It's held once a month.
I get to practise writing (and painting) with a Japanese brush without the horrid pressure of a calligraphy teacher brandishing red ink.
It's a little bit arty, a little bit wordy and a big bit social.
It's pay per lesson so I can cancel when life gets out of control.
But I almost gave up on the whole thing before I even got there. Bloody ridiculous, narrow, winding, edged by freaking 2m tall concrete fence roads. Grrrr.
Seriously. I was six minutes early when I found the sign to the Senior Welfare Centre I was heading to. (Yes, feeling rather old lately I've started taking classes at the Senior Citz. Centre...) I could see the building. And the carpark. But I was driving the freakishly oversized 7-seater car. The intersection was made by an engineer without a set square. Not a 90 degree angle in sight. I was approaching from the acute angle side. The neighbours on either side of the intersection are proponents of the concrete block aesthetic. There was literally no way on earth I was going to get around the corner to the centre without taking out a piece of decorative concrete wall.
No problem. I'm six minutes early after all! I will just drive up to the next U-turnable space, do my signature 94 point turn and approach from the other direction. Easy-Peasy-Japanesey, right?
Through some miracle of navigational genius I managed to end up at the end of a dead end gravel road (the kind of thing Australians would call a driveway...) with (another) concrete fence on one side, an irrigation ditch on the other and absolutely no room to do anything whatsoever.
After a moment getting my panic impulse out of the way I decided there was nothing to it. I was just going to have to suck it up and back out. Onto a busy (well for the back end of nowhere anyway- let's just say an un-deserted road. With (yet another!) concrete wall on the corner. Easy-Peasy-Japanesey.
Eight minutes later I was seriously considering leaving the car there, a note on the windscreen saying I was at the Seniors' Centre and then calling K to come and rescue me during his lunch break. K, my knight in shining armour- well knight in dusty working greens but I'll take that any day! Small problem with said plan- trying to explain to K where I was... k-trucks don't have power windows or aircon, let alone satnav!
Perseverance pays and all that I eventually managed to back out onto the road- facing the right direction no less- without taking out any concrete constructions and only holding up a taxi in one direction and a k-truck (not K) in the other. Gotta love Japan. Noone even tooted me. Just sat there patiently waiting for me to turn the tank.
Phew.... So I was about seven minutes late for class. Well, from the fact that everyone had come in, de-shod, settled, got out their equipment, filled their water containers and passed around last month's newsletter I have a feeling they were probably all early and actually considered me quite late. But by the clock I was only seven minutes late.
We started with warming up exercises of trying to draw a straight line incredibly slowly- 1mm per second. My close encounter of the concrete/ ditch kind had me all on an adrenalin buzz and my hands were shaking far too much to draw straight even at regular speed so it was a wobbly line indeed that issued forth from my brush.
Never fear. Learnt my lesson, next month I'm taking the little car.
Scratch that, I'll take my bicycle- probably take less time travelling the 15 or so kilometres than I did reversing out of that road anyway!!