Calligraphers of Instagram (Part 4) - Uchiyama Kenichi


Welcome to Part 4 of Calligraphers of Instagram, and this week we're keeping things super simple with Uchiyama Kenichi.

The Japanese way of giving names is to put the family name (Uchiyama) first, and then the given name (Kenichi).

That's the Japanese way, so I'll keep it that way too.

Also, I have a friend with exactly the same name, so I'll call my friend Kenichi Uchiyama and the calligrapher Uchiyama Kenichi. It keeps things simple.

Uchiyama is a designer from Yokohama, Japan.

He posts clean, minimalist Japanese handwriting on a separate handwriting Instagram account.

I'm not even sure if you can call it calligraphy, it's so gloriously simple. But he's got nice handwriting, and I love having it in my feed.

↓ こんにちは konnichiwa ("hello!")



Challenge time!

Can you read these next three?









Did you get it? These are the three Japanese "alphabets": ひらがな hiragana, カタカナ katakana, and 漢字 kanji. Each is written in its own alphabet, of course.

What I love most though is Uchiyama's series of Japanese placenames:

↓ 北海道 Hokkaido



↓ 名古屋市 Nagoya-shi (Nagoya city)



I love the balance and simplicity in his writing. It's not big or ostentatious. It has a quiet confidence, I think.

Follow Uchiyama Kenichi (or Kenichi Uchiyama!) on his writing-only Instagram account at @u.handwriting

Calligraphers of Instagram (Part 3) - Isawo Murayama


Hello and welcome to the third instalment of "Calligraphers of Instagram", where I introduce amazing artists making Japanese calligraphy - and sharing it online.

Isawo Murayama is a busy mum-of-four who makes time to create new pieces daily.

Her work feels a bit like a diary - together with her descriptive Instagram captions, her calligraphy offers up a little slice of her day-to-day life.

Traditional Japanese calligraphy uses a brush which is dipped into ink, but Murayama uses a 筆ペン (fude-pen) or "brush pen" to write.

A brush pen is like a fountain pen with a soft nib. It handles like a pen, but writes like a brush.

I love her stories and the little explanations behind her words, as well as the bold, small lettering.

In this first one she talks about the importance of two words: ごめん "sorry" and ありがとう "thank you".
ごめんと言える勇気とありがとうと言える素直さと。
Gomen to ieru yuuki to arigatou to ieru sunao-sa to.
The courage to say sorry, and the grace to say thank you.


Some of her posts are like little motivational speeches:
自分を信じることから始めよう。
Jibun o shinjiru koto kara hajimeyou.
"Start by believing in yourself."
I really like the juxtaposition of big thoughts on small paper here.



As well as telling stories about her kids in her captions, Murayama also writes powerfully about the advice she would like to give her younger self:
あなたを思ってくれる人はたくさんいる / 気づいて... /心...ひらいて
Anata o omotte kureru hito wa takusan iru / kizuite / kokoro hiraite
"There are lots of people who care about you / Realise this... / Open your heart"

Isn't that lovely?

You can find Isawo Murayama (@isaisa5963) on Instagram here, or read more on her (Japanese-language) blog.

Calligraphers of Instagram (bonus pun!) - @yogai888emi again


I can't believe I wrote an entire blog post about calligrapher @yogai888emi and forgot to include this amazing pun.

タイ料理が食べタイ

tai ryouri ga tabe-tai

"I want to eat Thai food."

What's the Japanese word for "Thai?" it's タイ tai.

And how do you say "want to eat" in Japanese? You stick -tai on the end of the verb.

It's funny, right?

Cute, too ♡

Calligraphers of Instagram (Part 1) - @yogai888emi


I absolutely love kanji - Chinese characters that are also used in Japanese writing.

But calligraphy is not my strong point. My writing is good, but not particularly beautiful.

I have, however, recently become slightly obsessed with instagrammers who post Japanese calligraphy photos.

So I thought it might be fun to share some with you!

I first discovered @yogai888emi via this adorable story about falling asleep on the train.

↓ Look at those lovely clean lines. I immediately had serious handwriting envy.

A post shared by 恵美・曄涯 (@yogai888emi) on

Can you read this one?
↓ 掃除 (souji) "cleaning"


If kanji's not your thing, you can find beautiful hiragana and katakana on her page too.

↓ ハナゲ (hanage) "nose hair"



There are videos, too, if you like watching calligraphy. I do - I find it strangely relaxing.

↓ 煮える (nieru) to boil, to be cooked. This one's from the height of summer!



You can find heaps more of her work at @yogai888emi's instagram page. I hope you enjoy exploring it as much as I do.

Just looking at calligraphy won't make your handwriting more beautiful though - unfortunately!

The One Million Meanings of Yoroshiku

 
Last week we learned different ways to say "Nice to meet you!" in Japanese. And the star of the show was yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

But yoroshiku isn't just for the first time you meet someone. It has a million different uses.

Let's look at the main different meanings of this magical, multipurpose Japanese word.


1. Yoroshiku means "Please!"


Yoroshiku, as we learned last week, is used when meeting new people, and means: "please be kind to me", "please look favourably upon me."

初めまして。アメリーです。よろしくお願いします。
"Hajimemashite. Amerii desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu."
Nice to meet you. I'm Amelie. Please be kind to me. 

2. Yoroshiku means "Thank you!"


As well as please, yoroshiku means thank you.

Specifically, it means thank you in advance. Said when giving someone work to do:

とじまり、よろしくね。
Tojimari, yoroshiku ne.
"I'll leave you to lock up. Thanks."

娘をよろしくお願いします。
Musume o yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
"Thanks in advance for taking care of my daughter."

3. Yoroshiku means "Hi!"


This is one of my favourites. This "yoroshiku" means "regards", like "send my regards to so-and-so", or "say hi to so-and-so", or even "send my love to so-and-so":

お父さんによろしくお伝えください。
O-tou-san ni yoroshiku o tsutae kudasai.
Please send my best regards to your father.

お姉さんによろしくね。
O-nee-san ni yoroshiku ne.
Say hi to your sister for me.


What's your favourite use of yoroshiku? Did I miss any out? Let me know...yoroshiku ne!