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Creative Career Path

10 Meanings of WA2011.05.10

    We live in a resonant world. Everything about us vibrates or oscillates in some rhythm. Sometimes nature shakes our slumber, like the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan an afternoon in March, and turned our world upside-down. Words and stories surrounding that day and what happened since have resonated around the world.


    The most resonant words of all are in poetry, particularly when it springs from something otherwise thought familiar, and changes the way you see it.


    10 Meanings of WA is a tribute to ten core themes in Japanese culture, an ebook of original brush calligraphy, poetry, and art on Japan in the face of adversity, written by William Reed and Hugh Purser. It is offered in appreciation to anyone who makes a donation in any amount of their own choosing, to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund through the page we have set up for this purpose, where there is also a preview of the ebook at:


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    This project came about through a series of serendipitous encounters over a period of 25 years. It started in 1986, after I had published my first books through Japan Publications, Ki: A Practical Guide for Westerners (1986), and a sequel on calligraphy, Shodo: The Art of Coordinating Mind, Body, and Brush (1989).


    At the time I had an Aikido school on the 57th floor of the Sunshine 60 Building in Ikebukuro, as well as a brush calligraphy school in Yoyogi. It was through these two books that I met Hugh Purser, who was working in Tokyo at the time, and showed up at my classes with the book in hand. He became my student in both Aikido and Shodo, and we became lifelong friends.


    Hugh had lived for a combined 17 years in Singapore, India, and Japan, where we met some 25 years ago. Although he currently resides in Cambridge, England, we have kept in close touch throughout this time, Hugh encouraging me to produce additional work in English on Aikido and Shodo, and both of us sharing ideas on the practical applications of Asian wisdom to modern living and business.


    Sharing an interest in poetry, calligraphy, and the martial arts, we had already been collaborating for several years on a project where Hugh would convert my articles and blog posts into poetry, and I would illustrate them with calligraphy. It started with a piece we called Budo, Blogs, and Poems: A New Recipe for Ideas Drawn from Japanese Culture, History, & Daily Life. This ebook contains my articles in prose, Hugh’s interpretation in poetry, and my calligraphy by way of illustration. This work contains nine themes: Power in Your Ritual, Attitude of Gratitude, Tofu Wars, Bamboo Princess, Nanba Secrets, Powerful Perseverance, Hitting is Not Striking, The Wave of Opportunity, Why am I Here?, which you can download at


    We have also written, but not yet published, a series of 66 English Tanka Poems based on articles from this column, Creative Career Path, which we plan to illustrate with calligraphy and artwork, and produce in various physical, print, and digital media.


    We believe that poetry and calligraphy have the power to inspire and transform people through resonant words, which gain strength in repeated readings. So much of what we read has been reduced to information or noise, that many people have forgotten the power of the written and spoken word.


    Now we hope to magnify that power beyond personal transformation into a project of collaborative contribution, whereby people from all over the world can show their love for Japanese culture, and tangible support to those still suffering from the disastrous earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan.


    Visit the page at Donate to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund and help us to help those in need. Then download the 10 Meanings of WA, and gain new appreciation for Japan’s inner strength.


    William Reed


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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