I have been studying Japanese calligraphy for over six years now, from the same teacher. The number of students my teacher has has grown greatly over those years, and this year, for the first time, the teacher organized a class exhibition at a gallery in Tokyo's Shibuya shopping district.
Intially I declined the opportunity to participate, balking at the 32,000 yen it required. However, my teacher was insistent and passionately set about trying to convince me to take part. Looking back, I don't think the reasons were basically any better than "but every one else is." However, needless to say, I crumbled and forked out for the privilege.
Everyone submitted two pieces. A certain sum of the money handed over went into mounting them. The bigger of the two I submitted is pictured above: a Chinese poem. Saturday afternoon didn't rain, there were a lot of fellow students there who I knew by face but not name, so it was good to get to know them a little better and see what their work looked like.
The profundity and beauty of certain works was stunning, especially since some of them were created by people whose personalities hinted at nothing of the profundity and beauty their brushes are capable of.
There was champagne and expensive nibbles - as you'd expect for a the kind of money we'd forked out. But, at the end of the day, it was a very closed circle of spectators - basically incestuous, and I left after it had wound down three hours later thinking I'm going to be "out of town, unfortunately" next time it comes around.
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