22 letters to you, day 12. Shodo and Hiragana

Dear Réa,

Today I went to a Japanese Calligraphy class with my friends, it was spontaneous, well as spontaneous as I get, meaning I had a good 5 or so hours notice, and re-did my hair before we went out. I wasn’t expecting to go out, but I think it was good for me not to have stayed home. I am trying to break the pattern of staying home and away from people so often, because all it does it make me more insular and doesn’t help my mood.

I also learnt that ‘washi’ is the Japanese word for paper, which explains why the paper craft tape I use a lot is ‘washi tape’. Nobody I asked knew if it was a brand or not. I could have googled it but it was one of those things I never thought to do, and it was interesting to find out.

I learned a lot more than I was expecting. I thought that I would just be sat in a room in from of alphabet cards and just get on with it, but it was pretty in depth. We had a short history lesson and watched films of famous Shodo artists. If that is the right thing to call them? It definitely looks like art, and how expressively you paint is supposed to convey meaning too which is fascinating.

Along with my other friend who wears bright pink Doc. Marten boots, and cat t-shirts, (he is a funny one) the same friend I spent Sunday with antiquing came. She is part Japanese, part American, and interested in that side of her family culture. Apparently they have a family Shodo symbol, and she is going to ask her grandparents what it is so she can learn it now we have done the class.

These are the same two friends I play scrabble with, and who eat chilli powder on ice cream. I think it sounds disgusting.

I wrote two things over and over. In the class. I wrote ‘starlight’ which is ‘akari’ In Shodo.

In Hiragana I wrote the names of our family, which is a bit different from Shodo, but I struggled to grasp the differences. I think Shodo represents words, and Hiragana is more like alphabet characters. I wanted to get it just so so I repeated the same characters. I enjoyed it a lot, but I don’t think I will attend the regular Japanese language classes that normally use that space, rather than the one off Shodo class.

I love the idea of the symbols meaning different things. The ink, paper and Shodo brushes were really nice to use, but the upright way you held your brush took getting used to after always painting in the Western style of an angled brush.

This is your name in Hiragana Réalta:

Fly high little star,

Mummy xx

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