Birthday present for Federico
Sep 2009 - Frame by Muji)

For Western names I usually look for a direct Japanese equivalent for the root meaning.
In this case, Federico has the following origin:

Origin: German
Comes from: Frithurik
Meaning: “Someone who dominates the things he controls”
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From that I look for the same concept in Kanji:

Your own belongings

Govern, control, direction

In this case I also added a phonetic transliteration (you can see it on the left of the Kanji) :


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River Moon
(Dec 2009 - Frame by Muji)

This was even simpler because the name was actually an internet pseudonym, so I just looked for the corresponding Kanji and I was done.

For a twist, especially considering that the frame was white already, I used a colored paper (not exactly washi, but close). Among the ones I had around I opted for a blue one to suggest the idea of water - it also accents the hanko better

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Birthday present for Paola
( Sep 2009 - Frame by Muji)

"Everything is impermanent" - a Buddhist motto.

You can see the full Japanese signature on the left. It reads "Small Sea" (a play on my surname) and "PaORo" in phonetic transliteration.

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May 2009 - Frame added by owner)

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Eugenio & Oriana
(Jan 2010 - - Frame by Muji)

Eugenio: "Well born", Aristocrat Oriana: "Made of gold"
Honorable (Go) Gold (Kin)
Before (Zen) Made Of (Sei)
Lord, Sir, Master (Sama) Woman (Jo)

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Dragon & Phoenix bring Luck
(Apr 2010 - - "Frame" by Muji)

A present for a couple of fellow Aikidokas who will soon get married.

It's a Chinese augural formula you could hang up in the home to bring good luck.

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(Jun 2010 - - "Frame" by Muji)

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(Feb 2011 - - "Frame" by Muji)

I am not completely sure that "Aikime" (literally "Ai-ki eye", but I think the implied meaning is more like "a look at Aikido") is an actual Japanese word.

This sequence of kanji is the name of a pretty nice (Italian) blog on
"all things Aikido".

This was done as little gift for
the guy who maintains it, as a token when I went practicing at his dojo.

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Haiku by Basho
(March 2011) Commissioned work for a birthday gift.

The Haiku reads:


(Umi kurete / kamo no koe / honoka ni shiroshi)

i.e. :

The sea darkens
And a wild duck's call
Is faintly white
(Tr. Makotoa Ueda)

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Tsuru (Crane)
(April 2012)

Commissioned for a Tai-Chi Master as a gift from his students.