Sashiko Creation Year Cover

Sashiko Creation Year | Toward 2020

It has been almost 3 years since the day I had offered the first Sashiko workshop in the United States. I cannot believe how fast time fly. Here, I would like to share what I am feeling as of now toward the year 2020. It is not a plan, just my feeling. So, your feedback would be appreciated to reform what I plan to do in 2020. My hope is to make 2020 for the year of “Sashiko Creation Year”.


1. Workshop Continue, but less in NYC

I continue offering Sashiko Workshops. The Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic) is the best way to share the Sashiko we practice. I had met many Sashiko friends there, and it is the biggest activity I do throughout the year. In 2020, however, I plan to offer fewer workshops in NYC. Instead, I will be more open to an individuals/organization who can arrange the workshop on behalf of me anywhere in the U.S. 

As the year of 2019, the same workshop in Lewisburg (PA) and Online Sashiko Class will be available throughout the year of 2020. The contents are the same, just different locations and different media.

The Online Sashiko Class is one of the biggest achievements I have accomplished in 2019. I will keep improving the content in 2020. The special coupon for the Online Sashiko Class will be expired at the end of 2019, so please register your course before the end of 2019.


2. Focusing on Creation & Story-telling

Another big shift I made in 2019 (besides offering the workshop online) is the online platform where I can feel safe in sharing my honest insights. I publish fewer articles here on upcyclestitches.com as well as on SNS account. Instead, I make myself to publish at least 10 articles every month on Patreon Platform.

Sashiko is not only about the stitching techniques. There are hundreds (thousands) of stories I would like to share. I would continue this “story-telling” activities in 2020, and hopefully, I can summarize them into one book or something at the end of 2020, with more than 100 articles on Patreon. Your support there would be very much appreciated.

And, I wouldn’t want to forget about “Creation”.

I decided to take time off from “teaching & offering workshop” over the summer of 2019. (Although I end up spending time on replying over Social Media posts), it was fun to focus on creation again. As much as I love sharing Sashiko, I would like to have a certain amount of time for my personal creation. I will try to balance my work as well as actual creativity.

3. Following up the current followers rather than expanding

Many people advise me that it is time (the year) to take a risk. Sashiko is getting very popular, and many people would like to learn what I share. I could probably arrange a tour to visit cities all over the world with teaching Sashiko.

Some advise me that I should hire someone to accerate what I do. A famous proverb says: “strike while the iron is hot (Make use of an opportunity immediately)”

I agree with their advice. Their advice is very articulate and precise.

If my goal is to make a good wealth (being rich) by sharing Sashiko and expanding a community of Sashiko, then it is my time to accept any offers I would receive from anyone. Sashiko is now in the trend. While many other hand-crafting suffers from its lack of trend, I may be too fool to not to ride on this trend.

However, I would choose to focus on the “follow-up” to the current followers (friends who took my workshops) rather than expanding to the new audience. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here though. I would LOVE to meet the new people who can share the passion for Sashiko. What I am saying here is that I would like to focus on what I can do instead of jumping high to “try” to catch something.

I will be available for the workshop in Lewisburg (PA) or Online Sashiko Class. The gate for the newcomers, who wish to come across to meet me now, is always open. It would be great if you could understand like this: that I feel a priority of supporting the people in current community. You are welcome to join there anytime you are willing to.

*My point is “willingness”. I do not want to “sell” what I am proud of for those who would like to ride “a quick trend” with less interest in the cultural perspective. By taking the risk, the priority needs to change. I probably won’t do that in 2020.


Toward the Sashiko Creation Year

Believe or not, I (Atsushi) am in charge of pretty much everything that we offer. Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya (Weblink in Japanese) is my mother’s project, and Keiko and I are the 2 main individuals to keep things moving forward with a lot of help from our friends in Japan.

Keiko and her friends in Japan are in charge of main production. What we share online with photos is mainly what they make. My job is to introduce them to rich stories as possible.

The solution would be asking someone to do part of what I do. However, Sharing Sashiko-stories is something only I can do. For the orders, I would like to make a package by myself with sincere appreciation for choosing us. I would need to train someone to the level of “caring”.

So, as a result, in order to keep the standard of what we do, we will not change the situation. Instead, I will slow-down myself to have some time for the creation time. It may be a crazy idea to slow down a project when the need is high… yet I would like to make sure the quality of what I deliver.

Money is merely a tool for us. It is very important to gain the profit to achieve what we want to do. However, if we have to change our values (mindset) to gain only money (be greedy to money more than we need), then I am putting the cart before the horse
(misplacing one’s priorities).

I will do everything I can to share the Sashiko better, wider and more mindfully. The year 2020 will be a beautiful year for me and you with many Sashiko creations. The year of Sashiko Creation Year.

Sashiko Creation Year Dag

Sashiko Class in Japan

Sashiko Class in Japan | Visiting us to Japan

In 2019, we start getting many inquiries about the Sashiko Class in Japan. We only offer a Sashiko Class in Japan for those who took Atsushi’ Sashiko Workshop either In-person or Online. If you do not speak Japanese fluently and want to take a Sashiko Workshop offered by Keiko Futatsuya, please take Atsushi’s workshop first. The Online workshop is available for anyone, anywhere in the world (wherever the Japan post deliver the package to).

If you are fluent in Japanese, or a native Japanese, please find the detail on our Japanese website. Keiko occasionally offers a Sashiko class in Japan, mainly in Gifu Prefecture.


VIsiting us to Japan

As much as we enjoy offering the workshop, we understand that there is a need for just a simple visit to Keiko for the purpose of enjoying her beautiful Sashiko pieces, and probably for the purpose of purchasing her Sashiko supplies directly from her.

However, we have a storefront (physical store or studio) neither in Japan nor the US. Keiko will open up her private house to show her collection and supplies when we can make an appointment together. It requires scheduling and a lot of preparation. We used to accommodate all of the requests to make an appointment with Keiko without any fee or agreement. However, after some sad experiences, we are setting up a condition to set up a date for the appointment.

