Monday, November 25, 2013

Sun on a Rainy Day, Starry Skies to Come

It was a rainy day today.  I biked to shodo just before the clouds broke, and biked home in their pouring.  When I arrived to the classroom, only Wada-sensei had arrived.  I found my desk, the only one with everything laid out–felt mat, brush, paper weight, paper–all borrowed from her for the time being.

She asked me how many siblings I have and we had a short exchange in Japanese about my brothers.  Maybe she was testing my Japanese or beginning a psychological profile of me to determine my capacity for following-through with the art of shodo.  I hope having two younger brothers doesn't disable me from drawing straight lines, but maybe she was looking for an explanation for the first day of class.  

Or perhaps she was just making conversation.

She started by giving me the hiragana たいよう(ta-i-yo-u, "taiyou," the Japanese word for "sun").  Appropriate for the weather.  

Wada-sensei's on the left, my final ok copy on the right,
circles (maru) indicating that those parts are good
It seems that once we bring something to her to check, she makes corrections but also gives another assignment.  Perhaps she figures that by the time we decide to bring our work to her it is time to take a break from learning from that subject.  She doesn't expect us to keep pounding away at it with correction after correction.  But I usually like to try to make the correction and get her OK.  I made a small adjustment on my hiragana for taiyou, got her approval and then set to work with the next thing she gave me, the kanji for the same word:

Wada-sensei's copy with numbers indicating the stroke order
I lost track of time.   There was a lot to digest here.  The strokes in the upper character, which I had learned and come to love last week, alluded me today.  The spacing and angles of the lower one were also tricky to manage.  I took it to her and watched her redraw the opening strokes with which I struggled, watched her stop the brush right before the end and wait, and wait, and wait, before finally completing it.  You have the time, she seemed to be telling me.  I learned a lot watching her make that stroke.

She gave me several corrections and two (2!) new sheets of assignments.  Was this her way of encouraging me to keep moving forward and obsessing a little less?  Regardless I couldn't leave the sun on a rainy.  Several more corrections from her, and then finally I got it.  She rewarded me with hana maru (flower circles) and showed the whole class of middle-aged Japanese women who enthusiastically cooed at how jouzou (skilled) I was.  It was very sweet.

Corrections, corrections and then....hana maru!

I started on the first of the next two assignments, but felt fairly complete for the time being with my sunny winnings.  Next week, on to starry (hoshi) skies (zora) (ほしぞら、星空)

the examples to follow next week

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