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Photo taken by: Toyoo Mori
Event Description

KAKIZOME

1/7/17 “Kakizome”, the First Calligraphy Writing of the Year, at Arts Mid-Hudson (public event) It is very spiritual and respectful culture, and it’s also lots of fun, to write new Resolution of the year on a long Washi paper with a large brush as big as you want - to lift up the energy and ready to challenge the New Year. That was the traditional Kakizome we remember. So, we should have prepared for the participants’ spirits carrying their own Resolution to write. However, translating English version into proper Japanese Kanji is not so easy “challenge” as some vocabularies could be unexpected or almost impossible to translate. Besides, especially now that anyone could use iPhone to check if we made a mistake, we got to be very careful to come up with correct spelling… So, to avoid embarrassment, as we learned from our previous experience, I advised my staff not to encourage participants to think of any English Resolution. It didn’t work, of course, since some were repeated customers they knew exact what they wanted to write - “Opportunity”, “Focus”, etc etc. Talking about “translation”, I even made a mistake when I mentioned about Chinese readings for the Year of the Rooster in my New Years Greetings - between Premonition and Prediction translated from Japanese “Yokoku”, as they share the same Kanji while not exactly the same meaning in English. Then I went to the Chinese Kakizome though they don’t call it nor practice the same way but it seems more ritual form and signifying “Fortune”. I, of course, noticed two characters among the couplets letters Dr. Guo wrote on red paper with calligraphy ink were “Kin (gold)” and “Niwatori (chicken however in this particular circumstance it is the Rooster)”. So I asked them why the “Rooster”, not chicken in general or hen, but the male chicken who doesn’t even produce eggs, never mind the Golden Eggs. Unfortunately, no one disclosed their secret old legend, if any, which may explain exact the reason why male chicken was chosen by Chinese ancestor, who was as respected as God, except Alice who said in her opinion no female was considered as equal/valuable as male at that time (very good argument there). Then Dr. Guo told us the pronunciation of the two letters “Golden Rooster” is similar to “Good Luck”. As my final conclusion even adopting the Alice’s opinion, since the typical domestic chicken is all white, the colorful male chicken the Rooster who indeed wear perfect gold feather besides the ability to fly, is more likely qualified to become one of the symbolic Zodiac animals, though there is no academic proof of my theory. So, the Rooster it is. Although the idea of the Kakizome in Japanese way is obviously different from the Chinese, we all welcome any positive words such as Fortune, Good luck, Happiness and Success, thus they are the popular characters written at the First Writing of the Year. By the way, Chinese would hang a character of “Fuku (Good luck)” upside down hoping to bring good luck in. As a Japanese I had to fight the strong natural urge to put it back to the normal way to read, however, once heard that I’d dare want to do anything against Chinese old prediction. I only wish I had asked how long I’d have to keep it that way… Thanks to Arts Mid-Hudson who sponsored our Kakizome again. I especially thank to our volunteer members who never hesitate to challenge the Kanji vs. English version of New Years Resolution. I see the very positive year we are facing as we have started with very successful event. Midori Shinye Team Leader
 
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