So, please check the agreement for making the appointment to visit Keiko. If you plan to have a workshop with Keiko, there is no need to worry about it.


Agreement for making an appointment

You may contact Atsushi via email for making an appointment with Keiko for sharing her Sashiko piece and/or Sashiko supplies with agreeing on the terms and condition below.

  • As a setting up fee, the applicant agrees to pay 3,900 JPY (About $35.00 USD) at the point when the appointment is confirmed by Keiko. The part of this fund of 3,900 JPY, which will be over Paypal transaction, will be applied as the store credit when the applicant purchase an item(s) or supplies from Keiko in their visit to Keiko’s place. She will deduct the 3,500 JPY from the total (please understand that the 400 JPY is for the setup fee for Atsushi and its transaction fee).
  • Cancellation Policy is as below
    • 30 days prior to the visit: 80% of the fee will be refunded.
    • 7 days prior to the visit: 50% of the fee will be refunded.
    • 1 day or no show: No refund available.
  • No funds will be refunded even if the visitor (an applicant who visited Keiko’s house) purchased less than 3,900 JPY amount of items or decided to not to purchase anything.
  • If you are a graduate of Atsushi’ Workshop, the 3,900 JPY of the advance payment will be waived.
  • In Keiko’s house, she strongly prefers cash as a payment option. When you would like to use the credit card, please expect 5% fee for the transaction fee for Atsushi to help Keiko to make it happen.

The location where to meet Keiko

Keiko’s Sashiko Class (or private pop-up store) in Japan will be mainly taken place in a city called Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. Although it is well-known for a great tourist destination, it is pretty far from Kyoto or Tokyo. Please make sure that your itinerary can cover the visit before contacting Atsushi. Keiko occasionally offers the workshops outside of her town. However, those workshops usually require the Japanese language skill (no translator will be available).

Please contact Atsushi when you know the specific date of your visit because Keiko’s schedule is quite packed as well. We cannot guarantee the appointment until Keiko confirms the date and time.


Learn what we offer

Before the visit (or even before contacting Atsushi), it is strongly recommended to read through some of the articles on this website. Some of the critical information you need to read in advance are:


Other workshop teachers in Japan

Since we do not issue any certification to be the “Sashiko teacher” on behalf of us, there is no other teacher who can offer the same workshop. However, from the graduates of Atsusih’s Sashiko Workshop in Japanese, there are several students who are very good & willing to share the culture, technique, and wisdom of Sashiko we have been sharing.

They may not be English friendly teachers (they may speak only in Japanese). However, if you happen to visit somewhere nearby, it may be a good idea to contact them. As of 2019, please contact me first so I can pass the contact information individually.

List of Sashiko artisans who may be able to arrange the workshop.


Our main goal is to share the Sashiko we are proud of

We take customer satisfaction seriously. The happiness of customers (visitors, participants, and any people we encounter) are very important to us. However, the first priority is to continue in sharing the Sashiko we are proud of. This is one of the biggest difference between us and the other big company. The customer service does not come first.

We will do our best to make it happen. Your interest is what makes Sashiko alive in the future, and we respect your interest and passion. We just want you to respect what we do as well. I hope this change of terms and conditions are somewhat agreeable.

Keiko and I are looking forward to meeting (seeing) you.

handle Natural Dye Thread Cover

How to handle Natural Dye Thread & fabric

The soft color from the natural dyes is significantly different from the vivid color with chemical dyes. We enjoy the color of Natural Dye Sashiko thread, especially in a process of making “Boro” so that both fabric and thread can age – change color – together with overtime. We repeatedly tested the color stability, either if the color fades out by washing, before introducing them online. However, the Natural Dyed & Hand Dyed Sashiko thread & fabric require some attention and understanding of how to handle. The color will not be washed away by regular care for the natural dye. However, we do not recommend to throw them to the washing machine with detergent (which may have kind of “bleach” in it). Here, we introduce how to handle Natural Dye Thread and Fabric.


“Don’t” do list | Handle Natural Dye Thread with care.

First of all, please never use “Bleach” in washing and to handle Natural Dye thread. One wash with bleach may (and most likely “will”) completely wash away the natural color and make it bright white. The bleach is strong enough to do its job – to make it bright white.

The point we have to pay attention here is that some of “regular detergent” may contain the same chemical as the bleach in it. For example, if a detergent say “stain removal”, then the detergent may be too strong for the Natural Dye color.

Also, putting the Natural Dye thread and fabric in the water with detergent for a long time is not a good idea. The more time the color touches the detergent, the more color may be washed away.


Do list | How to well Handle Natural Dye Thread

Generally speaking, the natural dye doesn’t go well with the chemical detergent. In need of using the detergent, please choose the “Neutral Detergent”. Although it is quite easy to find them in Japan, I do not find the neutral detergent easily in the US (we can find them but quite expensive). In that case, please try to find the “gentle” or “soft” detergent and make sure to test the thread and fabric if the color will be washed out or not. In my experience, most of the color will stay on unless the detergent is “gentle” and washed gently. However, as a baseline, please handle Natural Dye thread with maximum Care.


Super beautiful color from nature. Although the core enjoyment of natural dye is to enjoy the color change, it is so sad to lose the color.

Summary of Do and Don’t

Do:

  • Hand-wash with no detergent. Or gentle wash with Neutral Detergent.

Don’t:

  • Using Bleach, or strong detergent which may contain Bleach.
  • Machine wash with long-cycle (or extra wash cycle).
  • Leave the thread or fabric in water (with detergent) for a long time.


Understand the reaction process

It is probably difficult to find a “Natural Dye” items in the mass-produced market. It is because the process of natural-dye requires a lot of attention and care. The color from nature will not stay on the thread or fabric by dipping them into a vat. It isn’t like a watercolor, putting paint on the paper.

