The Lacombe and District Rikubetsu Friendship Society is once again inviting the public to take part in an exciting new cultural activity. A Tea and Calligraphy event will be held this weekend. 

“It's actually called in Japanese, ‘shodo’ and the English word is ‘calligraphy’. It's really Japanese brush writing and you we want to introduce this to people in Lacombe. It is a very relaxing. You focus on the character you choose or the sensei chooses for you and they guide you through the steps of making that character,” said Marlene McQuesten who is the Chair of the Friendship Society. 

Those attend the lesson will be walking away with a decorative poster of their chosen character as well as an authentic experience. McQuesten believes exploring different cultures builds understanding between people and culture, and creates a personal connection with that culture. 

“It becomes apart of you. Then, you take it in and you build experiences together so that in the future when you meet someone else from a different country, you have a much more open mind and a broader understanding as well,” she added. 

McQuesten says there is no need to be nervous about trying out the art form. It is an introductory course aimed at adults and teenagers. 

“It will be relaxing even though it is something new, because it's simply helping you and guiding you to focus on one thing. Being able to form the letters or the characters is a very satisfying endeavor. It will certainly arouse your curiosity for knowing more about this art form,” she explained. 

She is hoping the Friendship Society will be able to offer more classes, if this introductory one has a decent response from the public.  

“The Sensei comes to us from Edmonton, and she is a part of the Japanese Community Association in Edmonton.  They offer all types of different courses not just calligraphy, but also ikebana which is the flower arrangement and possibly other forms of Japanese art forms,” said McQuesten. 

Rikubetsu, Japan is a sister-city to Lacombe. In a usual year, the Friendship Society helps to coordinate exchanges between the two cities. However, due to the pandemic, McQuesten says a student exchange hasn’t taken place since before 2020. She says it is still undecided whether or not there will be an exchange in 2022. 

In the meantime, the organization is hoping to share Japanese cultural experiences with the residents of Lacombe through experiences like their Tea and Calligraphy event. Due to a limited number of seats, the organization is encouraging that people pre-register; however, walk-ins will still be welcome. 

The Friendship Society will be offering two editions of the event on Saturday April 30th, one will run from 10:00AM-12:00PM, and another that will be offered from 1:00PM-3:00PM. They will both be held at the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Servus Room. Admission is will be $5.