January 25, 2023 at 03:41PM

Hitomezashi (一目刺し) can be roughly translated to “One Stitch Sashiko” – we use the same posture & concept of running stitch there, yet it focuses on the outcome of stitches size determined by Grid we determine even before stitching. The Sashiko I often practice over the camera has very little control in the size of stitches. My conscious isn’t the first one to decide the stitches – it is the “Rhythm” and “something what fabric & needle tells me to do”.

Regardless, Sashiko is beautiful because of these “each” stitches. Hitomezashi, such as the one on Fukin (White Cloth), is now popular because of its mesmerizing outcome. Although I share many stories here from a “Cultural” perspective… and although I often say Sashiko is NOT the Art… it can fascinate people by just “outcome” – the stories & the fact that we stitch all by hand are good additional spices to that. For that, anyone can/should enjoy Sashiko regardless of any differences. All I am asking is to “acknowledge” that there are stories & people behind the word in this challenging time when we can find any “answers” we want by ignoring inconvenience.

About 2~3 years ago, I came across the fascinating & beautiful Sashiko Jacket by Geri (@geri_in_stitches). Sashiko on White Fabric with Red Thread – it is outside of my “comfort”, yet I couldn’t stop watching it imagining I would like to see the jacket in person one day (as my wife is from where she lives now, I believe). Later, I had the honor of her taking my Online Class & I am so happy to see her continuous Sashiko. I have many friends (ex-students) like her all over the world – and that confirms to me that anyone can enjoy Sashiko. Well, on top of Sashiko, her account is SO MUCH fun to follow – and very inspiring for many sewing addicts. Thanks, Geri.


#Sashiko #SashikoDenim #刺し子 #刺し子デニム


January 24, 2023 at 01:17PM

I say I do not like a trend of associating Sashiko to Zen/Meditation. It is true we can enjoy the meditative outcome by practicing Sashiko. However, as the one who has been thinking about “What is Sashiko?”, I share the stories why Sashiko is NOT so much Zen/Meditation. From one viewpoint – it can be completely opposite.

The significant difference is the “direction”. Meditation is more like “self-care”, and “Zen” is somewhat like a way to achieve enlightenment (or self-discipline). It is an “inward” direction, and the center of practice is “oneself”. Conversely, Sashiko was(is) a stitching to go an “toward (outward)” direction. The center of Sashiko exists in “they/you”. Of course, a practice can go both “inward & outward” simultaneously – however, without even realizing this difference, teaching Sashiko as “Zen” or “Meditation” is quite dangerous.

It is important to have a way of self-care. I enjoy meditation (Vipassana), and I absolutely agree with the similar meditative outcome of Sashiko – Sashiko Stitching can heal us. However, as you here listen to my stories, please know that Core of Sashiko exists in the “outward” direction – and we have this word in English – “Prayer”. I don’t know any Sashiko teachers who teach Sashiko as “prayer” yet… because I understand there isn’t much to teach in “praying”. No Right or Wrong in Prayers… right? My hope is to leave “No-One (who developed Japanese Sashiko so far)” behind in this trend. I am pretty sure… those who stitched in Japan many years ago, what they thought in stitching was not an egoistic self-care (or self-realization): It was the well-being of their family & friends. That is why, Sashiko can be powerful in today’s society.



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


January 23, 2023 at 08:59AM

Since my youth, I often receive a request for a talk as they ask for my advice or what I think/feel. It is quite strange as I neither have any degree in counseling nor training in coaching. I know how significant the counseling degree means (as my wife’s profession), and I read there are many methods/approaches for coaching. Only thing I have done is read books and Sashiko… yet many people feel happy after the talk. Instead of knowledge and methods, what I offer is an outcome of Sashiko – which is NOT stitching – it is being a “mirror” of someone.

Besides the perspective of a Sashiko artisan/story-teller/teacher, please consider me as a mirror to reflect who you are. I try to write stories to encourage them to “think” – not to “follow”. When we stitch in a rhythm (not in Ego), Sashiko becomes like a mirror. I realize what I am doing here is to explain how “Stitching” can be the “mirror” to reflect who we are.