The natural color stays on the thread and fabric by chemical reaction with a catalyst. We usually use the metal, such as iron or copper, to make the reaction happen. In another example, the Authentic Japanese Indigo Dye (Hon-Aizome), they use the oxidation process to create such a beautiful blue. The fabric and thread right after dipped in the vat looks somewhat “gray” or “brown”. In a process of oxidation (touching the air that contains oxygen), the beautiful Japanese blue comes out.

The chemical reaction doesn’t mean using chemical materials. Here, chemical reaction equals to Oxidation and Reduction. Vinegar will make the liquid more acidic and ash (such as wood ash) make the water more alkalinity. Either of acidic and alkalinity affects the balance of Natural Dye and could end up with washing out the color or changing the color.

Therefore, we strongly recommend using natural detergent, or just water.


The natural dye before the Industrial Revolution

One of the big reasons we use the Natural Dye thread is to recreate the beauty of Japan in hundreds of years ago – before the industrial revolution. Back then, in Japan, they did not have the chemical (artificial) detergent or bleach to wash the fabric. They did not have a washing machine either.

Instead, they washed the fabric and thread by hands with care (attention). I hope you would do the same when you handle Natural Dye thread and fabric.

By the way, this is my personal endnote (which may contradict what I had written so far). Anyhow, I DO wash my Sashiko Stitched Denim with the gentle detergent in a washing machine… I had washed probably more than 100 times over 1~2 years, but I can still see the thread color. The yellow from mountain peach looks more like white, but it still has yellowish color (I believe). I always wash it separately, with a gentle cycle of the washing machine, with a small amount of detergent as I feel. I sometimes do not add the detergent, but at some point, the jeans get smelly that we need some detergent… I hope you can find your own way to handle Natural Dye thread and fabric.


Shop our Natural Dye Sashiko Thread

Featured Products

Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ

Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ | October 19th, 2019

Another great opportunity to learn Sashiko Stitching from Atsushi Futatsuya. We are offering the Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ. In a very calm area with beautiful scenery, we will be offering the exact same workshop contents as we do in the center of New York City. Drive up to the beautiful town, Gladstone NJ, and if weather permits, we may be able to have a stitching time outside under beautiful sunlight.

After covering the core and basic of Sashiko (for about 4 hours), I will talk about how we apply the Sashiko technique to a mending project. You may bring your own garment with damage and/or a hole so you can actually apply it while learning the Sashiko stitching from Atsushi.


Join Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ

Date and Time: Saturday, October 19th 10 am to 4 pm

Location: A Maker’s Circle

1150 Pottersville Rd, Gladstone, NJ 07934

Please register your seat from the link below.

https://amakerscircle.com/shop/sashiko-stitching-workshop/


Hand-on Learning Opportunity

Atsushi will stand right next to you to teach you the core of Sashiko.

As I have been mentioning on this website and SNS, the Sashiko stitching workshop is a learning opportunity. The workshop will be intensive stitching time with Atsushi’s guidance to understand the core and basic of Sashiko stitching. Atsushi will be there prepared for your needs.

How to apply to Mending a garment

Per request from A Maker’s Circle, I will spend about an hour to talk about how I apply the Sashiko technique to the Mending, including the visible mending project. Sashiko gets its popularity over the visible mending and slow stitching, and you will have time to use the technique you learn in the workshop to your own garment in the workshop.

Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ

It is a Maker’s “Circle”

When I learned about what a Maker’s Circle does to create a community for creators, I immediately open my heart to them. I made a visit to learn what they do. Creating and maintaining a place where creators, artisans, and artists can get together is our dream. It is our honor to be part of their programs as Sashiko Workshop in Gladstone NJ.

Types of Sashiko Workshops

Quick Update | Types of Sashiko Workshops by Atsushi

I received a question about types of Sashiko Workshops. With receiving so many requests, we limited the types of Sashiko Workshops by Atsushi. However, you may get confused because of the different locations and offers. Please read this article carefully, and hopefully, I can meet you in one of the Sashiko workshops in NYC.


Only One Workshop to start. Only One.

There is only one workshop for you to start enjoying the Sashiko as we practice. It is “Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic)”. We offer it in NY/NJ area and Online.

Then, you may think, why are there so many workshop choices (advertisement) sent from Atsushi? I will explain the difference here. However, the baseline is that all of the workshops I teach in NYC provide the same contents. When I do something completely different, I will clearly mention (and most likely, it will have a prerequisite of the Sashiko Stitching Workshop – Core and Basic).

Difference: One type, yet types of Sashiko workshops

One of the biggest reasons I offer the same workshops in different locations is that I do not have a physical storefront in NYC (in fact, nowhere in the world yet). Therefore, I humbly accept the offer from those “thoughtful” organizations who would like to share the Sashiko with understanding my mission and philosophy. Starting in 2018, thanks to the biggest supporter Sharon, I can offer the workshop organized by my company, Upcycle Stitches LLC.

1) – Who organizes the workshop

If the workshop is offered in TriBeCa and/or registration is on our website (https://upcyclestitches.com/), then the Sashiko stitching workshop is offered by Atsushi & Upcycle Stitches LLC. This happens a few times a year, usually in Spring and late Fall.

If the registration page for the workshop is on other organization’s website, then it is organized by the third party, which I respect enough to offer the workshop under. For 2019, I plan to work with organizations below.

Regardless of who organizes the workshop, the contents are the same. Atsushi teaches with using the exact same materials.


2) – Class Size of the workshop

Another difference is the Class Size. Generally speaking, the workshop offered by Upcycle Stitches will have a smaller class size.

  • Workshop by Upcycle Stitches – 6 Participants (Max of 8).
  • Workshop by the 3rd party – 10~14 Participants.

Since one of the important parts of the workshop is the individual attention with my hands on your hands, the bigger class size requires the longer workshop, which leads to the difference in duration below (3)


3) – Duration of the workshop

Generally speaking, the workshop offered by the 3rd party have longer workshop time.

