Odarri Zeshin

May 27, 2011
by: GSoukup

This was a woodwork painting done by Odarri back in 2008. We were in 9th grade and our Japanese teacher Bantsu-sensei told us about a Japanese art exhibit that would be in New York for about a month. He told us that only a limited number of people could go on this trip, and Odarri jumped at the opportunity. He was the first one with the permission slip and the first one to give it back. He was so excited.

On the train ride there he was practicing his Japanese with the higher grades that were with us. The smile on his face was priceless. When we got to the Japan Society on First Avenue, he was rushing us to eat and get inside. When we finally did, he was at the front of the tour line and was asking all the questions that popped into his mind. After two hours of touring and story telling, we sat down in a huge room to a traditional Japanese lunch. He devoured three of them. He loved Japanese food.

Then the fun part. We were given paint, brushes, and a plank of wood and were told to create something beautiful. Mine sucked. But Odarri sat quietly and stared at the wood. He didn't move or blink, just stared. Then as if an on switch had been flicked, he got to work, first with pencil, then paint. He finished the outline, then when he started painting, time was up. Though discouraged, he smiled and said "I'll finish my masterpiece at home."

Weeks went by and after time passed, we all went back to show off our art work that we have produced. Everyone loved Odarri's painting. Out of all of them, his seemed the most detailed. The artist we were copying had long been dead, but a current master was very happy about the work we had done. Odarri's painting actually took the artist's most famous piece and added his own interpretation. He devoured three lunches that day too.

I don't remember seeing him that happy before.