It isn’t easy – in fact, it is probably the most challenging thing to do in today’s society: to face oneself & accept (or even deny) it. However, acceptance is NOT significant (ordinary) for those who practice(d) Sashiko. Therefore, teaching technique without accepting what they do cannot be the whole picture of Sashiko – It is my hope to be someone’s help and I am happy to do so – and stitching Sashiko in the rhythm can be one big answer for that.



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


January 21, 2023 at 05:04PM

A piece of mindfood to share. Have you thought about the “condition” when one (cultural) practice would be buried in history? Is it when the last artisan/craftsman decided to quit practicing their art/craft? Or when the artisans/craftsmen cannot make their ends by working in their profession? Both cases can be true, and there are more reasons for them to discontinue the practice… Yet many professional artisans I have met in my life told me the same “condition” – it is when their trusting “suppliers” decided to discontinue. One cultural practice can be connected like chains, and therefore I speak up for the importance of Cultural Sustainability.

I say “I don’t know how many more Sashiko Pieces we can make”. Some received this message as we may have some health conditions that may prevent us from stitching. Nope. Although we do not know what will happen tomorrow, we are okay in terms of health (it can be better… hahaha). We faced some reality of “decision to discontinue” in the challenging environment in Covid-19. We can yet have the great supplies & tools from our suppliers, but we do not take it lightly – We appreciate greatly that we can have the tools & supplies which enable us to be the artisans. Unlike the time I was working for my family business, now I stitch as if no tomorrow would come – it isn’t based on despair or pessimism – it is just appreciating the moment while doing everything we can do for now. Therefore, Sashiko is more than a technique for us – it is a way of celebrating the moment for the better of something/someone. You may know of a similar action – in your culture, it may be called “prayer”.

震災後の大槌で刺し子への価値観が変わり、その後の人生が変わりました。瞬間的に何かがあったというわけではなく、滞在期間中に出会った様々な人とのご縁の中で滲み出てきた価値観の変化です。滞在期間中、国を作る仕事をされていて何冊も出版されている元世界銀行の副総裁の方とご縁を頂きました。その際、「淳君には一つだけ決定的に足りてないものがある。何が足りてないかわかると良いね」と会話の中でご助言を頂きました。足りてなかったもの – それは「覚悟」だったと後々気がつくことになります。「覚悟」ってなんぞやという話にはなるのですが、私は今も明日も10年後も死ぬ瞬間まで刺し子のことは考えていると思います。生まれてこの方ずーっと考えてきたように。逃げずに「刺し子と生きる」という覚悟です。刺し子を楽しむ人に覚悟が必要だなんては思いません。ただ、全く覚悟がない人が「これが刺し子の答えだ」と日本人の指摘が届かない所で中途半端なことをしているのが嫌なんでしょうね。楽しむ上では覚悟なんていりません。明日飽きてもいい。いつ戻ってきてもいい。そんな「楽しい刺し子」を守る為に、この覚悟を掲げ続けようと思うのです。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


January 19, 2023 at 11:11AM

I enjoy a lot of feedback in the previous post about “Ordinary” and Sashiko. Thank you. Ultimately speaking, I guess this “Sashiko in the Ordinary” is all I would like to protect from various types of Romanized Sashiko for someone’s profit. Some say Sashiko is a stitching to embrace imperfection as if it is okay to avoid effort to be better. Some insist the “answer” to Sashiko, or even “what is Right Sashiko”. Is there any “right bread” when I bake it for my family & friends? Isn’t it natural to practice more to bake better bread for them so that they can enjoy it? Therefore, I say, Sashiko is a form of “praying” – not only the technique, design or not even meditation. (I accept the meditative outcome of Sashiko, but defining Sashiko as Meditation is risky. For me, Meditation is more “inward” to treat oneself. Sashiko is more “toward” to care for someone)

