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R.I.P.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Stars in winter

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Some people are keen on getting to observe meteor showers in the cold season.

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I was like them to some extent until a few years back.

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However, these days it seems just impossible for me to stay awake that far into the night.

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Thus, the scene in this haiku expresses my little yearning.

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Huge tree/

Remaining silent/

Into it, shooting stars rush/

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Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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Famous misconception

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The photo shows one of my pieces displayed at my first solo exhibition at the beginning of 2009 that enjoyed quite a popularity.

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The meaning of this phrase is often interpreted as “just to rely on others and do nothing spontaneously”.

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And it is often pointed out that the interpretation above is wrong.

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The phrase originates in Buddhism.  Today, with some research, I learned that it very roughly expresses the supreme power of Buddha that will give people ultimate happiness and satisfaction breaking the darkness of mind that everyone shares.

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YouTube channel

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

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It has no back-ground music like many other videos on this channel, but you can hear some conversation between the cameraman and me.

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So, some viewers may think it is like a making-of video of a movie.  Actually, a friend of mine said so.

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However, I decided to post it on my channel, because when I rechecked, I found no major mistakes about the motion of calligraphy.

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So, please enjoy the movement of the calligrapher (me)!

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The material is my own haiku.

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Excellent luck, little luck

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As I wrote before and many other times, I love drawing fortune at shrines.  The photos show two of the written oracles I got at New Year’s visits to shrines this year.

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One is “Excellent luck” and the other, “Little luck”.

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However, they have some comments in common, that is, “wait patiently for a little more until a great fortune to come”.

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I think I have waited for long enough now, though.

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The one I transcribed roughly means;

“I am glad to see a brightly lit road in the unclouded moonlight.”

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At the art marché

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I made a visit to a fun event called “Art Marché” yesterday.  It was my first time going there and I was really impressed with the young artists’ passion inside who participate in it regularly.

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Actually I was so impressed I felt even the coldness of the winter wind might go easier.

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The photo shows a knit hat I got there.

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Art marché/

Mollifies/

Even the winter wind/

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January 15

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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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Collaboration

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Yesterday my mother and I went to the exhibition venue held annually by my teacher.

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This year we turned in four pretty big works describing four kinds of flowers of the seasons.

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Everyone was very much impressed with my mother’s works.

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It seemed little attention was paid to my works of my own haiku about those flowers.

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Old memories, again

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Hectic days around the New Year seemed to calm down.

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Now, it looks like I am getting older and tend to remember the old days more often than when I was younger.

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The photo shows one corner of the exhibition site of my first solo exhibition held at the beginning of 2009.  The corner was dedicated to the works by my first calligraphy teacher (the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo 秋山公道) who passed away over 20 years ago at the age of 92.

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This photo fills my mind with good old memories about him and his wife (the late Mrs. Akiyama Seisetsu 秋山静雪); and their teachings and great love for me.  I am ever so thankful to the couple who showed me this wonderful world of calligraphy that has been the core of my life ever since.

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Another New Year custom

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This is just what I did at the usual grocery store.

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I bought a case goods of seven kinds of spring herbs/

Like I do when I buy breads/

(Translation and calligraphy by Chio)

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Then yesterday (January 7), my mother and I enjoyed the rice porridge containing those herbs as one of the customs of long tradition regarding the New Year.

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Mother smiles

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My mother is playing a little child’s smile, at the table of the special dishes for the New Year, although they aren’t cooked in an orthodox manner.  I just prepared them casually to please my mother.

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I think they brought back her old, fond memories of her childhood days.

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Mother smiles/

Special meal for the New Year/

Brought back her child’s mind/

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YouTube channel

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

Check this and enjoy my calligraphy!

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These letters are “flower” and “smile”, both of which are just my favorite ones.  As the letter “flower” here is in the cursive style, some of you may not recognize it.  As for me, I love this letter in any styles!

 

Another interesting point, I think, is “flower smiles” means “flower blooms”.  In other words, the letters “smile” and “bloom” are considered to be the “same”, so to speak.

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Sasanqua blossoms

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Today is my father’s death anniversary after six years of his passing.

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Remember my late father/

Color of sasanqua petals deepens/

Year after year/

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I remember the mortician collecting sasanqua blossoms from the tree in our garden and putting them in my father’s coffin.