  • Workshop by Upcycle Stitches – 3.5 hours of duration (no break)
  • Workshop by the 3rd party – 6~7 hours of duration (include a break)

The core of Sashiko will be delivered in the first hour of the workshop. Then, with stitching intensively with Atsushi’s individual attention, the participant will get a rhythm in Sashiko stitching. Since I would like to have a room in mind to spend at least 5~15 minutes on everyone, this is the least length for the workshop.

For the longer workshop, I may add some of “more stories” related to Sashiko stitching. Some organizers ask me to plan the “extra stories” in advance, like “please talk about the visible mending”. Otherwise, I will ask the participants for their interests and accommodate the “extra stories”. This will not likely to happen in the workshop organized by Upcycle Stitches because I will be talking non-stop for the 3.5 hours of the workshop.


Other Note to unconfuse you.

  • It takes a bit of time to schedule the workshop in TriBeCa offered by Upcycle Stitches LLC. The seats usually get sold out after several announcements. I recommend you fill out the form here to be on the priority email list to get the very first notification from us. We also offer the “pre-paid ticket” which can be redeemed for Sashiko Stitching Workshop offered by Upcycle Stitches LLC (not by the others). This pre-paid ticket also have the limit because of the size of Sashiko workshop (about 6 per session).
  • Occasionally, to accommodate the organizer’s request, we offer the bigger size workshop which may limit the individual attention to participants from me. Regardless of the size of the workshop, as long as the duration is more than 3 hours, I will do my best to deliver the same message and technique to the audience.

For Graduates of the Sashiko Stitching Workshop by Atsushi

We occasionally offer another workshop so-called “HitomeZashi Workshop“. This workshop is only available for those who took the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic) with more than 3 hours length session.

The workshop description will say the prerequisite of Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic), so you will know which one is different from the others.

*I occasionally offer the preview version of Sashiko Workshop for the length of fewer than 2 hours. I sincerely believe the participant needs at least 2.5 hours of stitching with the instructor in presence to feel the core of Sashiko stitching. Please understand that those who took the preview workshop will not satisfy the prerequisite for the other advanced workshops.

Also, I started a project of Sashiko subscription throughout the platform Patreon. As the same as the Sashiko workshop, I won’t disappoint you for this journey as well. Please check the Patreon Page and look for “Sashiko Continous Learning” option.


Other Types of Sashiko Workshops by Atsushi (in Past)

  • Sashiko Mending Workshop
  • Sashiko Denim Workshop

We have done quite a variety of types of Sashiko workshops (in related) in the past. It was fun and a pleasure to share my knowledge and expertise. As of 2019, I only offer the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic) and occasional Hitomezashi Sashiko Workshop to share the core of the Sashiko we practice.

Sashiko Workshop Purl Soho Cover

Purl Soho Sashiko Workshop Fall 2019

It is my pleasure to announce that I will be coming back to Purl Soho. A happy announcement of Purl Soho Sashiko Workshop Fall 2019. This is our 3rd opportunity to offer the Sashiko Workshop in Purl Soho studio. All of them have been our most pleasure with very good feedbacks from the participants. I will bring “everything about the Sashiko we practice” to you, with passion and details.


Date and Time:

Saturday, September 21st 10 am to 4 pm

Location:

403 Broome Street, New York City

Please register your seat from the link below.

https://www.purlsoho.com/sashiko-workshop-september-21-10-4pm.html


In the center of Soho – where people enjoy making

I share many photos of Sashiko on the Internet, especially on Instagram. As much as I enjoy sharing the beautiful photos, the true beauty (fun) of Sashiko can be communicated over touching and feeling. The workshop is a rare opportunity for me to share the Sashiko collections of I have been adding and enjoying. I also share many “stories” about Sashiko. I believe you will find “what Sashiko is like” from the Japanese perspective.

https://www.purlsoho.com/sashiko-workshop-september-21-10-4pm.html

It is a Learning Opportunity

We call it “Sashiko Stitching Workshop.” However, it is not a type of workshop like “Let’s do Sashiko together.” It is a learning opportunity for you with intensive stitching with Atsushi – the Sashiko artisan who was born in Sashiko family.

If you have not to figure out how to use the unique round-shape thimble in Sashiko stitching, I can promise this workshop will be the eye-opening experience for you.

Join us, Sashiko Workshop Purl Soho

Sashiko is not all about making one perfect stitch. It is about enjoying the process of stitching – we call it “Rhythmical (mindful) stitching”. By joining the workshop, I will teach you everything you need to know (do) to master the Unshin (needlework) movement.

I look forward to meeting you there and sharing the Sashiko we have been practicing.


Other Sashiko Workshop Schedule in 2019

Sashiko Patreon

Sashiko Patreon | Be Patron for our Sashiko

I have been sharing a lot of Sashiko stories (history, traditions, culture, and wisdom of Sashiko) on Instagram and Facebook. It was my pleasure to share what we are proud of and receiving many comments with respects. However, from time to time, I received some thoughtless comments that bothered me very much. 99% of the comments were encouraging, so I probably should ignore the haters… However, by nature of the core message of Sashiko we practice, I couldn’t ignore the uncomfortable comments. I wish I could help them understand why we share the Sashiko (although they did not even read what I wanted to share). After long consideration, I decided to move our platform to Sashiko Patreon Page. There, I will only share the stories with the supporters. It is not the best outcome to ask for the fee $5.00 / per month and up), I couldn’t think of other ways to filter those “thoughtless” people that I encounter. I would rather continue this journey of Sashiko Sashiko rather than completely cease spending my time on that. Here, this is a favor to ask to join the Sashiko Patreon Community to share the beautiful photos and stories about Sashiko. Also, I explain how to use the Patreon Page more efficiently to share the Sashiko we practice.