Please, please embrace your own ordinary as well instead of applying someone’s “answer”. Don’t let others define your happiness. Some of my choices are the outcome of “pessimism”, yet I find the outcome as my happiness. I bake bread since I cannot find the bread I want my family to eat (I wouldn’t be doing it if I had a local bread store). I wipe the floor while my wife isn’t at home (as she feels bad that I am wiping the floor). Some elderly people would consider my “mended denim” as “poor” because they used to do so for their survival (like my mother in law). We all live in the “perspective”, and I want you to be the one who decides what you choose (not want – choose). Sashiko is a good practice to do so. Why? Because that’s how Japanese people have(had) been stitching Sashiko for more than centuries.

Another Thursday with Live Streaming – and then Sashiko Gathering. Link on Story & Highlight. I share my ordinary with no editing & filters. Photo from Good Old Memories from 2017 When I was a Stay at Home Dad.


#Sashiko #刺し子


January 18, 2023 at 09:44PM

I often make “Anpan” – red bean paste buns. My daughter asked me why they are always round… So, in 2023, I bake the square one, which I feel quite strange to have Paste in – so just homemade white bread. Sashiko is my profession, but my “main job” is to run our household. My wife is a breadwinner (which was difficult for “old-fashion” Japanese, to be honest), and thanks to her I can keep the way of Sashiko as is. I try my best to do as many things with my hands. Cooking (Baking) is one thing.

Some ask me if I teach Sashiko to my daughter. I don’t. It is simply because she hasn’t asked me yet. However, she sees me stitching – and more importantly, she sees “Sashiko” in our ordinary. She finds Sashiko Fukin on her favorite bread, finds her father cleaning the floor with stitched Zokin, and kisses her father who always wears something with Sashiko on when she rides on the school bus. Instead of forcing her to learn “Sashiko” as a technique, I want her to see Sashiko as ordinary. That’s something I can do as a Sashiko artisan – to make Sashiko (hand-stitching, handmade, DIY, and taking care of family) more ordinary to her.




#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


January 16, 2023 at 09:04PM

The Jacket in the photo is made by many (rising) Sashiko Artisans, directed by Keiko. As I always say here, there is no such a thing as “Right” and “Wrong” in Sashiko – no rules. Some misunderstand my saying as “Whatever is fine”… which isn’t wrong by its statement, but we all share the same understanding of “Rhythm” – which I teach as the “Core & Essence” of Sashiko. When we share the same rhythm, the results of our stitching will be different but harmonious – it can be combined with no “discomfort” – Each piece is stitched by a different person, yet they do not just insist on their Artistry. It can be combined into one big piece – like this Jacket.

Our “Sashiko Friends” Jackets were once exhibited in Kaunas, Lithuania, on stage as a part of performing-art (@auradancetheatre ). The exhibition in April will be the first one held in Japan – and I will be finally touching the mesmerizing outcome of “We are all different, and we are all good (in Sashiko)” in sharing the same/similar understanding of Sashiko.

10 years – it is a long time to be away from your home nation. Of course, there are significant reasons why I couldn’t do so (like financial situation) – and it wasn’t (and still isn’t) easy to go through. To be honest, what I am proud of myself in teaching is that many “Japanese” people also come to me to learn Sashiko – and then we become friends while I wasn’t even there in Japan. This is how I can pass down Sashiko – with you, with Japanese & with anyone who wish to learn what Sashiko is for us.



#Sashiko #刺し子


January 15, 2023 at 09:07AM

I will be in Japan this coming Spring after almost 10 years of not being able to go back home. I can finally go back to Japan for 2 weeks thanks to many people’s help & support. During my stay in Tokyo, Keiko will have a Sashiko Exhibition in the old town – Tsukishima (4/19 to 4/22). The exhibition isn’t so “Big” or “Stylish”, but I believe we can communicate the beauty & “warmth” of Sashiko. We will work on making a flier or so and will update the details for this matter. Keiko will be there for most of the time of exhibition, and I will stop by at some points with my friends that I plan to take to Japan with me.

