October 26, 2021 at 10:06PM

A new follower may think, “I thought this is an account for Sashiko, but he talks nothing about Sashiko. Nonsense.” Well, all of the stories I share are the key to understanding Sashiko, especially if you are not Japanese.

My mother, Keiko, has been a “giver” in all of my memories. Before I learn the word “Pay it Forward” in 2000’s, she was doing the similar action, with Japanese name, “Ongaeshi (特別な個人ではなく社会への恩返し)”. Naturally, in my youth, I disrespected her for being such a bad business person. Now, after going through a lot, I am in full appreciation for what she has shared with me.

Since my own mother was like this, I have a strong faith in Us (Human Beings). We are decent. Yes, we sometimes go through pains and sorrows, but I believe we can be “decent”. If I don’t believe in this, then I shouldn’t (cannot) really share the Sashiko because “Sashiko is one manifestation of our caring to others”. I don’t know if Sashiko makes us decent, or a decent person continues Sashiko… regardless, I know that there aren’t evil people in long-run of Sashiko (someone who continues stitching for decades). Well… not an evil person, but definitely interesting (unique) people there, though, and it is my biggest compliment. I haven’t given up yet, and therefore I keep sharing.





日本には「恩返し」という素敵な文化があります。恩を下さった方には、同等の物を返す。2000年代にはペイフォワードという言葉も流行りました。「先に払う」という意味ですが、個人的には「社会への恩返し」だというように考えています。僕は自分のことを「運が良い」と思い続けていますが、それはつまりは沢山の御恩を頂いて今があるということです。しっかりと社会への恩返しをしていきたいなと思うのです。恵子さんは、この社会への恩返しが上手なので、幼少期から見てきた身としてはできるはずだと思うんだけどさ。

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October 25, 2021 at 08:58PM

Extreme Skills. Traditional Techniques. Sustainable Art. Accurate Stitching. Being Right in contrast to being Wrong. Cultural Appropriation. Upcycle the fabric. Slow Fashion. Visible (invisible mending) and Meditative Life-Style. They are all important in Sashiko/Boro, but these are NOT the first thing I advocate. If you are a long follower here, you know what I push to the world: a bit of extra time to be mindful to care for others, just a moment to acknowledge someone who may be behind the “(extra) ordinary”.

The “someone” is often the one who you care about. “Care” here is not equal to being “nice” or “comfortable”. We can dislike someone & care simultaneously. The opposite of “Caring” is not “hating”: it is “ignoring”. 

I hope this post also adds some sense to why I keep saying “Sashiko in English is insufficient yet”. I know we live on busy days with a small family unit. However, if you can, as I received a heartwarming comment yesterday, please talk to your “roots” as much as you can. “Respect to eldery” is not just a form of courtesy. It is what defines us. We don’t have to like them (of course, it’s great if you like them), just don’t ignore (indifference) them even if they are uncomfortable. You can run away if they have problems, but keep them in your mind (with love/hatred, either way). One day, the fabric communicates “it” to you throughout stitching, either theirs or yours. “It” happened to me, and therefore I can share so many stories about Sashiko & Boro. We weren’t made from nothing: Someone was there for us, and we were all covered with some fabrics.





「英語圏で流行っているBOROと、日本人が培ってきた襤褸は違う」と断言した手前、様々な襤褸の写真を見たり、自分の持っているものに再度触れまくったりしているのですが、やっぱり襤褸は「畏れるもの」なんだなと。自分の母親が作ったものでさえ、一歩引くのだから、過去を確かめられないものは余計に畏怖してしまいます。これをどう言葉で伝えるかなんだよなぁ。実物みりゃ一発って言えるのは日本人だからなんだよなぁ。

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October 24, 2021 at 09:23PM

For some reason, I look back to the past in October. Keiko and I restarted Sashiko, after so many years of stitching, with making several “Sashiko” Jackets. We had been through a lot around that time. It is surprising that she smiled in the photo, yet it is not the smile I can see today (or the smile you know if you have met her before).

I write a lot of stories: sometimes uncomfortable for you. However, my motivation is simple. I would like to protect her smile like the one on the 10/15 post. And, I now strongly believe, by sharing stories, I can protect many smiles like hers, in Japan & in Japanese heritage. I live in the past, and relying on you to create a decent future. 

