An Unexpected Visit to Taiwan Master Calligrapher SYUE Ping-nan’s Studio

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The telephone call I received in Japanese while living in Japan seemed mysterious. I thought I understood what was being said and replied in Japanese, yet I was unsure. The woman said that she was a calligraphy teacher and had heard about me, a foreigner studying calligraphy, and that she would like me to meet her in Takasaki to work with her. For starters, I already had been studying with Kobayashi Sensei, my teacher for “life”, and the woman did not mention Sensei. (Nor did Sensei recognize … [Read more...]

How Far Would You Go To Have “Your Name Written in Calligraphy”

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How do a female car stunt driver and a contemporary calligraphy artist collaborate to make magic in just over a minute and make each of us want to create as they do? How do they go far beyond the traditional “ your name written in calligraphy ” advertised so often on the internet?The new Opel Corsa is San Yalemos’s vehicle of creativity, brush and paint are those of Simon Silaidis. In tandem, one feeding off the other, pushing the limits of their tools and bodies in an expansive … [Read more...]

Calligraphy Performance with Jazz

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How do you feel about calligraphy? Do you find it stiff and formal? Do you find it boring and uninteresting?Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy has a very long history, and calligraphers must follow its foundations, its rules for creating. They are very strict and formal. Learning the history and the formalities can be interesting whether or not you are a student, teacher or observer. The more you study and know about calligraphy, the more interesting you will find it to be. But there must be … [Read more...]

What is the 5th Dimension of Calligraphy?

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My own involvement in this special art has a haunting and evasive, sometimes very simple, undertone. Haunting because it is part of my mental life that includes much that is beyond or not part of everyday rational habits. It is more than an exotic Asian mystery and philosophy felt as a special mystique by many Westerners, and it is more than skilled performance, more than a craft, and more than simple language in the service of its content.The complex and special Chinese characters, … [Read more...]

How Lucid Dreaming isn’t as Bad as You Think

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"Lucid Dreaming" is an act of rebellion. The dreamer gains control over his actions and thoughts. The subconscious becomes conscious, dreams become a memory.The Lucid Dreamer is like a magician, imposing willpower and constantly struggling with himself, to master his skills and gain full control of the dream, thus becoming the ruler of the maze instead of a single puppet in the paradox black hole of perception.In life, in creation, there are times that everything seems pointless and … [Read more...]

How are Kana Shodo Culture, the opera “ Madame Butterfly ”, and Japanese Aesthetics related?

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The opera “ Madame Butterfly ” was written by the Italian composer Puccini in 1904, based on the short story written by John Luther Long in 1898. It begins with a scene in which a Japanese marriage-broker, Goro, shows Pinkerton, a Lieutenant in the US Navy, a Japanese traditional house. Pinkerton is surprised to see that the walls in the house are slidable to suit his lifestyle. The newlywed Pinkerton asks where is the bedroom, Goro answers by sliding the walls. “Here or there! Wherever you … [Read more...]

Shadow Photography and Calligraphy

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Shadows began to intrigue me more than 20 years ago when I, someone fascinated by calligraphy and the color of ink, moved from my beloved Japan to Australia. In a southern country whose language was different from mine, I was struck less by that difference than by the contrast of Australia's drier air and clear blue skies, as well as by its bright light and the deep shadows it described.I came to feel a keen interest in shadows one summer day in a park when the shadow of a tree … [Read more...]