One of the events held by TUJ Student Activities was a traditional arts workshop.
Our instructor performed some Japanese music for us. She played the “koto,” which is a traditional Japanese instrument. Among the songs she played was one famous song, which I recognized, “Sakura, Sakura.”
When she finished her performance, our instructor introduced us to calligraphy. It is a bit difficult and we spent a bit of time practicing to get the hang of it.
We told her one character that we wanted to write, and then she wrote it out for us with each stroke numbered so that we could follow it as our guide. I asked to write “courage.”
When we’d completed our calligraphy masterpieces, we were given the chance to wear kimonos… dressing in a kimono is a long process and in our case there were two women assigned to the surprisingly demanding task of dressing us.
After we were looking sharper than ever, we relaxed with some snacks and tea. We learned the proper mannerisms for receiving and drinking tea in a ceremony.
Then we were shown the rest of the building. There is gorgeous calligraphy that adorns one of the rooms upstairs, and that was pretty wonderful to marvel in.
During the workshop, we were told what an ideal time it was for “hanami” – which is a word in Japanese that describes going out to spend time appreciating flowers. At this time, the sakura (cherry blossoms) were in full bloom. So we went to Yoyogi Park to take some time to simply enjoy the beauty of it. There were many people out doing the same thing.
There were many groups of people outside, eating and drinking on tarps underneath the branches of cherry blossoms.
There were also performance artists out dancing and making music near the fountains.