August 01, 2023 at 09:27PM

I used to be (accidentally) “involved” in discussions about “What is Sashiko” in English. When discomfort happens, some often said: “My understanding of Sashiko is correct because I have so many Japanese friends”. Well… Where to start…? The number of friends does not define their understanding of the culture. A deep relationship such as marriage isn’t even enough (although it can help a lot in the long-run). I am married to a Jewish person, but I dare not to teach about Jewish culture. It is simply too irresponsible.

Even if I admit that the number of Japanese friends matter, many questions arise. ”Do their friends speak English fluently enough to explain the culture? When English is proficient, do they spend enough time speaking about the culture? Being Japanese itself does not make them an expert in Sashiko/Boro (it helps, but not always). If they had a professional translator, was they knowledgeable enough to translate the topics? More importantly, who paid for the translator? Did the translator have a freedom to translate what they were talking about – or what they were asked to translate?

As much as I want you to share my Sashiko stories to others, please do not engage in “their” discussion. They will not listen to you as they aren’t ready to listen to. I appreciate you speaking for me, but It is almost meaningless to discuss “What is Right in Sashiko” without involving someone Japanese. I do not want you to go through horrible experience by jumping into Western Value of “Discussions”.



#Sashiko #刺し子


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