Brushes

ภาพพู่กันจีนที่ใช้วาดภาพสีน้ำหรือเขียนตัวอักษร Calligraphy   ภาพโดย Kanko จากhttp://farm1.static.flickr.com/26/44250848_12c5bd449c.jpg

**หมายเหตุ**  ผู้เขียนเก็บตกมาจากที่เคยเขียนทิ้งไว้แต่ไม่ได้ให้ใครดูเมื่อปีที่แล้ว ประจวบกับที่เคยคุยกับคุณดอกแก้วไม่นานมานี้เรื่องมาดามชาวญี่ปุ่นที่สอนวาดรูปนกชนิดต่าง ๆ  จึงคิดนำมาฝาก 

ที่มาที่ไปของเรื่องนี้ คือ การเล่าถึงความพยายามของผู้เขียนที่จะสร้าง "หลักสูตรส่วนตัว" ขึ้นมาเอง ในการที่จะเ้ข้าไปเข้าใจจิตวิญญาณของซามูไรในสมัยโตกุกาว่า  โดยการนำตัวเข้าฝึกฝนสรรพศิลปวิทยาการต่าง ๆ อันเกี่ยวข้องกับการเจริญสติที่ซามูไรสมัยนั้นเขาต้องเรียนกัน  โดยมีมาดามวากาโกะเป็นหนึ่งในอาจารย์ที่จับพลัดจับผลู อยู่ดี ๆ ก็ได้เดินชนกันในคอนโดฯ แล้วก็เลยได้เป็นศิษย์ เป็นอาจารย์กัน 

จากการที่ต้องการเข้าไปฝึกการเจริญสติด้วยการวาดภาพสีน้ำด้วยพู่กันกับอาจารย์ชาวญี่ปุ่น  และจากการที่แอบพยายามทำความเข้าใจเองแบบผิด ๆ ถูก ๆ ในเรื่องการใช้เทคนิคดาบกับการใช้พู่กัน และใช้เทคนิคพู่กันกับเพลงดาบ ผู้เขียนพบว่า สิ่งที่ได้เรียนรู้มากที่สุดจากมาดามวากาโกะ คือ ความผูกพันเป็นอันหนึ่งอันเดียวกับธรรมชาติ และสิ่งแวดล้อมรอบตัว ทั้งที่เป็นธรรมชาติจริง ๆ และสังคมรอบตัว  อันส่งผลไปถึงความรู้บุญคุณต่อทุกสรรพสิ่ง ที่ผู้เขียนคิดว่าเป็นจิตวิญญาณที่ชาวญี่ปุ่นได้สืบทอดต่อกันมายาวนานแสนนาน เป็นพันปีก่อนยุคโตกุกาว่าที่ผู้เขียนตั้งใจจะศึกษาเสียอีก

 


Me & Mrs Wakako
  Me with Mrs. Wakako, my classical painting teacher.  With me trying to smile, hoping nobody would notice the mess of my drawing in front, which I obviously tried to covered! 

 The Photo

The photo was taken by my other classmate, using my old phone, Sony T610.  It was late morning, around 11 something, and the sun was coming in through Mrs. Wakako's apartment window.  

Not bad for a photo by an old phone 2 years ago with jeopardized indoor lighting condition! 

Now that my classmate, a Chinese lady, has stopped her lesson, Wakako seemed thoroughly delighted since she prefers to speak only Japanese with me (but I have to open my dictionary all the time!)
 

 Mrs. Wakako



Mrs. Wakako lives alone in the same condominium as I do, has been doing so for 20 years since she's a widower of a Singaporean-Thai businessman who already passed away.   I have class with her every Sunday morning.  But I also meet her often during the week when I go down to walk/jog in the garden.  She's always very kind to me and always comes to talk to me, correcting my japanese, giving me sweets from Japan, etc. 


