Special Prize (for Elementary and Junior High School Students) (Japan)
My Sentiments on Calligraphy
Hiyo Nishimoto [Ninth grade, Junior High School Division, Fukuoka Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired, age 15]
I go to a calligraphy class on every Friday afternoon. I studied Kanji until first grade, but had less time to do so since second grade because I started to learn braille. But I always wanted to learn more different Kanji.
When I turned to fifth grade, one of my relatives offered to teach me calligraphy. I was glad to be learning Kanji again.
Because I cannot see, my teacher always cuts out paper in the shape of the letter to make a three-dimensional exemplar so that I am able to feel the shape of the letter to write that day. My teacher holds my hand to teach me the order of strokes to write Kanji, using the exemplar. She makes it fun to learn how to read Kanji by making a quiz out of it. Then, I practice the movement of the brush with her.
I like calligraphy very much. This is because I like the touch of the brush against the paper, and the smell of the ink cake.
The other day during the calligraphy class, I learned that the letter “arashi (storm)” is made of the letter “kaze (wind)” written below “yama (mountain).” I was especially happy to learn how to write that letter, because I am a fan of the group “Arashi.”
I cannot see, but I can tell where to start the brush by feeling the position of the paper. My teacher looks at the letters I wrote, and tells me what to correct. I will know without being told when I make a mistake in finishing the stroke with an upward turn.
My teacher also praises me when I write well. My strong point is the sweeping stroke to the right, so she says “here comes your favorite part” when I do the right-hand sweeping stroke. The more I try to write well, the more I get nervous.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote the letter “shin” from the word “shinjitsu (truth)” as my new year’s resolution. As I was writing this letter, I said to myself that I will try to be truthful this year. Back when I was in seventh grade, I forgot to do the homework on the day before the presentation of report on career hands-on learning to practice the presentation. But I told my teacher, “Yes, I did my homework” to cover the fact that I forgot. What’s worse, I even lost the manuscript of my report. I looked for it wildly and when I finally found it, I apologized to the teacher and was given the chance to do the report. This was not the only time I lied; I faked or lied at other times too. I always wonder, “Why do I fake and lie when I know that I feel bad to do so. How can I change myself?”
I contemplated why I tell a lie in the first place.
I have another part of me in myself that thinks in a different way. That is, I want to be seen by the others as a “good girl.” And because of this feeling, I fake or tell a lie so I can make myself look good to the others. To defeat this weak part of me, I will remember the time I wrote the letter “shin” from “shinjitsu” whenever I am tempted to lie.
When I have to write a letter with difficult order of strokes, I sometimes think to myself, “This is so hard. I don’t want to do this anymore.” But even so, I try not to give up. Because when I finally succeed after trying, I know that I can say to myself, “I did it. I’m glad I didn’t give up,” and that is a great feeling. I also feel happy on days when my eyes are in better condition and I can see what I’m writing. It makes me sad to think, “I wish I could see the shape of the letter more clearly. If I could just see.” But I do the most I can, saying to myself, “calligraphy gives me a hard time but I will work hard to be better because although I cannot see, I can still write.”
I will to continue to learn calligraphy, and move other people with my brush writing. I also want to be stronger and be the kind of person who does not lie, like the letter “shin” in “shinjitsu.”
Why don’ you try calligraphy? I think you too will see the joy of brush writing.