タグ別アーカイブ: Kyoto

Happy birthday

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Today, September 11th, was the birthday of my first calligraphy teacher, the late Mr. Akiyama Kodo (秋山公道) who passed away around 25 years ago at age 92.  The photo shows his writing of his own poem about how he felt when he turned ninety years old.  A man of letters in those days could compose Chinese style poems adequately following the rules, as well as Japanese style poems, such as haiku’s, tanka’s and what not.

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Another forgotten one

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When I was trying to clean up my terribly cluttered room, I found another piecefrom my young days.  I have completely forgotten about this one, either, and I have no idea how many years ago I did this.

The only thing I found from these two pieces is that I like the phrase, “poetic gracefulness”.

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White dew

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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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I love taking calligraphy lessons!

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This was the task for today’s lesson.

It is one of the Zen phrases meaning that just watching clouds, you are having the upmost pleasure because clouds tell you many things; the season, the weather, the direction of the wind; and they transform pretty frequently and engrossingly.  Moreover, they are visible anywhere you are; indoors, on the beach, in the mountains….

This tanzaku or a strip of paper is pasted with very thin bark of Japanese cypress noted for its pleasant aroma.

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He loves me he loves me not

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The poet says she leaves the last one petal as is.  I thought if only one petal was left, the result was simply obvious.  The poet must be enjoying the feeling of afterglow of the girlish taste fortunetelling.

Why did I choose this haiku?  Of course, it is because I like fortunetelling. And fortunetelling of all kinds, that is.

When pulling petals off a flower/

Daringly l leave the last one/

Undisturbed/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio

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My work from the year 2007

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This was one of the main items for my solo exhibition in 2008, which is a pretty big work of about 136cm x 70cm.

Here I wrote a passage from an ancient Chinese history book of 14thcentury.  I chose this passage because it briefly touches the origin of mathematics.  As I used to work with mathematicians, I feel warm attachment to mathematics and mathematicians.

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Afternoon nap

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I thought I would practice a lot today.  However, seeing my mother nodding off sitting beside me, I myself became sleepy as well….

Drowsiness turns/

Ink slab/

Into late summer sea/

Translation and calligraphy by Chio.

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Collaboration by four people

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  1.  First my mother wrote the big letters, “Gold” and “Fish”:
  2.  Then I searched and found a poem from the ancient China about pretty gold fish.  And I wrote the poem in small letters around the big ones by my mother:
  3.  One of the caregivers that looked after my mother then was very good at the art of folding paper into various figures (origami) and she made those golden fish:

And

  1.  A craftsman from the picture framer I always ask my works to be framed came up with this stylish frame.

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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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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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