January 24, 2011

Japanese Writing

We did a lot with Japanese writing for this unit.

Not good Japanese writing, but our best efforts nonetheless.

Our first lesson in Japanese writing was taught by a new friend of mine--Sarah. She served a mission in Japan and was willing to show us how to write a few words.

Then, I found this website that translates English/American names into Japanese characters. Since I don't speak/write any Japanese, I cannot verify how accurate this translator is--but, it was sure fun to type in names and see what happened.

You can find the website for the translations here.

After we'd played with the translator for awhile, we printed off all the names in our family so we could practice writing them. (Cowen was unavailable--so we chose Kenny from the list of closest names since that is Cowen's grandfather's name.)

Small note--to print, I dragged the name itself to my desktop. You can't cut and paste into Word because Word won't recognize the letters and if you print the whole webpage you waste a ton of ink. There is a little help box to help you figure out how to print on the website.

Here's what my name looks like.

Here are my efforts to write my name.

After writing our names in Japanese for awhile, I sat the children on the couch and read them two books. The first is called The Art of Japan by Shirley Glubok. I don't really think that highly of this book. The pics are all black and white and the whole presentation is a little weak. However, I couldn't find much at the library so I was working with what I had. To my surprise, my children really liked the book. We didn't read it all, but we talked about the ways the Japanese artists brought in nature themes and tried to create a peaceful feeling. We also talked about Buddhism as a lot of the art is religious in nature. In short, although the book isn't great, it is still worth getting if you can't find something better.

In the art book, the author mentions calligraphy and includes several pictures of paintings that incorporate calligraphy.

Obviously, we had to try some of our own. Since I anticipated that, I also had another library book on hand called 1-2-3 Calligraphy! Letters and Projects for Beginners and Beyond by Eleanor Winters.

I didn't think the layout of the calligraphy book was that great either. However, it had the alphabet in several calligraphy styles and that is all we needed.

I can barely write legibly, let alone write beautifully. Here's my sad attempt.
It doesn't really matter, though, that my attempts were pitiful. It made the children feel better about their own attempts. Calligraphy is tough for little ones who are just learning to master basic penmanship. Despite the less than stellar results of our efforts, we certainly enjoyed making the effort!

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