Calligraphy is within reach of our hands
Calligraphy literally means the way of writing or a sort of penmanship. In Japan, calligraphy is considered one of the fine arts,@and is also the proper accomplishment of any cultured person. Excellence in writing is thought to be a proof not only of the writersf ability, but also of their personality.@That's why it is a compulsory subject at school.@It is one of the musts for the foreigners staying or living in Japan to experience.@Through Calligraphy you will be able to get the chance to understand Japanese culture.
All you need to start calligraphy is paper, Indian ink and a brush. Luckily enough, we live very close to the Japan's main producing districts of quality brushes; Kumano and Kawajiri.@Both are within an hour's drive from Hiroshima. Almost 90 percent of Japanese calligraphy brushes are manufactured there.
The shape of a brush is artistically simple and straightforward, but the process of the brush manufacturing is very complicated and requires artisans' total commitment towards it.@Once you are aware that at the two above-mentioned places most brushes are hand made, you can't help admiring their skills.
Forming the perfect corn shaped point seems beyond a human's capability. A craftsman says it takes at least ten years to develop this profession. What patience!
The materials used for the point vary, from Chinese sheep ( in Japan we call it a goat), to horse, cat, raccoon,@rabbit,@deer,@swan or pheasant.@Some of them come from the distant grassy plains in northern China and Korea.@So while you are savoring the typical traditional Japanese fine art,@you can be in touch with an international feeling.
If you are a D.I.Y.fan, please experience making your own brush. Also the museums are open to public at both Kumano and Kawajiri.
The New Year's season is the best to start something new in Japan. So,@why don't you go to the nearest brush producing place and buy the brush of your choice made by experienced artisans with the utmost care and write down your resolution towards the New Millennium.@You will find yourself peaceful and ready to welcome the New Year, 2000.