To read the Sashiko Journey on Sashiko Patreon

Most of the contents I make on the Sashiko Patreon page will be available for those who became the patron for our Sashiko activities. Once you become a patron, please enjoy our posts as Sashiko Journey and other announcements.

Sashiko Journey

I named the “story sharing” I had been enjoying on IG and FB to “Sashiko Journey”. After clicking the Post tab, please filter the posts by choosing the “Sashiko Journey” tag. You will see a list of the stories I share. Usually, the article complete as one article. No matter where you start reading, it should be enjoyable (although I recommend reading chronologically). When I would like to share the story over several articles, I will mention “To be Continued” or “Continued” on each article.

First, visit Sashiko Patreon Page (https://www.patreon.com/sashiko) and click the Posts tab.

To read the stories as Instagram or Facebook, please choose the #SashikoJourney Tag on left.

For the special deal for Patrons, please check the “Announcement” Tag on the left column.

Announcement of what we do

Besides the Sashiko Journey, I plan to share the useful information on what we do. Most of the core information is already on our website & previous posts. However, it is challenging to find the one you would like to know since the amount of writing I made is quite huge. I will optimize the information so you will enjoy what we write easily.

I sincerely appreciate the patrons. They are the one who actually took action. So, I would like to provide the priority and privilege in that Patreon community as well.


Why Patreon. Why Fee?

When I started sharing the stories about Sashiko on IG and FB, I did not expect that much return to what I did. I simply wanted to share the Sashiko we practice, the Sashiko we are proud of. It is not my best interest to ask for the fee.

However, over time, I received many “same” questions and similar thoughtless comments from the audience. I confirmed the similarity in those contacted me without thinking through. They did not read what I wrote – and asked for the quick solution or answer.

By setting the fee, I thought I could filter those who want to get a “quick” answer. If their interest is shallow, they wouldn’t spend money on reading what I share. That was the only filter I could think of to protect myself.

Also, with receiving the fee, I can be more attentive to answer the questions and requests, which I had been doing with fun on IG and FB. I will no longer answer the questions on IG and FB (unless it is a very thoughtful question). On Patreon page, I will answer pretty much all the questions about Sashiko (only cultural, historical and spiritual part of Sashiko – Please take the Sashiko workshop for the technical questions).


I sincerely appreciate your support on Patreon. I enjoy sharing what I have accumulated over 10 years, or 25 years including the childhood I was wondering in a Sashiko family environment. It seems I have unlimited words in my brain to share. The more I write, the more I would like to share. I try my best to keep sharing the quality information there.

The core of Sashiko exists in practicing (actual stitching). However, sharing the words would be so much embracing who we really are.

Sashiko Contribution

Sashiko Contribution | when you need Atsushi to write

In 2019, I experienced the steep increase of inquiries asking me to write my insight, opinion, or understanding of Sashiko in the form of the contribution to an article to magazines, brochures, and books. As much as I would like to be their help, I have very limited capacity in 2019. So here is the policy for Sashiko Contribution that I can offer.



Sashiko Contribution for Academic Purpose

If you would like to have my writing for your research in the academic organization such as a university, please contact me with your academic background, the name of the institution, and possibly the thesis statement for your research.

I am happy to contribute to the development of Sashiko in the academic setting. The Sashiko contribution will be free of charge, and I will do my best to share what I have.

Although it is free of charge to write, it would be very much appreciated if you could take the workshop Atsushi offers (In-person and/or Online).


Sashiko Contribution for Commercial Purpose

If you would like to have my writing for the commercial purpose, such as publishing a book, a brochure for your organization (including the one with Non-Profit Organization), and your business, I will ask for the fee based on your requests and the purpose for the writing. When you contact me, please offer the fee you are thinking of. I will consider your inquiry attentively and get back to you. If you are not willing to pay for my writing yet would like to have them on your media, please try to follow the basic procedure below.

Please do not handle this lightly. A page of me writing about Sashiko may sound an easy job. However, if I am the one who writes, there will be a responsibility to what I write.

I am not a professional writer. English is my second language. However (therefore), I have to be very careful in writing what I would like to communicate. I cannot just write up without careful.


Free Sashiko Contribution?

I no longer accept the Probono work. I learned that people will handle the “free stuff” very lightly and less mindfully.

However, I also understand that it is unusual to pay compensation for just simply writing. So, here is my boundary. Please follow the list below, and I will be happy to be part of your work.

  1. Take the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic), either In-person or Online Sashiko Class.

That’s it. I want the writer (author) to know what I am sharing with the Sashiko we practice. The best way is to take the well-structured workshop I offer.

Other favors to ask to have a better mutual understanding and respect would be:

  1. Support us via Patreon and read my stories
  2. provide me a few copies of publications when it is in the market

For the Probono (No fee) work, please understand that the writing itself is my property, and you will just use them as the reference on your book.


Other than Sashiko Contribution

For non-native English amateur writer like me, “Writing (leaving the solid documents)” on something deeply related to Japanese culture is very challenging and scary. There is a huge risk of misunderstanding when I do not write the paragraph attentively and carefully.

The fee is for my time to be careful and thorough to what I write. If it is a matter of you writing based on what I write (Interpretation of what I have written), then I wouldn’t ask for the fee. Again, I am not a professional writer.

In those cases, please kindly inform me that you are referring my writing (when, where and about what). Please apply the appropriate citation standard as well. I will give you permission to use as the reference, but I will not give up the copyright.


Interview as the Alternative

Phone or Video-chat interview would be a good alternative to save the fee. Although at this point, I am not sure if I should do the interview for free of charge, I would like to see how it goes. Since it will be my merely talking about Sashiko, and you summarizing what I say as your interpretation, then I wouldn’t probably need that much return in this process.

If you are interested in interviewing me, please provide the list of information below.

  • The media that you would use the interview on.
  • The list of question in advance to the actual interview
  • Why you would like to have my comments on your media.

