I paused at a corner I have passed many times. Actually I have taken a picture of this corner in the autumn when the Japanese Maple was flaring red. But today was different. I noticed a small metal plaque that had attached to it a wooden plank. Written on the wood was some Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy).
The brushwork is very hard for me to discover what exactly was written. I can stare into the lines and appreciate the care, and the beauty of each ink filled stroke. Each stroke then works in with the street corner. All the elements are working in a harmony within the frame of my lens. The Japanese maple, the wooden planter box, the advertisement behind the poetry are all synced. I love Japan when all these elements stack up on one another within my viewfinder.
Shodo is becoming a lost art in Japan. The youth have all taken to texting, tweeting, and blogging. The computer tools allow the youth to write Kanji without know the step by step process to write them on paper. This lost art was reinforced when I opened my mailbox. Among the bills, catalogs and flyers was an actual letter. This was not a form letter. It was not an email. It was a letter addressed to me written in a beautiful cursive script. A dear friend took the time to write his thoughts out for my benefit on paper. The letter’s words looped across the page, as I read my friends thoughts. An art of lettering writing that I myself had been loosing, if I haven’t already lost.
It was a synchronous moment. Seeing and photographing the calligraphy on the street corner and then receiving the beautifully written letter. Sometimes we have days like these and sometimes we don’t. We need to look for those signs that we are given. We need to pay attention to those hints that the Creator is dropping us. If we don’t we will forever be wandering aimlessly in the dessert.