“Enlightening” is not a word that should be tossed around lightly, but this essay by eighth-grader Ayumi Takada really is just that.
How often do you sit down, dip your pen in some ink and write a letter or put your thoughts down on paper? The art of handwriting might be lost in the West, but surprisingly, students in Japan will often practice cursive writing even though they aren’t taught it in class. And in Japan, there are still plenty of chances for people to write things out from resumes and New Years cards to love letters and condolences, so there is always an opportunity to show off your epic penmanship.
And if you feel your written notes are lacking a certain artistic flair, the stationery store KINGDOM NOTE has just the thing for you: Colors! It’s not just normal boring colors that they are offering either, but original inks in colors inspired by crustaceans.
I have a tiny, slightly embarrassing confession to make. I positively loathe mechanical pencils. In fact, they scare me a little bit.
No, this isn’t some peculiar of act of Luddism on my part, nor was a member of my family ever murdered by a deranged graphic designer. Rather, it’s because every single time–every single time–I use a mechanical pencil, its lead breaks on me within seconds of being touched to the page. And that, dear reader, always gives me a tiny but not insignificant fright. I have enough terror in my life as it is – I don’t need my writing implements keeping me on edge too.
Thankfully, the Japanese arm of stationery company Zebra knows my pain, and has designed a mechanical pencil whose leads simply cannot be broken, no matter how hard you scribble.
Despite many of us considering them to be pets, with the immense power they wield over humans and their near total domination of the internet, cats are clearly the ones in charge. They appear with such frequency in ancient Egyptian iconography that many have wondered whether the Egyptians knew something about cats that we don’t, and no matter how many treats we give the felines we share our homes with, they just never seem to accept us as equals, let alone their masters.
And now, a photo of an ancient set of Chinese characters has given internet users in China even more reason to believe that cats were once the true rulers of the world. Behold: kanji characters depicting cats with ninja headbands!
Can you read the sentence written above? You should be able to; it’s written in English.
When I first started learning Japanese, the Chinese characters and syllabic scripts that were scrawled across my textbooks looked like some kind of crazy code that only aliens could understand. After years of studying, many of the previously cryptic symbols have become familiar, readable letters. However, now even English can be turned into a jumble of alien ciphers thanks to these 10 +1 fonts inspired by Japanese characters.
As a man whose handwriting could be defined as infantile at best, I can’t help but admire those who can wield a fountain pen like a paintbrush. Thanks to the bizarre way in which I hold my pen (I’m right-handed but people often ask if I’m a lefty purely because my grip is so odd), writing with any pen whose ink is wetter than a cheap ballpoint’s results in my hand turning blue and an enormous horizontal smear of ink across the page as if the letters were warping through time.
After seeing this short video from Japanese pen makers Namiki, though, I’m genuinely tempted to sit down and practice writing my ABCs all over again if it means that I can correct my awkward grip and learn to write as beautifully as this…
Remember how much fun it was practicing writing the alphabet when you were a kid? Every single letter; upper and lowercase; again and again; page after page after page. Good times, no?
Well, at least one Japanese NicoNico Douga user seems to think that there’s no better way to pass the time than filming herself writing a few Japanese characters on a sheet of paper. Sorry, did I say “a few” characters? How about just one character? 30,000 times… Read More