Nearly 3,000 Calligraphers in Japanese Break Out the Brushes for Annual New Year’s Ritual

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TOKYO (REUTERS) .- Nearly 3,000 people gathered in Tokyo on Wednesday from as far away as Brazil to break out their calligraphy brushes for an annual new year’s ritual to bring in 2011. Traditionally, people across Japan use ink brushes and paper to write out their resolutions, wishes or auspicious Chinese characters to commemorate the start of a new year. Participants, who ranged from those barely old enough to write all the way up to 80-somethings, were given 24 minutes to complete their calligraphic portrayals of the year ahead. “I first came since my nephew had been coming a few times, and now I’ve come 13 times in a row,” said 60-year-old Yasuko Ikeda after finishing her piece, executed using a thick, horse-hair brush and ink made from charcoal. The Chinese characters selected for people to write ranged from “New Year” to “Vibrant Nature.” “I hope that, as I wrote, I can get through this year without catching a cold or getting sick,” said Yuki Oogane, 12, who wrote the Chin