For my community involvement
project, I took calligraphy (書道) lessons. It was a small class that took place at the calligraphy teacher’s house every week.
The students in the class were all of varying ages and levels, so each person would work on their own project and get individual feedback from our teacher.
I came into the class without any calligraphy experience, so I usually spent class learning to write one or two new words or phrases, usually consisting of 1-3 kanji. It was a super fun and rewarding experience overall. I not only learned something completely new but also got to know the teacher and other students over time through our conversations each class.
My advice to anyone who wants to try calligraphy is to be super open to feedback and learning. I had experience painting before coming into the class, and while there are similarities, calligraphy is also completely different than anything I had done before. Everything from posture to the way the brush is held, to technique is very important, and being really receptive to feedback and learning a completely new art form is super helpful. Receiving feedback can be pretty challenging though, since the instructor uses a lot of Japanese terms specific to calligraphy. I came into it not knowing many of these, but trying to ask clarifying questions whenever a new term came up helped me gradually come to understand her instructions a lot better.