The teacher came around a few times to check what I was doing and show me where I was going wrong by guiding my brush across the paper. Finally our group got to practise our first whole hangul character today too. 가 Ka.
Still wobbly with dodgy spacing but it’s a start.
I like the pace of this course. Every week (still only in week 3 though) I’m given a new stroke to practise. Today I arrived a few minutes early to get settled and begin the warm up (below) as I find that I really need this time to calm down and clear my head. Korean conversations go on around me as more students arrive and set up their work, getting ink stones from the cupboard at the back of the room or cups of tea from the refreshment table. I think this warm up could be used for various psychological tests including personality assessments or even as a (cheap) lie-detector test because I can see that my state of mind really affects my strokes. For example, if I’m in a hurry and can’t be bothered to brush enough of the excess ink off on the side of the ink stone before I start, then I get a thick blotchy line that gets bigger and uglier as the ink soaks into the paper (see top line below). If I lose concentration, the line starts veering off in the wrong direction. If someone comes and looks over my shoulder then there’ll be a little hiccup in the line or it will wobble because I suddenly feel nervous. So I bet it would be possible to asses if someone were telling the truth by making them paint straight lines and interrogating them as they go. Then all we’d have to do is assess the wobbles and hiccups in the lines. This test could also be used at job interviews to reveal personality traits such as if the candidate is able to pay attention to detail. I’m obviously not able to, because my lines don’t even start or end at the same level as each other which reveals (I bet) that I’m a generalist and not a specialist. I think I’m on to something here.
Seoul Opera House
This is one of my favourite buildings in Seoul – the opera house at the Seoul Art Centre. Korean historical drama fans will notice that the roof of the building is shaped like the headwear (갓) worn by the aristocratic yangban in the Joseon period (see below).
Ji Jin Hee as King Sukjeong dressed as a yangban in Dong Yi, MBC Continue reading
I’ve been meaning to join a calligraphy class for ages because I wanted to do something artistic and finally I did it. The first class was last Thursday afternoon at the local culture centre. Each term lasts for three months (30,000 won, very cheap) and the classes are once a week. I was told by the ladies at reception when I applied for the course that I’d have to bring all my own stuff : – ink 먹, paper 종이, brush 붓, as the only thing they have there are the ink stones벼루. I did a bit of calligraphy in Japan years ago and still had some brushes. So I dug those out and bought a stack of paper and a bottle of ink from the local stationary shop with the dream that I will soon be writing beautiful hangul…
I have a talent, but it is for always arriving just that little bit too late for events where it would be a lot better to arrive 10 minutes early. I did it again for the first lesson. I was only five minutes late but the teacher was already at the front of the class talking to a packed room of students sitting at long rows of tables with dark blue felt tablecloths. The teacher was indicating towards the two lines of hanja he had written on the board and the students were quietly copying it down into their notebooks. I was very confused since I had signed up for the hangul 한글 lessons not hanja 漢字. Perhaps if I had arrived ON TIME I would have known what was going on. I discovered later that the sentences on the board were a Korean poem and that at the beginning of each lesson for about 30 minutes we’ll learn a new poem and the teacher introduces the meaning and reading of the hanja and we read the poem out loud together. I like this. Continue reading