I received a nice surprise yesterday. The guest visiting from Okinawa gave me a hand carved plaque that her father made. Last week she had told her father about my home dojo, so he made a custom plaque for me and shipped it via priority mail.
Here's what it looks like hanging in my dojo:
It says "Okinawa Karate-Do". (沖縄 = Okinawa. 空手= Kara te. 道 = Do.) And that's not the English word "do". It's pronounced "doe", and it is Japanese for "way".
In this close-up, you can see the signature stamps (in red) for the person who made the plaque. The lower red square is the man's name. I'm not sure what the smaller circle means.
Interestingly, there is also some Japanese writing on the back.
While the front of the plaque has the lettering carved into the wood, this side has a coating of what appears to be shredded tissue paper (kind of like paper-mache') and the Japanese writing is painted on that surface.
The large writing means "indomitable" and the smaller writing along the left edge in the above picture is the date.
I was also told that this last kanji character means "peace".
I'm not sure what the smaller writing to the left of the "peace" character means.
In any event, I was quite happy to have received such a nice thoughtful gift.