Jean Yamasaki Toyama
Republished with Permission from
“Bamboo Ridge: Celebrating 30 Years of Local Literature” (Spring 2007)

Mamoko slid the slender ink stick forward then backward making sure that her even strokes made no ripples in the jet black liquid in the shallow well of her ink stone, just like he had taught her. Energy forward had to be balanced with a gentle backward force. She tried to remember how this motion was to smooth out her own edges, the inner side of her so often criticized by her grandmother. The back and forth was to silken and soothe in preparation for the characters that were to flow from the tip of her brush. That’s what he taught her, wasn’t it?

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