phrase.  I hope it suggests the arrival of a gorgeous season.

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4月の最後の七十二候の名称です。華やかな季節の到来ということでしょうか。

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〜Budding reeds この時期の七十二候〜

The seasonal phrase for this time of the year is this, “Reeds start budding”.  I wonder if people living in a watery environment know as much about this phenomenon in nature.

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『葭始生』この時期の七十二候の名称で、葦が芽吹き出すという意味だそうです。水辺に住んでいる人なら実感があるのでしょうか。

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〜First rainbows 見たいですよ、それは!〜

“Rainbows start to be seen after rainfalls”.  The seasonal phrase for this time of the year is this.  It would be so nice if that really happens.
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この時期の七十二候の名称、「虹始見」です。雨の後に虹が見え始めるということらしいです。
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〜Seasonal phrase 確かに暖かい

The seasonal phrase for this time of the year is “Flight of geese travel back to north”.  Surely, we have been having warm days, or rather, as it is so warm you could use the word “hot” at times.  I, unfortunately, am ignorant about this bird’s behavior, though.

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この時期の七十二候の名称は、「鴻雁北」で、雁が北方に戻っていくということだそうです。このところ暖かいというより、いきなりむしろ暑いと感じる日も増えてきました。けれども、この鳥の習性のことはわかりません。

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〜Seasonal phrase 玄鳥至〜

The seasonal phrase for about a week starting today is this, namely, “swallows arrive” migrating from south.  The characters in the phrase literally mean “black birds come”.  Now, I remember swallows used to come and build nests every spring at the entrance of my mother’s natal home.  I also remember people were happy to have them, believing the birds bring happiness.

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今日から一週間ぐらいの七十二候の名称がこれです。玄鳥つまり黒い鳥は燕で、燕が南から渡ってくるという意味だそうです。そう言えば、母の実家の玄関先には毎年決まって燕が巣を作っていました。燕は幸運を運んでくると言って、皆が喜んでいたのを覚えています。

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〜First roll of thunder 雷乃発声〜

“People begin hearing distant rolls of thunder.”  In fact, this is the last seasonal phrase for March.  The drumstick you see on the left is a custom-made item of the famous drummer whose sad news of death was officially announced some time ago.  I am now remembering it was almost 20 years ago that I picked it up thrown to the audience by the drummer himself at the end of a concert. 

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「遠雷が聞こえ始める」実はこれは3月最後の七十二候の名称です。左側に写っているのは、先ごろ訃報が報じられた有名なドラマーの特注品のスティックです。コンサートの最後に彼が客席に投げたのを拾ってきたのは、20年近くも前だったかと思います。

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〜Seasonal phrase 今年の桜は〜

“Cherry blossoms begin to bloom.”  The website I frequent to check seasonal phrases to post here says this phrase is allocated to a week-long period from tomorrow.  However, the cherry blossoms this year seem to be hurrying.

「桜始開」ここに載せる七十二候を調べるためによく行くサイトによれば、この名称は明日からのもののようですが、今年は桜が早い気がします。

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〜Seasonal phrase  桃の花〜

The second seasonal phrase for March is “First peach blossoms smile”.  Smile or laugh 笑here is bloom; the expression “flower smiles” means “flower blossoms”.  Now, that is definitely my favorite depiction.

3月二つ目の七十二候の名称は、「桃始笑」。「笑」はこの場合「咲」で、「花が咲く」ことを「花が笑う」という私の大好きな表現です。

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〜Worms move  啓蟄〜

Today marks Jingzhe, the season when wintering insects come out of hibernation.  I searched a poem from ancient China by this keyword and found this interesting one.  It is only a passage of the whole poem that expresses “wondering in fields inadvertently to find myself at your door”, which I think a poor excuse.

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今日は啓蟄なので、これをキーワードにして古い漢詩を探したら、この面白いのが見つかりました。これは全体の中の一節ですが、「何の気なしに歩いていて、気づいたら君の家の戸口にいた」ということらしいですが、下手な言い訳だと思います。

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〜Nature moves  草木萠動

This is the first seasonal phrase for March, which means “as the weather gets warmer, vegetation begins to bud”.  The last Chinese character means “to move”.  I feel this is the most suitable character for the phenomenon.

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三月の初めの七十二候の名称で、暖かくなるにつれて、草木が芽吹き出すという意味だそうです。「動」という字がぴったりだなと思います。

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〜Seasonal phrase 飛び出る魚〜

The seasonal phrase for the middle of February is this, “fish jumps out of ice cracks”.  I think it is a pleasurable image that reminds people of the spring season.  I am not sure if something like this actually happens, though.

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2月中頃の七十二候の名称がこの「魚上氷」です。割れた氷の間から魚が飛び出る・・・春という季節の嬉しさを思わせる愉快なイメージだと思います。実際にそんなことが起こるかどうか分かりませんが。

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〜Where to? お元日〜

Today marks the first day of the year according to the lunar calendar.

“Riding upon the wind, riding upon the wave.”

How far can we go?

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今日は旧暦の元日です。

「風に乗って 波に乗って」

どこまで行ける?