Since she doesn't have any kids, I guess she likes doting on any chubby Japanese-speaking kids she could find in our Condo!  We used to have many.  Now we have more Koreans than Japanese.  I think it's the sign of economy.


  The Lesson - - Learning About Japanese Society Through Lessons with Mrs. Wakako 

 

  It is always fun in her class, you see, because she always leaves on the NHK channel, both to help tune my ears to rapid-fire spoken Japanese, but also to listen to the Sunday Singing Contest!
 

If you have NHK at home, tune in at 10:15, Bangkok time for something truly amazing!   It's a family a la supremo where some contestants age as old as 97!   Every week they would feature many 80-something contestants. 

And it's not like you have to pray they make it to the end of the song or that you wish the show has a para-medic standing by, they all look very healthy!  Must be those fish and seaweed in their daily diet!

Not only that, despite the fact that some of show's participants and studio's audience are soon going to celebrate their centennial, teenaged singer hopefuls also compete in the same  program!   A truly family show for all generations!

 
Seeing this shows weeks after weeks, I am now convinced that the statistics I read in the newspapers were right, that at present 1 in 5 of Japanese poplation is now aged 65 or over.   And in 4 years, it's going to be 1 in 4!


Thinking back, I think Mrs. Wakako always leaves NHK on because it provides her the comfortable link to her homeland faraway.  Once a year, a family member, usually her younger sister, would come to visit.  But as they are both getting older, I know it must get increasingly difficult.  Mrs. Wakako prefers to remain in Thailand for good, though.  She has found her home here. 
I also think the background music plays an important role in the result of what I draw.  If the music is nice and calm, so would my pine tree.  But if it's barely tolerable, my goldfish suddenly looks like it's going to explode!   

 

Carp

Meet my two carps :)

Regarding what I study with her, I don't really know how to call it.  Theoretically it should be called "Chinese brush painting."  But then, again, the flavor and influence is heavily Japanese (the kind of birds, flowers, and seasons she taught me to draw, including the food she cooks for me!) 

And definitely my approach and my objective in studying it is definitely from a Zen Buddhism point of view.   Very interestingly, she teaches Zen-like philosophy of life while she teaches me to draw also.  The Japanese are highly philosophical people, or at least those that I have studied with!

I don't know whether it's her maternal instinct, the Japanese way of educating their youth, etc., but at the end my classical painting/ calligraphy lesson with her ending up being everything from social etiquette to moral education. 

While she draws me samples, usually pictures of natural objects likes bamboo, flowers, mountains, the ocean or an old man with a hat fishing in a lake by the mountain, you know, those classical scene, she will part to me the wisdom of Japanese proverbs, teaching me about life with the focus on how to always be "mindful" of other people's needs and feelings!

 Sometimes, she even corrects the way I sit!  Gosh!  That reminds me of my mother!  'Coz sometimes, if I sit drawing for a long time, I tend to hunch my back.  She would gently nudge me to always sit straight and make sure my sleeves do not get dipped in the colors!

Then would come her tea.  I feel so Kreng Jai, but she insists that she must make her tea herself and serve me.  Later, she would make her fresh grilled Mochi with soy sauce also, which is very tasty!  Afterwards, it moves to a full Soba meal.  She truly enjoys having me around because I finish everything she cooks!

 You see, an elite samurai during the peace-time Edo period (what I would like to focus in my Ph.D. study) had to be trained in the high and refined arts of not only military and martial arts, but also literature, calligraphy, poetry, tea ceremony, painting, and probably at least one musical instrument.  In every aspect of his training, meditation prevails, directly or indirectly.

Take Battou Jutsu, or the art of sword drawing, which I am training in.  You have to do mini-meditation both before and after each drawing and also one long period at the end of the day's training session.  Everything makes sense and goes in according to the mindfulness training in Theravada Buddhism's Vipassana Meditation.   But I'd rather not bore you about it here yet!   Wait until you read my dissertation and you can choose to fall asleep there and then!  hee hee hee