〜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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White dew

Today marks 白露, one of the seasonal stages according to the traditional East Asian calendar. It literally means “white dew” and remarks that about this time, the atmosphere gets cooler and white dews begin to fall.

I practiced copying a work of a haiku on this season done by my first calligraphy teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道) many years ago.

Twisting bush clovers/

Won’t drop/

White dews/

Translation calligraphy by Chio

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Important factor in life

Important factor in life

I enjoyed an exciting reunion and a delightful conversation with people who led me to the greatest event in my life.  It is so hard to put into words how grateful I am to them.

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To an old friend

I got an e-mail message from a good, old friend from our high school days.  Incidentally, as the Mercury is retrograding, we may meet with each other for the first time in many years.  The letter is the first one in her name.

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Favorite flower and favorite haiku

For this single-leaf screen, I chose my favorite haiku about my favorite flower, hydrangeas.  I remembered about this screen when a kind-hearted neighbor gave us these flowers from her garden yesterday evening.  This screen is an old work of mine from about ten years ago.  It welcomed visitors at the entrance to my first solo exhibition.  I am now flooded with many good memories of the exhibition.

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Flash into eternity

Turning a flash into eternity is a task of a calligrapher:  my understanding of the art.

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First day of summer 暑かったですよね

According to the Solar term, today falls on this year’s first day of summer.

No wonder it was so hot.

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Transparent is the first star of the evening/
Summer is here now/

Translation and calligraphy by Tomoko

二十四節気によると、今日がまさに立夏。

暑かったはずです。

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Custom of visiting a grave お彼岸なので

 

I was planning to visit the grave of my mother’s natal home.  However, some serious affair prevented me from it.

昨日は母の実家の墓参りをするつもりでいましたが、別の要件のために行けませんでした。

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Old practice on the midwinter night 柚子入りお風呂

Today falls on the Winter Solstice.

It is a long tradition in Japan to enjoy a hot bath with a kind of citrus fruits in the bathtub on the night of the midwinter. The refreshing smell and the nice feeling of the water help you to relax.

I read a comment in a post on the Instagram that this custom also shows the Japanese people’s love of taking a bath.

Soft steam/

Is the central player/

Bath on the winter solstice/

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今日は冬至。

柚子湯はこの寒い時季のいい習慣だと思います。

誰かがインスタに、日本人の風呂好きがよく分かると書いておられました。

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Special moon 夜の散歩

After dinner on the eve of harvest moon, I went out for a short walk with my mother on her wheel chair and was in an ill temper a little, hoping she would feel better.  As she was appreciating the huge, beautiful moon, she obviously began to feel better and peaceful.

Bright moon/

Untangles/

Old mother’s emotional tension/

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中秋の名月の前夜、食事の後で、ちょっとご機嫌斜めの母と夜の車椅子散歩に出ました。大きくて綺麗なお月さんを見ているうちに母の心もほどけて行きました。

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Something wild 季節のことば

As I have been suffering from a cold, I haven’t practiced calligraphy for some time. Today, I resumed this activity by using two brushes, two brushes with extremely long tassels, that is.

The motif is a typical phrase for this season, “a caterpillar turns into a butterfly”.

As a matter of fact, I wish to have skills to express something wilder, unheard-of and unseen.

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風邪で暫く筆を持っていませんでした。

久しぶりに墨を磨って書いてみようと思ったら、つい筆を2本、それも長鋒を2本持っていました。

題材はごく普通に、この季節を表す「菜虫化蝶」。

本当は、もっともっと破天荒になりたい。

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Scattering roasted beans on the last day of winter なくなっていく行事

“Drive away ogres! Invite happiness into the house!”

When I was a small child, I used to hear the above phrase from houses in the neighborhood. People did shout while scattering roasted beans on Setsubun, the last day of winter, and I remember my father used to do that. However, these days in usual homes, the custom is seldom observed.

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私が子どもの頃、節分には普通の家庭でも「鬼は外! 福は内!」というのをやっていましたよ。

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Small gifts 祝・水星逆行

The Mercury has been going backwards for a few days now. I don’t dread that much about this period. For, I know from rules of thumb that I am often fortunate enough to meet someone for the first time in years during this period.

The photo shows my small gifts for the good old friend I am going to meet tomorrow. I do hope she will like them.

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水星が逆行を始めて3日ほど経ちますが、私はこの期間がそれほど嫌ではありません。経験則的に、この期間には懐かしい人に会えることを知っているからです。

写真は、明日会う予定の懐かしい友人へのおみやげです。喜んでもらえれば良いのですが。

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