Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Edinburgh University's Japan Day, organised by their Japanese Society. There was so much going on that unfortunately I couldn't see everything I wanted to, but I stayed for about 4 hours before being driven away by hunger!
The first thing I went to was an origami lesson. We all made a cute and useful square box with pointed petals. Then we could choose what to make from all the available worksheets, and I made a jumping frog. I also went to a demonstration of the board game Go.
After this I managed to squeeze in to the first tea ceremony of the day. We all watched the tea ceremony, and a few people got a chance to taste the tea. After that they asked for some volunteers to try making the tea, so I gave that a try. Now I know how to use my Japanese tea whisk properly!
Next I went to a calligraphy demonstration, which I think was my favourite part of the day. Umon Tachibana demonstrated Yose-moji, a particular type of calligraphy used in rakugo theatres (a type of entertainment he compared to stand-up comedy, but done sitting down!). He explained various types of calligraphy, such as those used for sumo wrestling, kabuki theatre, and chochin paper lanterns. Yose-moji is designed to have very little white space within the characters, since white space would symbolise an empty theatre.
I then saw part of a dancing lesson, where about a dozen people were being taught a fan dance by a lady who was giving her instructions only in Japanese. After this was a demonstration of the sword technique Iaido.
Finally I went to another calligraphy lesson, this time with Shigeo Tanaka, and got a chance to try some calligraphy myself, and a Japanese lady came round and wrote our names in katakana.