諸事情でやっぱり10月は過去に戻りがち。特に今週末のように、窓外に無音で落ちる雨と粘土で遊ぶ娘を見つめながら、流れるゆっくりとした時間は特に、どうしても目の焦点は過去に向かってしまうようで。

恵子さんが刺し子を再始動し始めた時は、正直これほどまでに沢山の方とご縁を頂けるとは思っていませんでした。顔出し許可も出たので紹介するのですが、やっぱり作品作りを楽しんでいるとは言え、やっぱり笑顔が違う。当時の状況を鑑みれば、無理にでも笑顔を作れるだけ凄いのですが、それでもやっぱり今の笑顔が嬉しかったりします。(商業的に弾かれた)捨てられる直前の布に向かい「もう一度舞台に立たせてやるからな」という、彼女の再始動の言葉は、僕は布だけへの言葉だとは思っていません。偉そうに、小難しく、なんだかんだと話をしていますが、僕は結局はこの笑顔を守りたいんだろうと思います。この笑顔を守るために何をするかというと、僕が刺し子友達をたくさん作り、恵子さんの世界を広げることなんだろうと思っています。(僕を置いてけぼりにして友人関係作るのは……まぁうん、仕方ない)。極めて単純です。だから変わらない。

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October 23, 2021 at 01:10PM

I know some do not really understand what I am trying to do, especially if their value is based on capitalism. I was once so ambitious with blood-cold eyes because all I cared about was “money”. Don’t get me wrong. Money is extremely important, and I need it. I like it. The difference within myself is that money became just a “vehicle” to reach my destination instead of “the destination (in superior)”. But again, over and over again, if the goal is just to make a lot of money, Sashiko is a stupid idea: a bad sense of business… If a person has a passion for Sashiko, or has a different destination, then I am their ally. 

All I “teach” is the gateway of Sashiko (Core & Basic) so you can enjoy the park (without borders). All I “share” is a map that I have visited in the park where I had visited. There are millions of parks, so is Sashiko. I want you to find your own park/Sashiko you like. Try as many kinds of Sashiko as you can. Read/watch as many resources as you find. I just do not want you to limit yourself to the fact that the park you have in your state is “only” park anyone can enjoy. Of course, if their goal is to make money by bringing people into “their park”, stating “this is the only park!” is a great marketing strategy. However, then let me raise a question, who is limiting Sashiko? Me (who does not define Sashiko so easily) or Them (who defines Sashiko without proper understanding)? I am NOT the answer. I want YOU to find your own Answer. 

日々苦い思いをすることも多いですが、基本的に刺し子が有名になるのは大歓迎です。20年前から夢見てたことですし。FBに襤褸に対しての本音を書きました。「声を上げてくれてありがとう」という反応も頂きました。そうなんです。流れの中で「ん?」と思う人もいる。丁寧に言葉を思いを拾い上げていきたいと思っています。

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October 22, 2021 at 11:17AM

People live today as if tomorrow will come no matter what, and I believe they should. However, because of my unique experience, I don’t share the same “ordinary”. I live as if tomorrow will not come, and I feel a lot natural with that. It isn’t a matter of good or bad, but I just want to leave a note that Sashiko was a stitching practice for those Japanese who lived in harsh conditions with limited resources, which they weren’t sure about their tomorrow.

Neither they nor I give up living. It is merely a different angle of how to view our lives. Since “the end” is so nearby, they prayed. Animism, believing in spirits, and praying for something more than what we are is part of the significance of Sashiko Stitching. Sashiko is a form of stitching and in a bigger picture, it may be a form of praying, at least for me, and for them. I hope this explains how shallow (or even insulting) someone’s “freedom” in Sashiko can be. I am NOT judging anyone’s choice. I am just asking them to learn more so that their choice will not offend anyone. Who do you have in your mind when you stitch? My Sashiko is not about “how accurate” the stitch is, it is more like “whom” I can stitch & pray for. 

これまでの僕と、そして恵子さんの刺し子を振り返るご縁を頂きました。刺し子は単純な針仕事です。誰にでもできます。手芸として発展しているし、多くの人が刺し子の楽しさと共に時間を過ごせることは、とても素敵なことだと思っています。ふと、振り返る中で、「刺し子の本質とは」と考えることがあります。今回のご縁でも同様に。刺し子は針仕事です。ただ、同時に刺し子の本質は「祈り」なのではないかとも思うのです。「誰かを思い、針を動かし、思いを(布と糸に)込めること」。日本人には当たり前の針仕事の姿かもしれませんが、それをしっかりと日本国外にも、そして未来にも繋げていきたいと願っています。

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October 21, 2021 at 08:25PM

Tons of stories about Japanese Culture & Sashiko here. I am glad that you enjoy it, and sometimes, it inspires you or it brings you to think more. Here, some think that I am trying to limit Sashiko, or some accuse me of being arrogant. Well, all I do here is to write a letter to my own daughter, who has so many cultural roots: an American with Jewish, USSR, and Japanese cultural heritage. 

