Experiencing the Beauty of Japanese Calligraphy and Shojin Ryori Cuisine at the Historic Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple
Electronics manufacturer T
An International Team Enjoys Shodo Calligraphy and Shojin Ryori at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple
Our client for this experience, Company T, is a USA-based electronics manufacturer. In summer 2022, when Japan began loosening its restrictions on entrants from overseas, the company held an off-site meeting for employees from the head office and Japan.
With everyone gathered for the meeting, the company held a shodo calligraphy experience at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple as a team-building exercise.
Then, after trying Japanese calligraphy, the group enjoyed shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) for dinner at Tsukiji Hongwanji’s restaurant. In addition to its regular menu, the restaurant also offered vegan options.
A Traditional Shodo Experience that Wrapped up with Presentations
The experience started with an introduction to calligraphy tools and the fundamentals of shodo courtesy of the fluent English-speaking instructor.
Through practice, non-Japanese participants who had never tried shodo before were able to get the hang of things. Meanwhile, some of the Japanese participants were skilled at calligraphy, so they received a considerable amount of attention from their non-Japanese colleagues. With conversation naturally flowing among participants, the ambiance was warm and lively.
After the practice session, everyone was divided into three teams, with each team creating a joint work of calligraphy. First, the instructor demonstrated how to write the characters “協” (cooperation), “創” (creation), and “未来” (future) on large sheets of paper. Then, participants surrounded each character with words in their own handwriting to create their own joint masterpieces.
Next, each team presented their creation. The team leader would first explain the thought process behind the words that the team wrote; afterward, other members would provide additional explanations.
Finally, everyone assembled for a group photo. Considering the relaxed and casual atmosphere captured on camera, it was hard to believe that many participants had only met one another in person for the first time!
A Day Full of Discoveries for Participants of All Nationalities and Cultures
Japanese participants enjoyed reliving the memories of their primary-school days as they took part in the calligraphy experience, while non-Japanese asked questions such as, “How do you write this?” Observing the participants at work, we can say that it was a very harmonious scene.
As for the shojin-ryori dinner, participants found it helpful that we asked about their dietary restrictions in advance and accommodated them accordingly.
With the Japanese participants learning that not only tourists, but also Japanese locals, could experience calligraphy at Tsukiji Hongwanji, this truly was a day of discoveries for everyone, regardless of nationality.
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