202405291AIRA sent instructors and interpreters to help the students from Northern Arizona University (NAU) to experience Traditional Japanese cultures.


Date and Time:  Wednesday, May 29, 2024   10:00 a.m. ~ 4:00 p.m.

Venue: Room 1, Abiko Civic Plaza

Participants: Eleven NAU students and Professor Kurt Lancaster


(Japanese calligraphy) Mr. Shigeo Arai (art name: 童風Dofu), AIRA member

(Ikebana) Ms. Yasuko Shibata (art name: 香蒲Koho) from Ohara School

Interpreters: Ms. Rie Hama and Ms. Chizu Yamaguchi

The students and the professor visited Japan with the guidance of Ms. Mary Adachi, a former AIRA English instructor.  The students are studying creative media and film at NAU’s School of Communication and came to Abiko to attend workshops for Japanese cultural experiences. 

1. Japanese calligraphy (10:00 a.m. ~ 12:00 p.m.)

 Mr. Arai explained the structures of Kanji (Chinese characters), the history of their introduction to Japan, and 文房四宝, “Four Treasures of Writing Tools”, i.e., 筆(fude. brushes, 墨(sumi ink), 硯(suzuri, inkstone)and 紙(kami, paper).  Ms. Hama interpreted his lecture for the students.

 The students tried Japanese calligraphy for the first time.  They practiced writing repeatedly, and Mr. Arai kindly corrected their work.  Over time their writing transformed into the graceful art of calligraphy.  Some students filmed videos and then engaged in writing practice.

  ※ Youtube 「Shodo Documentary」






2. Ikebana (Japanese traditional flower arrangement)

 Ms. Shibata explained the history of Ikebana, the characteristics of the three main Ikebana Schools, and the relations between Japanese architectural styles and Ikebana. Her lecture was interpreted by Ms. Yamaguchi.

 The materials for the flower arrangement on that day were blackish-red New Zealand Flaxes, pink roses, and variegated Plantain Lilies (Hosta).  The students cut the stems, changed the angles, and arranged them, considering the balance under Ms. Shibata’s instruction.  The Ikebana workshop was also filmed by some of the students.

 Lastly, the students interviewed Ms. Shibata, asking her why she chose to be an Ikebana teacher and inquiring about other topics.

(Translated by Chizu Yamaguchi)

    (Reference:"The Art of Ikebana" 5.29 2024

                         “Ikebana” filmed by NAU students in June 2023)