To be completely honest, I was not sure what to expect. I did not have very high hopes, until I quickly discovered that my horrible handwriting skills did not affect my shodou, as the characters are too large for it to matter.
As soon as I attempted the very first line, I realized just how difficult it was.
Sensei made it look very easy, because she is an experienced shodou veteran.
Surprisingly, my skills quickly improved.
After a little practice, I tried to write a poem, but it proved too advanced for my skills; I quickly ran out of space on the page. There is a surprising amount of planning required. You have to visualize each stroke and its size, else your drawing will look lopsided or you will quickly run out of space.
At first, I found maneuvering the ofude to be extremely difficult, but after some practice, I quickly became–less terrible.
For me, the most interesting “script” is semi-cursive. I feel it strikes a good balance between artistic and actually legible. The part I disliked the most was that the table was not at the right height for shodou; my arms had to be cocked at an awkward angle.
Other than that, I had an extremely enjoyable experience. By far, the best part of the whole experience was that we got to keep all of our shodou equipment! I am very much looking forward to attempting shodou on my own.