August 15, 2023 at 05:10PM

In Japan, the term between August 13th to 16th is known as “Obon” (slightly varies on yearly calendar, and it can be in July based on Area). While Obon, we offer ceremonies/rituals to have our ancestors back to us (to the house). The story originated in Buddhism, and as a result of mixing with Japanese local customs, we have these days for a family gathering while thinking of ancestors and deceased (Kuyou – 供養). Because of this tradition, I usually recommend my friends not to travel in Japan this term… especially the beginning & ending as the transportation will be crazy there (This year is way crazier due to Typhoon…).

If you have a Japanese friend & have a chance, please ask them what their religion is. Some may name the major religions like Christianity and Buddhism (I believe Islam is quite minor in Japan). At the same time, I assume, many Japanese would answer that they do not have any religion. I used to answer the question when I came to the US for the first time. This answer doesn’t mean that the Japanese are Atheists… it is more like an answer from accepting the other religions & beliefs – as we have “a small house Shinto shrine” and “Buddhist altar” in the same house.

One of the significance of Japanese Characteristics is “Acceptance” – and therefore, I am very much against the current trend of “defining what is Right and Wrong” in Sashiko based on the Western Dualism. After all, I accept the change of Sashiko in any form – I just want the change to be respectful, mindful, and more “peaceful” way. For that, one has a big responsibility in teaching. As Sashiko is an ordinary stitching, a teacher should be able to explain what “Obon” is like… at least, I hope.


#Sashiko #刺し子


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