Using the current media as References

We have many media where I share the insight, understanding, and wisdom of the Sashiko we practice. Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and this website.

A lot of your questions and interests are already discussed on either media. It would be very respectful of you to look for the topic first on those media first.

Instagram to Patreon

I had been sharing many stories about the Sashiko we practice on Instagram with many photos. With some unfortunate events, I decided to stop writing so many contents on Instagram – where anyone can see and say what they want out of their mind. Instead, I will keep the journey of sharing the Sashiko insights on the Patreon, where I ask a monthly contribution so I can spend a good amount of time to share & discuss if there is any conflict.

When you are interested in the Sashiko we practice to the level of asking me to write about the Sashiko we practice, it would be so much helpful to be a supporter and read through what I have been sharing first.


I am a human after all. As much as I respect the policy I implemented here, I have a preference in who I will be working together. When you ask me questions indicating you have not read my words mindfully before, then I will be discouraged to work with you. When I can tell you read and respect what I write, then I will be happy to work with. I may accept the offer even without the fee and specific purpose on the media.

I believe what I am asking here is reasonable. When you ask for someone to spend their time, you would either need to compensate for their time, or you spend the same amount of time in knowing who you are asking for.

Thank you very much for your understanding. Enjoy Sashiko Stitching and also reading my writing on Patreon. Remember, though. The truth exists in practice (stitching).

High Context Sashiko Cover

High Context Sashiko Culture | Enjoy in between

Cultural Appropriation can be very hurtful when it is done intentionally. Although it is not less painful to see the Cultural Appropriation regardless of the situations, when it is done unintentionally, we can consider it as a good opportunity to learn each other. We all make a mistake. It is very important to accept the difference. When a person crosses the boundary of cultural appropriation unintentionally, a simple apology would be just enough. It is a good opportunity to have a cultural mutual understanding. In order to promote good cultural mutual understanding in Japanese culture, I would like to introduce the concept of High and Low Context Culture, which lead to a topic of Super High Context Sashiko Culture.

Crossing the boundary in Cultural Appropriation intentionally, knowing that could hurt the origin, would be unacceptable. However, occasionally, I observe the 2 groups stay on the different page although they both try to mean good. They hurt each other with hoping to understand each other. It is not a matter of intention. There gotta be some situation behind the communication itself. The answer can be the concept of High and Low Context Culture described by Edward T. Hall, 1976, “Beyond Culture”

Here, this is my assumption (with learning High Context Culture) for the unfortunate discussion regarding the Cultural Appropriation in Japanese culture. It may be very much affected how the Japanese language is structured. Again, I will always stand up for the Cultural Appropriation with intention of hurting and/or repainting the culture. Minimizing the culture and repainting the origin will insult the people who live in the Japanese culture. At the same time, it is our Japanese responsibility to consider why it happens -if one means good, then it may be because of the language difference.


Reading between the lines of sentences.

Japanese is the language to expect an ability to read between the lines of conversations. Edward T. Hall once described this as the “High Text Culture (Language)” in his book “Beyond Culture” published in 1976.

Here is a bit more detail. Surprisingly for English speakers, the Japanese language sometimes doesn’t require the subject and object in the sentence. Here is an example.

Let’s say you and I are enjoying a road trip. We talked about where to go but we do not have GPS on. When you want to ask me if we will get to the destination soon or not, you would say, “Are WE gonna get to the _____(destination) soon?”. 

In the Japanese language, in the same situation, you would just say “Soon, (We) get there, right? – もうすぐ着くよね?” 

In this example, the word “We” is omitted because it is already assumed mutually. We expect others to anticipate what the one is saying. 

This can get to the extreme when the relationship is close (like family or close friend). A Japanese may say, “Soon Arrive? – すぐ着く?”. It is not about being polite or not. We omit the words that are considered as a mutual assumption. Of course, it is not the polite language we also have. However, this is the matter of mutual understanding we expect in between. The more amount of information we expect to share, the fewer words are needed. 


English as the ultimate tool to communicate.

*I am not an expert in linguistics. Please forgive my misunderstanding if you find any. I am more than happy to consider re-writing.


In contrast, English is very well-optimized for the purpose of communication. Telling, “who does what, when, where and how (which)” is the fundamental of English. Even within a close family, we naturally use the subjects, and rarely omit it to avoid misunderstanding. 

English is the language with adapting so many difference in the history of immigration and globalization. In order to avoid misunderstanding, it has to be clear about what we are communicating. On the other hands, the Japanese languages were (are) mainly spoken by Japanese. We communicate based on the fact that the conversation partners know the language and culture of Japan.

It is too much to ask non-Japanese people to understand the Japanese language and the logic behind it. However, I believe, it is reasonable to ask everyone to appreciate the Japanese language when they are willing to learn the Japanese culture.

This perspective – High and Low context –  is another perspective why it is so difficult for Japanese to learn English, and the English speaker to learn Japanese.


Importance of Assumption (Premise)

When we learn about the new culture, it is very important not only learn the practice itself, but also the mindset behind it. The mindset often involves the assumption (premise). When the premise is not mutually agreed, the discussion can go very painful for both parties. 

In Japanese, as the language difference I introduced above, we expect all of the parties to anticipate the premise mutually without verbalizing it. For example, when I see someone who would like to learn Sashiko or enjoying Sashiko stitching, I naturally assume that the person is interested in the Japanese culture, and therefore, it is reasonable for me to expect that they “try” to respect the basic Japanese Courtesy.

I learned that it may not be the case all of the time. Some may be calling their stitching Sashiko without knowing it is from Japan. They may be calling only because of its image… Well, in that case, I hope they can find their own name for their stitching because Naming Does Matter as Ms.Makiko mentioned in her blog. (I will discuss this issue in the separate article).


High Context Sashiko

In fact, Sashiko requires even more “High” context for that matter. It is very challenging to find the documents that are describing the origin of Sashiko (or even practices of Sashiko in Japanese history.)