I believe there are similar audiences like my daughter with many heritage, and wishing to learn more about their own roots. I am here for that. Your struggle can be my daughter’s struggle. It is a life-long letter with sharing everything I have.

数え切れない程に言葉にしてきましたが、僕が刺し子と日本文化を一緒に伝える理由は、「将来、自分がどこから来たのか」という悩みを持つかもしれない娘に、何かを残して上げたいと思っているからです。崇高な目的が有るわけでも、ギラギラとした野望が有るわけでもなく、「あのクソ親父は一体何をして生きてきたんだろう?」と、いつか娘が思った時に、「刺し子や襤褸という、布にヤスリをかけて、その上に補修するという針仕事」という偏った情報ではなく、「布と糸と、針と指ぬきを通して、日本文化って何だろうって考えたんだよ。ルーツの一つでもある日本は、きっともっと面白いよ」と思えるだけの物語を残したいのです。米国人の娘なので、日本人としての前提は持ち合わせません。だからこそ、丁寧に、どんな人でも少しでも理解が深まってもらえればと、文章にしてきています。

僕自身、父親が大嫌いでした。ただ、親父亡き今思うのは、もっと話したかったという願いです。親父にとって刺し子とはなんだったのか。同じ文化圏で育ってきても想像は難しい。となれば、僕の娘が僕の当たり前を想像するのは、恐らく不可能です。だからこその文章で、だからこそ僕は友達が欲しいんだろうなぁ。いつ死ぬかもしれないという思いで生きているので、何かあった際には、「必死に面倒くさくあろうとしたのが貴方の父親だよ」と娘に伝えてくれる人がいれば嬉しいなと思うのです。

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October 20, 2021 at 11:35AM

“Are you saying that we have to understand where ‘Sashiko’ and ‘Boro’ came from & What they are before we claim we are doing Sashiko & Boro?”. One frequent question I receive. I have shared answers already on Youtube, but it is important to deliver.

My honest reaction is “Why are you even asking this?”. Sashiko is a Japanese Term, right? However, I am NOT saying that they must “Master” or “be fluent” in Japanese or Japanese culture, or Sashiko/Boro to claim what they do Sashiko and Boro. All I am asking is “willingness” to learn about Sashiko & Boro when they realize that there are Japanese voices behind these words. Without proper willingness to learn more, using the foreign words can be categorized into Cultural Appropriation.

I hope you agree that  “I don’t care what Sashiko & Boro are or where they are from, but I am using it just because (they bring me money, followers and attention.)” is a violent statement in terms of Preserving the Culture. It is NOT anyone’s fault that they didn’t know it. There aren’t (weren’t) many resources. However, after they come across the voices, then ignoring (indifference) it for their convenience causes significant pain. Sashiko & Boro are the Japanese words: They are not the marketing terms for someone’s business. 

偉そうに文章にしていますが、基本失敗だらけです(笑)。一生忘れないだろうなと思う失敗の一つが、僕の日本語の理解と一般的な理解が違ってしまい誤解をうんでしまったこと。「定義」と聞くと構えてしまうのが日本ですもんね。はたまたそれが「再定義」なんて言ったら怖さすら感じてしまう。僕が「いや、物語を掘り出したいだけなんです」と言った所で、再定義という言葉を使った段階で壁ができてしまう。大反省です。

米国では定義が全てです。日本語のような良い意味での曖昧さがあると、異文化が集まる国では争いがうまれます。だから必ずルールが必要です。そんな絶対的な定義が必要な国で、「定義なんて趣がねーなー」という文化を伝える。考えれば考える程無謀ですが、でもね、頑張りますよ(というわけで、Youtubeにまた英語の動画をアップしました。ちょっと冒険したよ)。

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October 19, 2021 at 11:54AM

I learned that “being nice” is a fundamental part of relationships in the US. I understand it is important, but here, in this account, please be nice to yourself first. You don’t have to be nice to anyone, but try to be kind. I much prefer “learn with pain” than “ignore with comfort”.

