And I'm kinda curious. Could you scan some of your Japanese calligraphy? When you write do you use the "correct" strokes that are widely accepted or do you have your own lefty strokes?
Most of what I have lying around are addresses, which I wouldn't want to put online. I'm really rather rusty for writing anything new. I never got too far with actual calligraphy: most characters I only know to print, which is what you'd want to address a letter anyway. But no, no lefty strokes. With a brush there isn't any dragging or pushing in the wrong direction, but even with a pen I don't find it hard to write 'correctly'. I think what I do is to hold the pen vertically, a bit like you would a brush, so I'm not dragging or pushing it at an angle like I do when I write English, even though I let my hand rest on the paper. I think I just prop my wrist up on the paper so that I'm holding the pen at a greater height than in English.
Also, I agree that vertical Japanese is better. As well as reading, writing is also easier vertically, as I find hiragana especially have forms that just are easier to write vertically. (Only problem is the dakuten. Were they introduced after Japan started writing horizontally? And of course the smudging. One day I want to get a fudepen/fountain pen/something that I can write with without resting my palm and write vertical Japanese. That ought to fell good.)
Yes, dakuten came in later. Handakuten is even worse, since a brush can't handle a circle very well. That was a Portuguese influence. Even today, people will often leave out dakuten when writing calligraphy. The reason I've always heard is that they're "ugly".
BTW, I've always been told that my hiragana are "childish". It's only the kanji that I can write well, and the more complex the better. The most difficult for me are hito
'woman', and ko
'child'. Getting those balanced is a real feat. But something with lots of strokes like the old form of tatsu
'dragon' is simplicity itself, because there's no place to put the strokes except in their proper positions. I think that's one reason I like the old forms of the characters, which seems to unduly impress people.