tokyo, japan: calligraphy class
On my first day in Japan, I went to my 3rd AirBNB experience. I absolutely love these experiences! You can easily go onto the AirBNB app and find social impact experiences that enable you to take in the local culture while also giving back to the community. Plus, the instructors are always the absolute best! Tenshin is the CEO of NPO LESA (Language Education and Support Association). His organization raises funds for HIV positive children in Vietnam via these calligraphy classes.
The work he is doing is absolutely incredible! He teaches a variety of students and adults the art of calligraphy, which he has been perfecting since a young age. He showed us some photos of the students he works with and explained the help the organization provides. Children in need receive books, study materials, clothes, beds and study scholarship via NPO-LESA. Tenshin is so passionate about helping these children and it comes through in his work.
During the actual class itself, it was so cool to be doing calligraphy in Japan! I love these hands-on, local experiences in addition to sight-seeing as it really enhances a city. Tenshin's warm heart, kindness and energy made the class for me and my 3 new friends (Luigi, Patrick and Janlerey) so fun and enjoyable! He joked with me to "slow down" as my fast-paced nature hurried along the letters :). We tried a variety of strokes and techniques and were treated with some Hato Subure along the way (Japanese cookies).
Small world story: I noticed Tenshin was wearing a blue striped Oak Hill CC polo. I did a double-take as I recognized my Dad having that shirt! I asked him about it and Tenshin said one of his students from Rochester, NY gave it to him! This is only 1 hour away from where I grew up and my dad has golfed at the same country club! What a small world and a beautiful taste of home!
After the class, Tenshin was even gracious enough to walk me to see the Tokyo Tower. It was so great getting to know him and more about his initiative. Doing these hands-on, purpose-driven experiences where you get to meet people doing good and engage with the culture is when I am the most happy!