SNS is a scary place. An “account” whom I don’t know & who claim they don’t care to know me can say anything anonymously. The more I speak up, the higher the risk gets. I was… I am still in fear of those anonymous malice. I did not speak up for a while even in the pain. I tried to ignore my pain by being nice to others. For that, I wasn’t either nice to myself, and kind to others who really wish to learn Sashiko. It is SNS, though, who encouraged me today. You may minimize your pain, yet if it hurts a lot, speak up. 99.9% of the people will ignore your voice, yet there is always someone who listens. This account exists thanks to those 0.1% who decided to listen to insignificant matters to most people, yet an unbearable pain to me. I am NOT a leader in Sashiko. All I do is to make sure that no one is left behind, like a teacher without a specific homeroom who checks if all the kids are on the bus.

昔、刺し子配信で頻繁に、「俺は刺し子のリーダーになりたいんじゃない。迷子になっている子がいないか、落とし物がないかって、一番最後に歩く担任を持ってない先生みたいな存在になりたいんだ」って笑いながら言ってましたが、漸くそれを英語で書く準備ができました。求められている役割がリーダーだとしても、理想論だよねとバカにされても、でも「一人も置いてけぼりにしない刺し子」を望んでいます。そんなんできるのって自分自身が一番不安がっていますが、でもね、やってみないとね。

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October 18, 2021 at 08:54PM

Sashiko (and Boro) became a trendy word in unfortunate lack of resources, and more scary, in ignorance & indifference. My heart aches when I see a person damaging the fabric with a file or sandpaper, and they call it Sashiko/Boro without proper understanding/explanation. The Japanese felt the opposite, I believe. They stitched to avoid those “damages”. When one ignores the fact & voices from origin, then, it becomes the issue of Cultural Appropriation, I understand.

I am NOT, however, limiting anyone’s creativity. If they want to “distress” their denim, and say it “inspired by Sashiko (Boro)”, I am fine as long as one condition is agreed: The willingness to introduce the stories on the other side. When one explains (shares) as many stories as possible to respect the culture, the outcome (here distressed garment itself) will not cause the pain. When one expresses their willingness to learn, I am here to share. Only thing I despise is the “ignorant” and “indifference” as if I am over-reacting.  

If anyone wants to be creative with distressed denim, I respect it. That’s an important evolution in “Fashion”. It is perfectly fine to say “inspired by Sashiko”, but I want them to specify what they are inspired by. If that doesn’t include the stories: if they are just inspired by how it looks, then I need to keep speaking up loudly (More than 99% cases, they just don’t know and they are willing to learn. Unfortunately, 1% of the people block what I share). The word “inspired” cannot be the excuse for ignorance, yet anything can be inspired by Sashiko.

体重がドラマチックに上下している食欲とダイエットの秋。もう見た目にはあまり拘らなくなりましたが、何がキツイってお気に入りのデニムを履けなくなった事だったりします。サイズが違うとモデルになって頂く形を探さなきゃいけない(笑)。日本の平面裁断って、そういう意味では体重の増減にも対応できる余裕はあるよなぁと。作務衣とかどれだけ太っても同じの着てますし。言い訳はこれくらいにして、かっこよく刺し子デニムを着こなせるように頑張ります。

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October 17, 2021 at 02:50PM

We live in a world of “Choices”. The personal choice is more precious & respected than anything. I agree with that. I am grateful to have a choice to “choose”. It is a great achievement of our ancestors who worked so hard to make choices available for us. Therefore, we shouldn’t ignore their effort while they didn’t have their “choices”.

I really appreciate your choice of listening to my voice & liking them. At the same time, I understand their choice of not liking what I share. I am nowhere to convince them. It is arrogant if I were to think that I can change them in this “choice” society. Therefore, no matter how many hateful messages I receive, I will keep sharing the stories. My goal is NOT to be liked: It is to share the story so that the other groups of people can “choose” what they want to have in their future. (Of course, I want to be liked, but that’s another story). 

Don’t be so worried about someone’s choice. They are just unhappy (or faking that they are happy). One of the best things about Sashiko is that you can find your “own” definition of what you do (who you are). You can “feel” happiness instead of fighting to win over. We worry when we know the cause. When we know the cause, we can help each other. When we fear, we don’t know the exact cause. Therefore, I share stories to ease the fear. Happiness is behind the worry. The more you worry, the more caring you are: I keep sharing “Don’t worry too much”, right? I share Sashiko’s story in fear of those who do not worry about anything, and your voice will help me to understand what is behind the fear. 

昨日の配信、ありがとうございました。やっぱり日本語は癒やされる……。ほぼ未編集のままですが、Youtubeにアーカイブをアップしておきました。ラジオ感覚で聞いて頂ければ幸いです。たぶん、こういう話をどこかに残しておくことが、何かに決着をつけるよりもよっぽど大切なことだと思うんです。

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