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First-rate teacher and an artist’s happiness

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I wrote here the other day that I sent two pieces of calligraphy work by request from a teacher in Poznań, Poland who I met on the occasion of TRZY RZEKI 2017 KYOTO POZNAN.

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As I wrote before she is an excellent teacher who spares no pains in her career from the stage of preparing for her classes and moreover, she is always looking for good materials to induce interests of her students in every aspect of the world.  As I myself used to be a teacher, I am fully aware that those traits show what a good teacher she is.

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Again as I wrote before, she used my works in her class about 80-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.  To my pleasant surprise and great happiness and honor, I learned later that she even announced to her students’ parents that calligraphy works from Japan would be displayed in her class and that the parents also could come and see my works if they liked.

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I don’t think she did that only for my happiness but it gave me such a great delight as an artist.  The more people see my calligraphy, the bigger my happiness grows.

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Later, she even chose “Japan” as a topic to be discussed in her class where she displayed my works again.  I can’t think of proper words to express how thankful I am to her.

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The photos show how she presented my works in her classroom.

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Initial letter

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The photo shows a letter “road” or “way” 道.  It is part of the copying practice of the original by Yan Zhenqing 顔真卿in the last practice session.  My teacher told me I did a good job, which made me very happy.

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The letter happened to be the first one of the name of my longtime, good friend.

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Now I am thinking of sending it to her.  Will she be glad to receive it?

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YouTube channel

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I posted the tenth video on my YouTube channel (chio_art).

Check this and enjoy my calligraphy!

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The letter is “NEW”.  Japan adopted a new era name in May this year as the new Emperor took the throne.

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I chose this letter because I want to transform into a new self just as my own country did.

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Moreover, I thought each routine of using the utensils may look interesting if you take an interest in Japanese style calligraphy.

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Dreamland

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Dreamland

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For some reason or other … I dream quite often these days.

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However, those dreams that I don’t remember well in the morning are always very disorganized and confusing and don’t seem to make any sense.

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I wonder how I could perceive what they imply.

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Copying practice

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I did some copying practice of what my first calligraphy teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道) had left for the first time in a long time as I have been having hectic days.

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His style is very high-toned and I just wonder if I would reach that level during my lifetime.

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The content is an example of greeting words usually put at the first part of a letter.

“I went to Izu during winter break.  The sea was very beautiful.”

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YouTube channel

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I posted the ninth video on my YouTube channel (chio_art).

Check this and enjoy my calligraphy!  You will especially enjoy witnessing how letters appear from the ink, a brush and an artist’s arm.

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This is a passage from an old children’s song.  It describes a good old scene of a common household with a little girl waiting for the spring season to come at the end of winter.

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Although it is a little longer video compared with the others, I would very much like to ask you to see it till the end.  For, it shows you how small brush works.

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Delightful cake

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A very good, longtime friend of mine came to my house carrying a homemade cake with tasty jam inside that was made of the figs from the trees in her garden.

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Her kindness always helps me uplift my feelings in many ways.

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Now, I can’t wait to taste it with my mother.  It will certainly make us happy.  For, “homemade” usually means “it has so many fillings”, because prospect of profit doesn’t come to the cook’s mind.

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Winter morning

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Today falls on Dàxuě that is the 21st solar term out of 24 in the system.

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As I have lived very close to Shimogamo Shrine all my life and my house is almost inside the forest that surrounds the shrine, when I read this haiku for the first time, I thought it didn’t tell the truth.

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However, somehow I felt some moments of silence this morning.

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Oh, Dàxuě/

Even the crows don’t caw/

Shrine grove in the morning/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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I love taking calligraphy lessons!

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The task for today’s practice session was this.

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Our teacher told us to ask the visitors to our homes during the New Year period to write their names and messages in the blank space.

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And after that, she said it would make a heartwarming keepsake all through the year.

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YouTube channel

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I posted the eighth video on my YouTube channel (chio_art).

Check this and enjoy my calligraphy!  Especially enjoy witnessing how letters appear from the ink, a brush and an artist’s arm.

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This is “air” and “dance”.

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“Just like dancing in the air” would be the highest compliment in the world of calligraphy where performance is THE MOST essential rather than displaying completed pieces as many people do just for the sake of convenience.