As a Sashiko artisan, I honestly expect others to anticipate to learn by watching instead of asking questions. The verbal discussion, like asking questions expecting for the answers, requires a lot of sentences. In contrast, in most Japanese traditions, the questions (and following answers) were not welcomed because a student was supposed to learn from the master by just watching it. The observation was the only method they could take back in Japan.

Expecting others to learn Sashiko by them just observing our Sashiko stitching is very inefficient. I understand that. In order to share the Sashiko we practice, I have established the Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core and Basic) both in-person and Online. I will answer any kinds of questions once you take the workshops.

*I wish I could do it to the general public, but because of limited capacity and that I also need to support the family, I restrict my support to who are willing to support my days & activities. For those who are financially challenging to take our workshop, please enjoy our Youtube Channel. If you are willing to learn by observing what we stitch, you can probably learn the Sashiko we practice. It may take 20x more time to understand, but possible, and again, I would like to share the Sashiko we practice to as many people as possible.


Our Sashiko Can communicate by themselves.

I believe that our Sashiko can communicate what is the importance of Sashiko and Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko, even without explaining the High Context Sashiko character. We believe in the power of fabric, hand-stitching, and cares we perform on our Sashiko items.

When you enjoy the Sashiko with respecting the Japanese culture, you are already a part of High Context Sashiko. It isn’t difficult to at all to practice the High Context Sashiko. Simply, respect and care the others. When you care the others, we can all assume that we will be attentive to the boundaries. No more opinion and judgement – more empathy and cares.

Enjoy the High Context Sashiko.

KimOhNo Cover Sashiko

KimOhNo | Your Care will protect the Japanese Kimono

I feel anxious. The fear of someone overwriting the word we sincerely value is beyond the words. Kim Kardashian, a famous celebrity, launched the shapewear (solution wear/underwear) brand naming Kimono. The trademark of “Kimono” for the underwear is now under examination in USPTO. We are reacting this ridicules issue with mentioning #KimOhNo. I want you to realize what is going on with this, KimOhNo.

I had several opportunities to learn about Cultural Appropriation. I shared my conclusion to the (painful) discussion, “Why Do You Call it Sashiko?”. I encourage you to call your stitching Sashiko when you “try” to respect the Japanese culture behind Sashiko Stitching you do. Cultural Appropriation is a very sensitive matter. I do not want to discourage the enjoyment people are celebrating. However, using the public domain of the Japanese word “Kimono” is the Cultural Appropriation I fear the most. In fact, I got angry with some of the people who left the previous discussion above (Why Do You Call it Sashiko?) because of similar reasons. It is “Intentional Ignorance.” Not knowing is not the issue. They can learn it and change their mind. Ignoring the petition (and request) to respect the culture, yet not taking the action or saying “over-reacting” is the fear I feel the most.

When it happens in a small group like here, then I can just un-welcome them. However, it is very fearful to see the famous celebrity with more than 100 million followers may change the image of Kimono to the underwear. Individualism is great. Freedom of expression (art) is respected. However, it is not okay to just observe how one can change the more than a thousand of history for her own publicity. Not cool at all.

So, I asked my family to give me a time on the holiday weekend to film the video. It took so many hours to make one small video clip. So it is just a small bite of my whole message. I will continue making the video and sharing it to the world. I still have hope for the world. We can change it by taking action. Thank you for your time to watch the video, and possibly, please sign the petition someone started on the Change.org.


KimOhNo – As a Sashiko Artisan

The Video Script of KimOhNo (1)

It is my hope to deliver the messages to as large population as possible. For some of the English speakers, my English may be difficult to understand. Also, I would like to share my thoughts with the people with hearing disability. Please find the script here for the Video (1) – # KimOhNO – Your care would protect the Japanese Kimono


Hello.

Thank you for watching this video. My name is Atsushi. This may be the first time for you to find this channel. I am a Sashiko artisan – Sashiko is a form of hand stitching developed in Japan a long time ago. This is a video expressing my disappointment and even anger, to the Cultural Appropriation and Inappropriate naming for the shaping underwear brand – Kimono – by famous celebrity Kim Kardashian. 

Many people express their anger for trademarking the underwear brand with the word Kimono. There is a petition in Change.Org and I hope you would spare some of your time to be part of this petition. On top of that, as the one who practices Sashiko, I would like to share why it is not cool to name one underwear brand “Kimono”. The goal of this video and videos I plan to upload regarding this issue in future is to motivate Kim to change the name of her brand by us sharing a part of the rich history of Kimono and Japanese culture. I hope, Kim and some of those who are excited about Kimono Underwear brand, would feel embarrassed by learning how Kimono is deeply rooted in who the Japanese are. 

This is the edited version of my speech in the Sashiko Live Streaming on 6/28. Instead of chattering randomly, I will simplify my message to communicate better. This is my first time to express my own personal feeling in public. It is already out of my comfort zone, but I couldn’t be silent for this issue. Please do not misunderstand my phrasing. I will not be offended by you enjoying Kimono as Kimono. Calling the underwear brand Kimono for the publicity is the issue I am upset with.


First of all. It seems trademarking Kimono is her business strategy, the intentional attempt instead of innocent ignorance. When I first learned this issue, I thought it was because of innocent wording misusage. Kimono has, “Kim” in it. So it is somewhat understandable that she used the word Kimono. However, I changed my mind when I found out they intentionally delete all of the Instagram comments requesting to change the name with explaining this is very inappropriate. 

If this is the intentional ignorance, it is an issue of overwriting the cultural word for one’s benefit. Kim intentionally ignores our concern and disrespect the Kimono culture. She says she respects the Kimono and Japanese culture. However, without action, it means nothing. 

The word of Kimono (It means things to wear) established its meaning as “Japanese clothing” when the western clothing was introduced to Japan. To distinguish them, western clothing was called Yofuku, and the Japanese Clothing called Wafuku – and Kimono. 

