Making Connections

It’s been a while since I’ve made an update other than just me uploading some pictures of my shodo practice so I figured I’d do just that.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this book I read a while back called Mastery, by Robert Greene. It’s a fantastic work that I wish I had read when I was in my early 20s. Anyway, there is this idea in the book that one should first master one skill, then go on to master other skills that can tie into each other, creating kind of a web, and I’ve started to see how my different pursuits are related in my life. It’s a blurry picture but there’s something there that I feel can take shape if I explore things further. Maybe.

So, over a month ago I was determined to quit shodo and pour any extra time I had into drawing, but at the urgings of my teacher I decided to half-heartedly continue rather than give everything up for good. Then some switch just flicked in my brain and I found myself devoting 1-2, if not 3 hours to shodo every day since. I’ve only taken 2 days off of that schedule at this point, and to be honest I find myself getting more and more serious about it by the day. I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s motivating me.

I started picking up my kanken study again and am determined to get pre-1 and 1 at some point in the future. I’ve learned my lesson to take things a bit slower so I don’t end up studying for 6 hours a day again, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less serious.

So I have my main skill, Japanese, which… well, I never feel confident enough to say that I’ve mastered, but JLPT, kanken, and 2 years of working experience in city hall might disagree. Kanji is my bread and butter and I don’t know why I am so interested in it but it’s my number one interest. Then I have shodo which is taking that love and doing something artistic with it.

And then I decided to start working towards a dream I’ve had since high school and try and start learning Chinese. I will be doing the Heisig method mixed with hanzi cards (a tried and trued method which led to me proficiency in Japanese). I’ve decided to take it slow with this one too (I only have so much time) but hopefully one day I’ll have a reasonable amount of proficiency. As the majority of the stuff I practice in shodo is actually copies of really old Chinese work, I thought it would be beneficial for me to learn a bit.

But, honestly I’ve been interested in Chinese since high school as I said earlier. And as I already know over 3,000 kanji, I thought it would be interesting to start comparing it to the original usage in Chinese. Aaaand I also do kung fu/tai chi, so I thought there would be an interesting connection there that might prove useful one day.

And speaking of kung fu… I feel like the lessons of self control and development I get from that flow into all of the other work I do.

And then there’s my art. Which is at kind of a stand still. Of everything I do, I’ve had almost no time to dedicate to it presently. Even though I have zero work currently. Hopefully I’ll find some time in the future, but right now things are looking kinda bad. Even so, I hold out hope that there will be some way to fuze it into my other knowledges.

Anyway, I have Japanese, shodo, Chinese, kung fu, and art all kind of forming this web in my life but I don’t feel proficient enough at anything to pull them into something meaningful in time for the coming job hunt. My wife finally got her visa interview date scheduled, so I need to start looking for something, but what is it? What is that something? I guess if I had to pick one thing I’m absolutely enthusiastic about, it’s kanji, but….. so what? Is there a job for a kanji nut out there?

Sigh. One foot in front of the other…


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