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Every year the schools and the ALTs do “kakizome”, or first calligraphy of the year. The kids do it at school the first day they get back from winter vacation, and they choose the best one in a contest. The best of the school is displayed along with other art in Fujioka for everyone to come and see. Since my second year, Kenji, Brandt and I also participate by heading to Mr. Katayama’s house (also where we go in November for the Mishima Jinja festival every year). He is really good at calligraphy, and graciously opens his house and helps us with choosing what to write and how to write it. Our work is also displayed as well. Although I’m not very good at it, I really enjoy calligraphy and look forward to the opportunity to do it!

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Onishi’s jimusho or office worker showing off her mad skillz. She speaks Chinese really well, so she wrote the characters Chinese style

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All the kids writing in the gym. At bigger schools only the third grade students do, but Onishi is small enough that everyone fits! Also, I forgot my camera that day, so I had to use one of the schools crappy point-and-shoots, hence the pictures not being very good…

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At Katayama-sensei’s house. My choice this year was “kachou fuugetsu”, literally flower, bird, wind, moon but when put together means something like “experience the beauties of nature and learn about yourself”. Or something. Anyway. Also, Brandt looking up possibilities on his iPhone, and Kenji showing off his finished as well.

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My final attempt and Mr. Katayama’s original example. If you’re wondering which one is which, mine is the one that looks like a 3-year old went finger-painting.

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Visiting where everything is displayed

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Onishi’s calligraphy

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Students and parents looking

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The ALT’s display

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Other work is also displayed… I always love these, the pictures represent what the kanji actually mean. Can you guess? The left one is “wa”, which means in essence, Japanese taste. The left one is “uma” or horse.

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Other art.

I wonder what I’ll choose for a slogan next year!