Words of wisdom

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This is my work from around ten years ago.  The phrase is from the Analects of Confucius.  Its interpretation differs among each person.

I chose this one just because it has characters meaning “beauty” and “intellect”, the first letter of my name.  On top of that I wanted to see how the brush of a long sheaf of hair would work.

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Memory of a summer day

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I wrote this one about four years ago after visiting the facility for the elderly my mother then belonged to for the first time for a fun event for both the elderly and their families, a little concert of reed pipes.

In every household/

Is a good-hearted oldster/

Gourd flowers/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Favorite haiku

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This has been my favorite haiku for many years. However, I learned quite recently that this flower, hibiscus mutabilis, only blooms for one day and withers at sunset.

The man I put a curse on/

Is the one I love/

Scarlet flower of hibiscus mutabilis/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Excellent luck!

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Excellent luck!

Today I visited the shrine called Himukai-Daijingu for the first time in three months.  I got a written oracle there as I often do.  Its title said “excellent luck” which made me very happy, however, as I read the next part, I found a message in the form of the Japanese traditional poem, saying “You might feel as if you are walking on a rustic bridge over a swirling brook in a valley in the evening.”  And I wondered if this was really “Excellent luck”.

Then came an explanation that said as follows, “Although you at first have worries, you don’t need to dither.  Everything will be all right at the end.”

I just hope this divination comes true!

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Work from young days

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I am now trying to sort out my works from the past.  And in doing so, I found this one, which I have completely forgotten.  The movement of the brush gives awkwardness from youth.  In fact, I don’t use this seal under my signature any more.

The letters mean poetic gracefulness.

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Cheers!

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This wooden box cup for drinking sakéor Japanese wine was a souvenir for the hundreds of party participants that got together to celebrate longevity of my first calligraphy teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道)who enjoyed a long life.  He himself wrote two Chinese characters of good omen on each cup.

So, again, here’s to the art and culture of calligraphy!

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No wonder they are called “lanterns”

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Elderly people sometimes say the spirits of the ancestors come back home from the afterworld guided by the red Chinese lantern fruits.  I hope they have already arrived here safely for the Bon Festival or the Buddhist Festival of the ancestral spirits.

Inside the Chinese lantern fruit/

Scarlet universe may exist/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Girls’ luncheon party at an Italian restaurant

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This is no “fancy” restaurant at all, but I was happy to chat with one of my good old friends who had been hospitalized for a considerable period because of a serious injury.  The truth is, however, she still has pain in the leg.  Despite this, I heard she resumed practicing ping-pong, her greatest pastime.  And I admire her positivity.

Cicadas are out (and noisy)/

My friend is also out of the hospital/

We celebrated with red wine/

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Please stay cool

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As a little, humble present for the temple we follow and support, I asked my mother to write one letter on a paper fan, a hiragana  (Japanese syllabary character).  The letter is the first one of the temple’s name.  As my mother turned 91 years old last month and is rapidly forgetting various things, I showed her what to write.

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Autumn begins

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Looking after an old parent is no easy task, even if you are dealing with your own mother.

According to the old lunar calendar, today marks the first day of autumn.

Unleashing love-hate/

To mom/

Autumn begins/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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I love taking calligraphy lessons!

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This was the task for today’s practice session.

It is a large-scale poem from the ancient Japan with motifs of sky, star, moon and cloud…

When remaking on my work, our teacher said to me something like, “If the ink goes blur, let it blur to the end.”  In other words, I was too timid and impatient.

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Holding a brush

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Holding a brush

Young children, elderly people, ailing people…practically anyone can hold a brush and write.  I am sure this is the wisdom of the Orient.

A longtime good friend of mine from high school days took the photo for me to post on my “shops” on eBay and Etsy.

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Noisy insects!

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They say cicadas begin shrilling right after the rainy season is over.  How true that is!  And it makes you realize summer is about to reach its peak.

First shrilling of the cicadas of the year’s summer/

I wish that/

Wishing pays off/

Translation and calligraphy by Tomoko

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Dragons in the air

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As my first calligraphy teacher (秋山公道the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo) and my mother were both born in the year of dragon, I like visiting shrines associated with dragons.

Yesterday, I went to Shinsenen Shrine.  It was a beautiful place full of agreeable atmosphere.  I felt pleasant breeze blowing but unfortunately, I didn’t feel existence of dragons around, which some people with supernatural power may feel.

The photo shows my work of the letter 龍or dragon and a passage on the written oracle I got there.

Just outside your eaves/

It maybe storming/

But/

Inside your house/

Is springlike warmth/

Translation by Tomoko

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First visit at the hospital; first get-well gift

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My first teacher (秋山公道the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo) was almost 60 years old when I started going to his school at age six.

