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  • Writer's pictureTomas Ballada

Gakuensai (学園祭)

Event to spice things up

Almost every school, be it a public institution or a private school teaching (relatively) narrow array of subjects, organises a number of events throughout the year to make things interesting and create an opportunity for students and the wider public to engage in activities that will enhance their experience and ideally also be a new experience for them.

Such an event can align with one of the numerous public holidays or traditional festivals - in Japan we could be talking about Hina Matsuri (雛祭/Doll`s Festival) in March, traditional Hanami (花見/Banquet combined with the cherry blossom viewing) in March / April and / or the Koi-nobori festival (鯉のぼり, basically a Japanese version of the Children`s Day) in May, as well as many others scattered throughout the calendar year.

Another option is to organise an independent festival/event that is not explicitly connected to any national holiday, but engages the local community in a meaningful way - in Japan, Spring and Autumn are popular seasons for such an occasion. Tea Ceremony schools, for example, often organise so-called tea parties (お茶会), where you can have a taste of the traditional Japanese tea and its serving. Calligraphy schools tend to create 展覧会/書道展 (Tenrankai/Shodouten) or in simple terms an exhibition where any of the students and members of the general public can come and see works of the students and teachers of that particular school.

One such event will be taking place this weekend at our building in Yoyogi, with the admission

being free of charge and anyone interested is more than welcome to come and join it

(important note - the event is mainly in Japanese, but our English speaking staff will be present on Sunday).

Our festival`s programme (Japanese only)

Should you decide to come and visit us, what programme can you expect?

First and foremost, you can have a look at over 70 different calligraphy works by our students, teachers and staff. They include classic Japanese calligraphy, as well as Penji (ペン字 - practically oriented calligraphy performed not with a brush, but with a ballpen), Bokusaiga (墨彩画 - brush and ink painting combined with calligraphy), Jitsumu Shodo (実務書道 - feel free to check our article here), Tenkoku (篆刻 - the art of carving out a calligraphy seal into a special stone) and Kana Shodo (かな書道 - calligraphy style focusing on kana, indigenous alphabet derived from kanji) works.

Furthermore commented tours (in Japanese) will commence, each one with a Sensei who is expert in that particular calligraphy style.

On Sunday a brush artisan shop from Hiroshima will be present (Hiroshima area is famous for the quality of their brushes and are sought after by the most skilled calligraphers from all over the country) and those interested can buy their products with a 20% discount. Furthermore "Fude Asobi" (筆遊び、"A fun with brushes") programme will be taking place, where you can try out unusual and rare brushes. A standard brush has its tip made from the hair of animals such as a horse, or a weasel, however, those who come to Fude Asobi will be able to see and try out brushes with tips made out of human hair, or those of a rat, squirrel, peacock and many other unconventional animals.

Feel free to come on Sunday and have a commented tour in English!

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