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〜To melt ice 春風〜

I learned it meant “east wind or spring wind begins to melt ice”.  This is the first seasonal phrase for the month of February.

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東風解凍。春風が氷を溶かし始める、という意味らしいです。2月初めの七十二候の名称です。

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〜To trap winter 逃げそうなものは〜

It is windy and very cold today.  However, according to the old calendar, spring already began yesterday, and a little hint of the spring season seems to be in the air.  When something is leaving, I wonder if wishing to deterrent it is an innate tendency of human nature.

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今日は風が強くて寒いですが、立春も過ぎて春が近づいている感じがします。過ぎ去って行こうとするものを何故か留めておきたいというのが人間の性なのでしょうか。

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To trap winter/

In a transparent glass case/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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〜First day of spring 左右対称〜

Today marks the beginning of spring, according to the old calendar, so this is “first day of spring; very lucky”, a kind of motto for this day.  I have heard because all four characters are bilaterally symmetric, the phrase looks the same when seeing both from the front and the back, and so it creates ultimate happiness.

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立春のためのモットーのようなものですが、4字ともが左右対称なので、表から見ても裏から見ても同じで、それで縁起がいいのだと聞いたことがあります。

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〜Coldest season 本当に寒い〜

Today is referred to as the coldest day in winter.  It has been a really cold winter.  However, the sunlight is becoming brighter and brighter.

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今日が大寒に当たるようです。この冬は本当に寒いです。けれども、日差しは明るくなってきました。

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Large drops of stars/

Remembering/

It is the coldest season/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

 

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〜Male pheasant 二通り〜

This is the seasonal phrase for mid-January, which means male Japanese pheasants begin singing.  However, again, I don’t think I have seen pheasants in my life, so I have no idea what their voices are.  As I have no clear pictures of them, I tried two versions.  I wonder if they live nearby, in Tadasunomori forest for instance.

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1月半ばの七十二候の名称で、雄の雉が鳴き始めるという意味らしいですが、残念ながら、またも、雉を見たことがありませんし、どういう声で鳴くのかも分かりません。それでイメージも湧きませんし、二通り書いてみました。雉は近くに生息しているのでしょうか、例えば糺の森などに。

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〜Water under the soil 寒い!〜

 

It is a sleety morning.  However, the weather forecast says the temperature will go down and will be snowy.  I hope this phrase for this season that suggests “frozen fountain under the soil begins to move” holds true.

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今はみぞれが降っていますが、これから更に気温が下がって雪になるそうです。この時期を表す「地中の凍った泉が動き始める」というこの語句が本当でありますように。

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〜Long tradition 七種粥〜

Following the very old custom, today, January 7th, I cooked rice porridge with seven kinds of herbs of spring time.  As many of you may know, one of the herbs is Japanese parsley that appears in the article I posted yesterday.  When cooking the porridge, I used packed herbs I bought at a nearby grocery store and some long-forgotten sticky rice for pounding “mochi”, which fortunately caused no problems.

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やはりそれが習慣だからと思い、七種粥を作りました。そのうちの1種の芹は、昨日の投稿に出てきます。スーパーで買ってきたパック入り七種と長い間放置していた餅米で作りましたが、問題なかったです。

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Sat at the table alone/

To celebrate the New Year/

With porridge with seven herbs/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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〜Seasonal phrase 芹〜

This seasonal phrase is for around the second week of January.  It means “Japanese parsleys grow smoothly”.  I like this leaf vegetable in hot pot cuisine.

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1月1週目辺りの七十二候の名称で、芹がよく育つということらしいです。私はお鍋に入っているのが好きです。

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〜From Earth into Air 風の時代へ〜

From the viewpoint of astrology, the time has shifted from the time of earth energy that lasted more than 200 years to that of air energy.

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And thus, it is “wind or air”, my favorite letter but very difficult.

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西洋占星術の観点からすると、200年以上続いた地の時代から風の時代へと移ったところです。

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それで『風』です。好きな字ですが、難しい。

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〜Bear hibernates 熊の生態〜

Seasonal phrase around this time is this, “bears hole up for hibernation”.  However, actually and luckily, wild bears don’t inhabit where I live, and I am not sure if this phrase fits the season.

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この時期の七十二候の名称は、「熊蟄穴」で、熊が冬眠のために穴に隠れる、という意味だそうですが、幸いなことに実際にはこの辺りに野生の熊はいないので、これがこの時期に合っているのかどうか分かりません。

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〜Seasonal phrase 完全に冬〜

The seasonal phrase for around the second week of December is “chi, or life energy of heaven and earth clogs up and the winter season arrives and stays”.

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12月の2週目あたりの七十二候の名称は、「閉塞成冬、つまり天地の気が塞がり冬となる」です。

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〜Immeasurable prospects 無限の可能性〜

The Western astrology has kept expressing out loud the “New Era”.  I have been thrilled!  Somehow, I am excited.  Am I too simple?

And this is the framed work that I posted on July 20th.

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西洋占星術の世界で『新しい時代』が叫ばれ続けています。楽しみです! 何故かワクワクします。単純?