When he got very sick and was hospitalized for the first time, I was really surprised and shocked simply because that was a rare happening in my life then.

I went to his hospital room with a towel hanger in the shape of a hippo face with a big mouth as a get-well present.

Apparently, he was inspired by my childish gift, he wrote this haiku and made it into a piece of calligraphy work and later, he gave this framed work to me.

Towel hanger/

Making a clattering sound/

In the sweaty hospital room/

Translation by Tomoko

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Birthday girl!

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Today is my mother’s 91stbirthday.  She hasn’t been very well for some time.  But now she seems to be recovering her health. It is thanks, I think, to all the well-wishes and help from the people around her.

Even the rainy season feels nice and sweet/

When I cook the millet seeds/

My dear friend sent us for her/

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Important factor in life

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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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Strong woman

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Many years ago, at a language school I went to then, a teacher said to me, “You’re a strong woman.”  However, at that time, I didn’t believe him. I just couldn’t.  I am not very sure about that even now, but at present I am finally beginning to think he had an insight into true nature of me.

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To an old friend

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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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Going back to the point of origin 

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This is the very first task that my first calligraphy teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道) gave me about 57 years ago.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything else when someone comes to me and asks me to teach them basic calligraphy and I always give my new students this same task in the first lesson.  I asked my senior calligrapher how I could teach the beginners differently, and her answer was, “That’s only natural and it can’t be helped.  People can teach only how they were taught, after all.”

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Favorite flower and favorite haiku

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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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My dear friend 復活

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Recently, I was very happy to meet my old friend again after quite a long period. I put her name in a haiku to show my happiness.

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旧い友情が復活したので嬉しくて俳句にしました。彼女の名前を織り込んでいます、というだけのことですが。

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Thinking of you 祈り

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I have a dear friend who says she always thinks of my mother and me.

I suppose to think is to pray.

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いつも母と私のことを考えていると言ってくださるありがたい友人がいます。

考えるというのは、祈りなのだなと思います。

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I love taking calligraphy lessons! お稽古、楽しい!

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Although I have been telling the world that I love ancient letters, they are just difficult as a task in a practice session. It seems to be a one-sided love for me.

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古代文字が大好きと公言してきましたが、実際にお稽古の課題になると難しいです。片想いです。

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Snail’s horn 達観

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This is a passage from a poem by Bai Juyi.  I learned it roughly meant what the use of fighting in a narrow space like a tip of a snail’s horn was.  It must be the best, of course, if you get that kind of detachment.

Incidentally, I did this one with my left hand.

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白居易の詩の一節です。カタツムリの角の先のような狭いところで争ってどうするんだ? というような意味らしいですが、そんなに達観できればそれはいいですけどね。

ついでながら、左手で書きました。

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Excellent luck! おみくじ大好き!

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I was given a written oracle of “Excellent luck” here before.  Maybe this shrine is a little indulgent with me.

Cherry blossoms/

Lots and lots of them/

Blooming out/

Breeze leisurely and softly blowing/

How the garden appears/

Translation and calligraphy by Tomoko

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ここでは、先日も『大吉』を授かりました。このお宮さんは私にちょっと甘いかもしれません。

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Happy birthday 古代文字でお祝い

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As the birthday of my valued friend for many years is drawing close, I wrote this instead of a common type of a birthday card.  Wishing for lots of future pleasures, I celebrate her birthday with one modern letter 楽meaning pleasure or fun and four of my favorite ancient letters of 楽.

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長年の大切な友人の誕生日が近いので、普通の誕生日カード代わりを書きました。楽しいことがこれからもたくさんあることを願って、現代の字の「楽」が一つ。大好きな古代文字の「楽」が四つ。

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Flower smiles 花笑

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I took this shot with a CD for comparison, that is, it is a pretty small piece.  However, I like both letters and what is more, combining them makes a cute phrase which I also love.

“Flower smiles” means “Flower blooms”.

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比較のためにC Dとともに写しています。つまり、小さな作品なのですが、二つとも好きな字なんです。更に、素敵な意味になります。

花が笑うは、花が咲く。

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I love taking calligraphy lessons! お稽古、楽しい!

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I did the assignment our teacher gave us for the next practice session next week.

To practice copying the seals printed on the bank bills most commonly used at present.

It’s a little twisted task, isn’t it?

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来週の稽古日までの宿題。

お札に印刷されている印影の臨書。変な課題ですよね。

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Calligraphy on cloth 星に祈る

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I tried to write on a cloth several years ago and since then this one has been on the wall of my room.

When you pray (not “wish”) upon a star…

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布に書きました。数年前に。でその後ずっと自室の壁にはっています。

星に祈り(願いでなくて)を・・・

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Honesty is the … 正直の頭・・・

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The other day I wrote I saw a trained monkeyshow at Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine.  On that day, I also got a written oracle of the shrine.

