Konnichiwa! My name is Leon. I am doing an internship at SUITO Fukuoka. Even though I was in my first week, I already got the chance to join a calligraphy course. With another guest from Germany, Nina, we took a closer look on calligraphy. Our teacher Yoshiike-san introduced us to the long-lasting Japanese tradition. Only original brushes, ink and special compounded papers were used during our calligraphy session. It was the first time for me dealing with calligraphy. I was impressed by the lovely brushwork of the calligraphy teacher.
She said, most of the Japanese children already learn to write this way in elementary school. It is not easy to handle the brush. You have to be very careful with the brush in order to draw proper lines, curves and dots. Nina did very good when she started to write her first Kanji. She chose 愛 (Ai). This popular Kanji means love. We could choose from a variety of Kanjis. I liked the Kanji for cherry blossom 桜 (Chikura). Moreover we could ask for any Kanji we wanted to know. Because both of us were born in the year of Tiger, Yoshiike-san showed us to draw 寅 (Tora). After we finished our calligraphy samples, we were instructed to write down our names in Japanese. I was able to do that because I am already familiar with the Japanese alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. Nevertheless I have never wrote them with a traditional Japanese brush before. My name in Katakana is レオン (Le-o-n). Of Course it needed to be in Japanese order, not from left to right, but from top to bottom. It looked beautiful. Finally we put our calligraphy samples aside for drying. I liked the result a lot. Just by looking at it, you could catch the Japanese feeling. If you go to Japan, you should do Calligraphy at least once. At SUITO Fukuoka I did my Calligraphy experience in a traditional styled Washitsu room with its well-known Tatami floors. Many Japanese people have such a room at home. We worked at a tiny typical Japanese desk little above the floor. All in all, it was a really atmospheric experience that I will keep in good memory. I learned a lot and it is nice to have self-made calligraphy at home! I highly recommend it!