Nancy Tran: Calligraphy Club

I participated in the Doshisha Calligraphy Club throughout the semester. I use the word “participated” because I did not feel as though I had truly joined the club due to the manner of each session. None of the members make any particular attempts to introduce themselves or help unless you ask them, but with the atmosphere of the room even asking for help is quite difficult. Most of the time, one member helped guide me in learning how to write but his words were far and few between. Since I remained a quiet empirical observer most of the time, I was able to see the interactions between the members more. The other members tend to practice quietly by themselves until the club leader, or who I presume to be the club leader, enters and brightens up the atmosphere by seemingly gossiping with everyone. As this program is in Kyoto, most of the members speak in Kansai-ben. Whenever someone heads home for the day the rest of the members always say お疲れ様. When introducing oneself, the others tend to ask what year you are (何回生) and what faculty you are in (学部), most likely to establish a connection or establish hierarchy of ages. I entered the club hoping to learn calligraphy with my peers and establish friendly relations but it seems as though I was only able to learn calligraphy. I would not recommend this activity for someone who is looking to establish friendly relations with club members due to the nature of the members and the club activity.

6 thoughts on “Nancy Tran: Calligraphy Club

  1. I felt the same for my CIP since I also had no chance to interact with classmates. Why do you think they were not really interacting with new members? Would it because of the atmosphere of the club?

    • The minimal interactions made the CIP kind of lonely didn’t it…
      It’s difficult to tell why they weren’t interacting too much with new members. Since calligraphy is more of an individual activity, they may not have seen a need to interact with someone who is only staying for a semester. I think the members tend to interact more with members who they have mutual friends or classes with. Maybe a more outgoing person would be able to insert themselves into the circle.

  2. I am curious that after you told them what grade you are, did the club members change their attitude towards you? I have told that sports club have a very strict senpai kouhai relationship, but I am not sure if it is the same with Calligraphy Club.

    • One of the members who asked about grade was the same year as me and she seemed very happy to know that we had something in common. The leader seemed to be older but he remained polite throughout the whole semester. Aside from my interactions however, I saw that the kouhai speak more politely toward the senpai and those of the same age speak more informally to each other. I am not sure how other clubs are but they may have a similar dynamic.

  3. Ooof this sounds like it seemed far better opportunity than it really panned out to be! 残念。But it is interesting that you did in fact observe such a senpai/kouhai dynamic. I wish it could have been a more fulfilling experience but I am glad that you are at least looking at it in a bit more of a positive/constructive light too the best you can!

    • While I wish the circle had gone better, I did learn from it! Hopefully my experiences will be able to help future members as well.