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If you only move your wrist, you will never obtain this praise.

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Your arm must be moving beautifully and elegantly for you to make a good calligrapher.

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I love taking calligraphy lessons!

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The task for today’s practice session was to write on a very special embossed sheet of paper made by a famous artisan with a traditional method and who makes paper for the imperial family’s use.

The letter is “Hope”.  At the upper left, there is an eye that symbolizes a human.  He or she is looking at the moon at the upper right with his or her body kneeling down on the ground, hoping to accomplish something great.

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YouTube channel

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

Check this and enjoy my calligraphy!

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The essence of calligraphy resides in live performance rather than displaying completed works at exhibitions or anywhere else as many people do for the sake of convenience.

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People feel calligrapher’s breathing subconsciously when they see this kind of demonstration, which is the most important aspect in calligraphy.

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So, I would like to have as many opportunities as possible to give demonstrations in front of people.

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It is “One heart and ten thousand flowers”.

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Chio’s shop on eBay

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I added some new items to my shop on eBay.  I would like to say these would attract more attention than the old ones.

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Somehow I am fond of any combinations of any things.

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These carry two shades of ink.

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And they show two kinds of styles:  The letter used in modern days in dark ink and ancient letters closer to pictures (and my favorite) in light ink.

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I hope these will help spread this culture and art, that is, Japanese style calligraphy to every corner of the globe.

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For your beauty, chapter 2

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The photo shows my work I already posted about two months ago that hadn’t been framed yet then.

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The phrase means “for your beauty” in Chinese which I learned from my dear friend.  She has been enjoying vigorous success as a business owner of a company that trades various kinds of makeup tools.

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The reason I posted this again is that I recently found out what I want to do ultimately as a calligrapher is this, that is, create works of calligraphy for businesses and other kinds of establishments in any manner, that is, trademarks of businesses, goods, lines of goods, logos and so on.

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I am not sure what the grounds for this are, however, I somehow am quite certain that I will succeed at some point not far in the future.

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Moreover, I think if I succeed this way, it will help spread this culture and art to the whole world.

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YouTube

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I posted a new and sixth video on my YouTube channel (chio_art) that I newly set up.

Check this and enjoy my calligraphy!

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For, you will enjoy seeing how characters are produced out of a brush, ink and an artist’s arm with this unique device by my precious friend.

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The letter represents THE most auspicious meaning.  And this letter can be used in many different occasions, in other words, it is not limited to celebrating weddings as is commonly thought to be.

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In short, it is THE almighty character.

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Pacifism

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The photo shows my works I sent to my special friend I got acquainted at the occasion of TRZY RZEKI 2017 KYOTO POZNAN held in November 2017 and has been my close friend ever since.

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This lady has been a very serious and committed teacher at a primary school in Poznań, Poland where this unique calligraphy exhibition was held.

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As I used to be a teacher myself, I have noticed she was an excellent teacher.

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Then one day, she sent me a message asking me for a calligraphic work meaning “Never war” in Japanese.  She said she would use it as a part of her teaching materials on the 80thanniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

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That is why I sent her these “anti-war” and “peace”, which, according to her, generated interests among her students in both the contents of her lesson and Japanese style calligraphy.

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Moreover, she informed the parents of her students about my calligraphy pieces displayed in the classroom.  Again, according to her, they showed much interests in my calligraphy.

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I felt firstly very honored to be asked to provide my calligraphy pieces and then felt really happy to know they got to be seen by many people.

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This lady is a really kind, thoughtful person and as I wrote before she is definitely an excellent teacher.  No wonder she was decorated an honorable premium.  I deeply thank her for giving me this wonderful opportunity to show my works to many people.

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And I also thank my calligraphy teachers and seniors who taught me never to decline any request to write something as a calligraphic item.

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Joy of calligraphy in your daily life

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The photo shows my works exhibited at the First Exhibition of Yushokai held in July 2011.

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There are two important points about these, I think, that will appeal to people.

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Firstly, they are small and easy to handle and decorate in your living room or kitchen or any room or entrance in your house. And that will realize the key motto “joy of calligraphy in daily life” that my first calligraphy teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道) had upheld through all his life.

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And, they have this new and unique feature of combining paper and cloth for calligraphy works of art.

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