Workshop at Brightwood Elementary School

Demo and Calligraphy workshop for 7th Grade, 120 students.


DATE: March 2015

PLACE: Brightwood Elementary School, Alhambra Unified School District


Having spent a year in Australia 🇦🇺🐨✨at the age of sixteen, I have many fond memories from that time. It was my honor to share MatchaSho®︎ with the Australian Embassy in Japan.

“ I first learned about Shoran's talents and services through a mutual contact at Kizuna (a non-profit organization based in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California), and thus reached out to her with hopes of having a professional like herself share some of her knowledge and wisdom about the art of Japanese calligraphy to our students. After working with Shoran from our initial contact all the way to the actual date of the workshop, I was very impressed and pleased with her professionalism, her skill-set, and her rapport with children and adults. More importantly, the students thoroughly enjoyed her calligraphy workshop and were excited to share their new knowledge about this aspect of the Japanese culture with their families and friends.
In the seventh grade history curriculum, we study Feudal Japan, so learning about the history of Japanese calligraphy goes hand- in-hand with the content and provides a unique hands-on experience for the students to gain more insight. With this in mind, Shoran and I worked closely to ensure that the workshop met all of the academic criteria that we needed to meet. She was very easy to talk to and listened intently to our needs, which was very reassuring. While Japanese calligraphy requires specific tools, supplies, and other equipment, we (as a public school) were unable to obtain all of her requested supplies, which worried us. (i.e. We were unable to use traditional black calligraphy ink and had to use non-toxic watercolor paints.) I communicated this with her, expecting a harsh response and a possible cancellation of services. However, Shoran took all of this into consideration and was very flexible with us. She even adjusted her workshop in a way that best catered to the students in light of the setbacks. Her professionalism and willingness to make adjustments was greatly appreciated and made the planning process much easier.
Shoran's actual presentation was very engaging and interesting. She is a soft-spoken presenter, but with the help of audio amplification equipment, the students were able to listen and understand what she had to say. All of the students were engaged throughout the workshop because she was able to break down the history of Japanese calligraphy in a way that was accessible to all students of different cultural backgrounds. In addition, her step-by-step instructions for writing the actual kanji (Chinese characters) were very easy to understand. Despite working with over 60 students at a time, she was able to go to each student and quickly evaluate their progress, praising quality work and identifying mistakes for students to fix. This attention to detail and her willingness to check their work was impressive to all of the seventh grade teachers, myself included. Plus, her calligraphy is absolutely beautiful - all of the students commented how they were so impressed with her demonstrations, and several of them did some outside research to learn more after the workshop. Indeed, Shoran was able to impart her wisdom on Japanese calligraphy and sparked an interest in many of the students.
Overall, the Brightwood seventh grade team teachers, myself included, were very impressed and pleased with Shoran's Japanese calligraphy workshop and presentation.”

Stacy Iwata7th Grade Teacher, Brightwood Elementary School, Alhambra Unified School District