Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Calligraphy and Haikuesday by Josh Chamberlain

One of the greatest things about my most recent trip was my exposure to and experience with calligraphy. This age-old art form is still very much alive in modern Taiwanese culture. Though entirely unplanned, calligraphy proved to be a recurrent theme during this trip. I've been thinking of practicing calligraphy for some time now, but never have found a teacher. On this trip, I was encouraged to learn on my own, and by chance, I met a teacher that was willing to give me a few pointers.
One of the reasons that Chinese has English beat for cool language category is that the Chinese character is an image. Thus, the words in Chinese and Chinese writing can be considered art. This might be true with English too, but it is much more accepted as a current form of art in China, Taiwan, and whereever Chinese is spoken.

I was encouraged to write some poems in Chinese, and I felt free to do so. Something about writing a poem in this language that I have studied for a number of years now seems somewhat less intimidating than writing one in English. I am drawn to poetry, but have been intimidated by it. That is why writing Haikus has been great. They are a playful way to write poetry, that is mostly just a lot of fun. Haikus are also popular in Taiwan. My friends there were excited to hear about our haiku writing Tuesdays at the teabar.

Below are the two haikus that I wrote for this week’s Haikuesday:

Haiku 1 translation:

Filial American
Most Americans are not considered to be filial, so this presents a contradiction.

After returning from the mountain, you return to your hometown
Coming down the mountain refers to “leaving the monestary” or leaving a school after some great learning has been achieved, in this case, leaving Taiwan and moving back to Eugene, Oregon.

Tea leaf many bridges
We do not know the course that life will lead us down. There are many possibilities, but in my case, I have followed my nose, and tea has openned up a world of possibilities.

Continuing the tea bridge theme, Haiku 2 translation:

Tea is like a bridge
Tea is a great tool for communication and enhanced creativity.

Training in order to pass through the loneliness.
Accomplishing goals can sometimes take a long time. Once the die is cast, sometimes we have to wait until we get the things we need. This period of waiting can be painful in the moment, often experienced as loneliness or hunger.

Seeking the joy that lives in the moment
The last four words refer to the joy of doing. Even though the process might be arduous, one looses oneself in the joy of doing, and is fullfilled with a meaningful life.

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