The comment roughly goes “even if no one is near you, you should behave nicely and should never tell lies as if knowing a hidden deity is watching you all the time.”

I totally agree with the comment.  Telling a lie is entirely pointless in the first place.  For, your lies are certainly bound to surface.  Moreover, if you tell one lie, you must keep on lying in order to protect your first lie.  It coincides what Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones said in an interview.  I totally agree with him, as well.

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先日長岡天満宮で猿回しを見たことを書きましたが、この日おみくじも授かってきていました。

他人が見ていないところでも、神様がどこかにいると思って行儀よくしていないといけないし、嘘など言ってはいけない、というようなことが書かれています。

その通りです。そもそも嘘ついたって仕方がありません。必ずバレるからです。それに嘘をついたら、その嘘を守るために嘘を重ね続けないといけないでしょう。これはあるインタビューでローリングストーンズのキースリチャーズが言っていたことでもありますが、まさにその通りだと思います。

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My interest 古代文字

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As I wrote before, ancient letters fascinate me very much.

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以前も書きましたが、古代文字がとても面白いのです。

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Drips drops gobbets 滴 雫 しずく

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When I watered our little garden in the morning, they looked so beautiful.  And they vanished into nothing in no time.

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朝の水遣りのときには綺麗だったんですけどね。すぐに消えてなくなりました。

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First try 企画書段階

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The photo shows my work from several years back.  With my skill and technique I have at present, I am determined to develop the idea and create more deeply sophisticated pieces to show worldwide.

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ここに写っているのは数年前の作品です。このアイデアを発展させ、また現在持っている技術を使って、より深く洗練された作品を創作して、世界中の人たちに見てもらいたく思います。

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Trained monkeys show 伝統芸能ですが

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The other day, I visited Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrinewhere bright red azalea flowers were at their best.  Since it was in the middle of the early-May holiday season in Japan, I found so many visitors to the shrine.  And to my surprise, I also found a monkey trick show!  I was impressed with it and thought it was one of the Japanese traditional performing entertainment shows.

I am afraid this performing art of long tradition must be condemned by international animal welfare organizations, though.

Monkeys trained to do tricks/

So sad/

Look like humans/

Translation and calligraphy by Tomoko

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先日ゴールデンウィーク中のある日、躑躅満開の長岡天満宮にお詣りしたら、大勢の参拝客はもちろんいましたが、何と、猿回しがきていました。

これも日本の伝統芸能の一つだなとしみじみと見入りましたが、国際的な動物愛護団体から文句が来るんだろうなあ、とも思いました。

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Connected to the universe 左手作品

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I wrote all these with my left hand, which I have sometimes tried in order to seek for interesting and hot lines since long ago when I got stuck at my calligraphy work.  Therefore I have felt somewhat guilty for doing this.

However, on one occasion, someone told me that your left hand is connected to the universe.  And since then, I got to employ this method much more easily.

For instance, my work under my mother’s here, “smile” or “laugh” (笑) is my “left-hand” work.

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ここに写っているのは全部左手で書きました。昔から煮詰まるとこの方法を採りました。面白い線が書けるからです。

それでちょっと後ろめたかったのですが、ある時、ある方から左手は宇宙と繋がっているのだと教えてもらい、それからは堂々と左手で書けるようになりました。

例えば、この母の作品の下のも、左手で書いた「笑」です。

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It actually happened 実話です

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At this time of the year, I seem to be thinking what would be a good present for my mother with little awareness of it.

I picked up a blouse/

Mother’s Day is coming near/

Translation and calligraphy by Tomoko

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やはりこの時期には、プレゼントは何がいいかな・・・? と考えているみたいです。

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I love taking calligraphy lessons! お稽古、楽しい!

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Today we had the first lesson in the new era of Reiwa.

So, naturally, the task was also in the festive mood.

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今日は令和最初のお稽古。

という訳で、やはり祝賀モードです。

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What my teacher left 先生の字

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As I wrote the other day, I haven’t written much about my first calligraphy teacher so far for some reason.

This stone monument shows the name of a Kyoto prefectural park located at the confluence of the Kamo and the Takano rivers.  The letters carved there were by my first teacher.

I think some people may recognize this and feel nostalgic.

I hear he wrote these vigorous letters when he was in his mid-fifties.

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先日書きましたように、何とはなしにこれまでは自分の恩師のことを書きませんでしたが、これも先生の字です。加茂川と高野川の合流地点の京都府立の公園名が書いてあります。これを見て、「ああ、あそこのアレ・・・。懐かしいな」と思う人たちもいらっしゃると思います。

先生が50代半ばだったころの最も活力を感じさせる字だと聞いています。

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