というわけで、7月20日に投稿した作品の表装済みの姿です。

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〜Coldest days 地始凍〜

This phrase meaning “the earth begins to freeze” is allocated around this time, according to the old lunar calendar.  Although in Kyoto, we are having coldest days of this winter these last few days, I haven’t actually seen the earth freeze yet.

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七十二候では、この句がこの時期に充てられています。京都ではこの数日がこの冬の寒さの底となっていますが、地面が凍っているのはまだ見ていません。

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〜 Phrase for the season 時々、しとしと 〜

The seasonal phrase according to the subdivided solar terms around the end of October is “It drizzles softly”.

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10月の末に向かっての七十二候は、『小雨がしとしとと降る』。

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New moon in the libra 天秤座新月

“Airy-fairy wave motion”
“Fresh breeze”
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I found these phrases in astrological websites. New moon in the libra; early this morning. Lots of fun events should happen.
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Creation should sale with the wind, as well.
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『軽やかな波動』
『新しい風』
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いくつかの占星術のサイトで見つけた言葉です。今朝未明の天秤座の新月。楽しいことがたくさん起こりそう。
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創造にも追い風。
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Future changes 変化は恐れない

It is easy just say that we must not fear changes.

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However, in reality it is helplessly scary, but at the same time, I feel kind of excited imagining how I will undergo changes.

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変わっていかなければ、と思うばかりで、やっぱり怖い。でも変わるのは面白いかもしれない。

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Chrysanthemums

This phrase of the season is roughly allocated to mid-October.  It means “chrysanthemums bloom”.

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Unfortunately, the flower is often associated with funerals these days in Japan.  However, cultured people often say it has been considered to be a prestigious kind of flower.

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First full moon of the month

At the end of the month, there will be the second full moon of October.

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Against the full moon/

Game named/

Charade/

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Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Hibernation

This phrase is one of the divided season phrases of the solar terms, allocated to the last few days of September and the few first days of October.

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It roughly means “insects and worms hide themselves under the soil and close the door to escape from the approaching cold”.

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Their will hibernate until Jingzhe, around March 6th.

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Last day

Today marks the last day of this year’s autumnal equinoctial week.

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During vernal and autumnal equinoctial weeks, Japanese people customarily visit their family graves, clean them and present offerings.

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However, I haven’t given much thought to that.

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Now, I have learned that in Buddhist thinking, during these weeks the distance between the land of the living and that of the dead becomes smallest.

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Photographs of my late parents/

Look young/

Autumnal equinoctial week/

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Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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New Moon in the Virgo and one more

Tonight’s moon is the Virgoan new moon.  I hope something drastically new happens.

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Another character means “sky, vault of heaven, eternal time” and what not.

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Hawks learn to fly

This phrase, one of the divided seasonal symbols from the solar terms means young hawks begin learning to fly around this time the year, that is, about the fourth week of July.

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“Lotus flowers begin blooming”

Here is a subdivided phrase of the solar terms for around this time, that is, the second or the third week of July.

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I thought adding some colors to my calligraphy might be amusing, when suddenly I remembered one of my past post about two years go.

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It is true that I am feeling a little lonely living alone in a house.  However, more than the loneliness I have been filled with sour-sweet memories of my young days.

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Summer solstice

It is the summer solstice today.  And as the name suggests, it is already sunny and hot. Moreover, it seems it will be hotter toward the midday.

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Pure white curtains/

Move to the morning wind/

Of the Midsummer Day/

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Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Day 0

This is how things have been prepared and arranged.

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I am now looking forward to being the one of the main characters in this fun event.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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January 15

People have long celebrated the day, January 15 as a kind of second New Year Day, because according to the lunar calendar, it marks the first full moon after the New Year Day.

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The well-known shrine in my neighborhood provides rice porridge cooked with azuki beans every year.

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I got some for my mother who will turn 92 in summer, because the porridge is supposed and expected to bring good luck to the elderly.

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I wrote “avoiding disaster”, “inviting happiness”, “health” and “longevity” for her.

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New Year resolution

This is my New Year resolution this year in connection with the full moon.

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“Be full of eagerness and also pliability”

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Not yet begun

This was exhibited in the First Exhibition of Yushokai held in July 2011.

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For this piece, I quoted a passage from Ms. Yukari Ishii’s blog, which unfortunately she erased completely some time ago.  She is a super popular astrologist and writer and writes on many subjects other than horoscope reading.

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The passage can be roughly translated…

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“Misty kind of non-entity that might be going to be a river but forms nothing yet”

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In those days, I was into using very light colored ink.

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Professional calligrapher?

This is one of my pieces exhibited at the first exhibition of Yushokai in July, 2011.

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I was very much inspired by a book about Zen phrases written by Ms. Yukari Ishii, a well-known and popular astrologist and writer and picked one item from the book as a motif for my calligraphy work.  Being a great fan of hers, I sent her my best work.

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Then, to my ultimate delight, she posted its photo on her blog on November 11, 2010!!

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Regrettably, however, one day she stopped writing her blog quite suddenly.

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And more regrettable at this point is the fact that I had sent her the best one and so what the photo shows is my second best.

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