US first lady learns calligraphy at Japanese primary school

U.S. first lady Melania Trump uses a brush to write Japanese words "Peace" watched by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife Akie, right, as they attend a calligraphy class of the 4th grader at Kyobashi Tsukiji Elementary School in Tokyo, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. first lady Melania Trump tried her hand Monday at Japanese calligraphy at a Tokyo elementary school.

She visited the Kyobashi Tsukiji school with her Japanese counterpart, Akie Abe. About 300 children welcomed them with a school song.

Trump wrote the first character of the Japanese word for “peace,” as Abe wrote the second.

After Trump’s first stroke, a girl student sitting next to her advised her to hold the brush vertically and explained the order of the strokes.

“Yes?” Trump asked later as she turned to her instructor. The student gave a nod of approval, smiling.

The two first ladies, both wearing navy blue dresses, posed for photos, shook hands and exchanged high fives with the school children.

The children were shy at first, but as Trump lowered herself and greeted them, many hands rose up, trying to hold her hands.

School principal Takefumi Ukitsu said the school was chosen for the visit because it picked America as part of a study project for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics.

Trump is accompanying her husband, President Donald Trump, on his first Asian tour, which began in Japan.

On Sunday, the two first ladies heard about the history of cultivated pearls at a jewelry shop in downtown Tokyo and joined their husbands for a private dinner at a Japanese steak house. 

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press