All of these can happens thanks to the “En – 縁 (difficult to translate in English, but something like fortune to meet each other)” with many people I have met. I receive much appreciation for my work of sharing Sashiko – but it is also my appreciation to you for following & reading. As we continue Sashiko, our “En” will come across. The essence of Sashiko is this “En” – not only the pattern, result or technique. I keep stitching, and I can connect people, time, and “prayers”. Sashiko is more than a trend – and I am very happy that I can keep speaking up with good confidence. Photo: Keiko in Tsukishima old town.




#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


January 12, 2023 at 08:52PM

I am not kind to those who look for someone who prepares “a meal” for them. Some even expect me to spoon-feed them… I am not here to offer instant & momentary gratification to satisfy a one-time need. In Long-Term, it isn’t sustainable from a cultural perspective. Instead, I share the recipes, how to cook from cleaning the vegetables to how to “season” it, and where & what to buy to have the same meals we are preparing for ourselves & our friends.

When one wants to try to enjoy “it” for one-time, they can enjoy it however they want. However, when one wants to “represent (teach it on behalf of)”, then spoon-feeding to someone in order to meet someone’s requests can filter the culture.

Anyone can practice Sashiko as we do. As “cooking” is like magic to those who do not cook at all, yet ordinary for someone who prepares the meals everyday for their family, Sashiko can be very ordinary to me. I am NOT a chef in a fancy restaurant. I am just a “grandmother” who welcomes you to offer her favorite recipes (whom you may have in your memories). I respect both the chef and “grandmother” – both are essential pieces to preserve the culture. Therefore, I keep saying, “Sashiko introduced in English is NOT wrong, but insufficient” – one good way to learn more is to join the Live Streaming on (almost) every Thursday at 9 pm ET.


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


January 11, 2023 at 08:50AM

I wonder what would happen if I weren’t speaking up about Sashiko. My mother, Keiko, often mentions her pleasure to meet many people within Japan, and from all over the world. However, if I didn’t speak up, her Sashiko works wouldn’t be “known” to the world as she is quite introvert: She feels satisfied by just making “Sashiko” that makes her happy. Know her, find someone who knows her to connect with, hire a translator, visit Japan and arrange a meeting with her (all in Japanese) would be too much trouble. I can clear these troubles thanks to my English ability – and that’s the privilege I have. Keiko isn’t the only one. I believe (&I know) there are quite many “Sashiko Artisans” who do not have opportunities to share their works due to the troubles” in a society where we prefer “convenience”. I hope that I can continue sharing the stories of other Sashiko artisans – and my mother Keiko is a good place to start.

I arrange a meeting/Sashiko Class with her for those who learn “Unshin” from my class in English. We agree that we cannot make so many more Sashiko items as we age. Sashiko is much more than what is introduced in English – and I try my best to introduce “Another Story of Sashiko”.


「(日本の)刺し子を伝えるんだ」と大風呂敷を広げていますが、私が刺し子を続ける根本的な動機の一つが「海外に移住する息子が母にできる限られた親孝行」だということです。私に娘ができた今は「(日本人というアイデンティティに悩むかもしれない)娘に残したい父親の思い」という追加項目がありますが、元々の理由を辿ると刺し子好きな母親と世間様を繋げていくことが私の願いの一つです。恵子さんの刺し子はなかなか真似しようと思ってできるものではありません。ただ、恵子さん自身があまり外に意識が向かないというか、自己完結型というか、「私を見て!」という欲求が強くなく、寧ろ「素敵なものが作れたから嬉しい」というある意味では自己満足型なのかもしれません。下手すると誰にも接することなく刺し子を作り続けて完結してしまう母親の日々に、刺し子好きな方とのご縁を頂けたらとの息子としての願いが、私の[Sashi.Co]に対する願いです。刺し子好きが作るコミュニティ(Sashiko Community) の略字だったりもします。


#Sashiko #KeikoFutatsuya #刺し子 #二ツ谷恵子