Not many Japanese wear Kimono in ordinary days anymore. However, we enjoy Kimono on a special occasion such as a wedding, celebration for the children’s growth, and Coming of age ceremony. We associate our precious memories to the clothing – Kimono. Japanese naturally accept the concept of Animism – the thing has its the spirit in it. So, Kimono is not just the name for the clothing. It is more than disposable, purpose-oriented, wear. It carries memory and spirit, therefore it could be our identity.

Although we do not wear Kimono every day, we try to pass down this culture to the next generation by wearing Kimono on those special occasions. Kimono often get pass down from a mother to a daughter and grand-daughter. For Japanese, Kimono is not a brand name. It is no-one’s property. It is our identity to respect who we are. 

Therefore, the intentional ignorance to overwrite the wording Kimono for one’s business is not cool. I hope I can communicate her “horrible taste” in naming and motivate them to feel embarrassed for supporting her brand.


By the way, I understand that Kim and her surrounding do not represent western people. I sincerely appreciate those who support and encouraged me over youtube and Instagram.

The more people get interested in Japanese culture, the more non-Japanese dress up with Kimono. I believe it is a very beautiful thing. They respect the Japanese culture and Kimono, and they enjoy wearing it. I never thought that the non-Japanese enjoying Kimono is an issue of Cultural Appropriation. In fact, I appreciated it. However, naming the underwear brand Kimono, in which there is absolutely no connection or respect to Kimono culture, is not acceptable. 

I will continue expressing my feeling on Youtube, with more stories and reasons that I had shared on the Live Streaming. Please leave the comment if there is anything I can cover explaining the KimOhNo Issue. I am just a father with a regular responsibility to support the family, so I may not be able to reply to your comments in a good timely manner – but I will do my best to follow-up and answer the questions.

Lastly, from a legal point, I would like to share why it is important for us to speak up now. I went to the USPTO database and confirmed the application filed by the company Kimono Intimates. USPTO has not assigned the trademark to the exclaimer, but there is a possibility. Therefore, before it gets too late, the voice from “ordinary yet important people like us” is important to change “rich celebrity” who thinks she can own everything. I trust and respect the United States. I live in the US to contribute to this country. I hope we can laugh about her ignorance later on,  but it already happens, your voice means a lot to the Japanese today.


[Personal note]

Well. This is a more personal note. I may be picking a fight now to Kim’s followers.  I am not happy with Kim. But more honestly, I am so surprised and disgusted by those who keep supporting Kim by leaving the comment with excitement how the solution wear is good for them. It may be. I don’t know the quality of the product itself. However, after so many comments with asking to change the name and some articles in a major publication like NY times, some people are still happy with that? I know many people encouraged Japanese for this petition, but 100 million followers are all happy about this? 

  • When did the world become so ignorant?

Now when we google the word Kimono, we can see “Kimono like” fashion. It is not preferable to see someone making money selling their item calling Kimono (or looking like Kimono) instead of traditional Kimono. However, Kim’s case is worse because her solution underwear will be the first image when we google the word Kimono when this trademark is accepted. Underwear instead of Kimono. Come on.

  • I would like to “Wow” the world with sharing more authentic photos.

It is our responsibility to share what Kimono really is.

The Japanese are not good at that, I am not good at that neither – especially those traditional fields are mainly operated by elderly people. They do not speak English. They follow the Japanese mindset that avoiding conflict. So do I. I am scared and embarrassed talking about my own feeling so much in public. However, I couldn’t be quiet, especially because I value what I do – Sashiko. I am not a Kimono professional. I do not make a living with Kimono. However, I do respect kimono throughout Sashiko culture. Please. Please respect the Japanese culture to protect its original form.

[日本語でご覧の皆様へ] KimOhNo

こんにちは。米国で刺し子を紹介している二ツ谷と申します。

今回のキムカーダシアンの「矯正下着を着物」とするブランド名の件、沢山の方が声を挙げられているのをみて、勇気を出して顔出しで動画を作成しています。「着物は下着じゃない!」という多くの声には、KimOhNというハッシュタグと共に、勿論賛成するのと同時に、何点か説明ができればと思っています。

Trademark – 商標について。

6月30日現時点で、USPTO – 米国の特許庁のデータベースを確認しました。キムさんの会社と思われるKimono Intimates が10点以上の商標を申請をしていて、特許庁はその書類を受け取っています。ただ、まだ確定されたわけではなく「3ヶ月ほどの審査」とペンディング状態になっています。だからこそ、今、声を上げれば、まだ世論に訴えられるかもしれません。

10点以上の商標申請の上、内容も細かいので、専門家ではない僕には理解が難しいところではあるのですが、申請の許可が下りればKimonoという言葉は、彼女の会社の所有物になります。簡単に見た所、今の着物そのものに商標規制が入るかどうかはわかりませんが、「Baby Dall Pajamas」と申請の一つにあるので、もしかしたら人形に着物を着せるという女の子の遊びができなくなってしまうかもしれません。

今回の件、「着物はあまり着ないから……」と簡単に考えないでほしいのです。文化の塗り替えが起こってしまうとんでもない危機的状況です。着物の専門家の立ち位置から、今回の問題を丁寧にご説明下さっている方がいるので、是非「すなおの着物チャンネル/Kimono-Sunao」を御覧ください。そして、声をあげて下さい。Change.Orgから署名ができます。

尊敬する方の言葉にこういうものがあります。「私達は微力かもしれない。ただ、決して無力ではない。」

今回の件、署名は勿論のことですが、「世界に日本の素晴らしい文化を知ってもらう」必要性もひしひしと感じています。美しい着物やその写真、他の誇れる文化を紹介することで、着物という言葉を私物化しようとしているキムさんが、「それ、ダサくない?」と他から思われるような流れを作っていけたらと思っています。他人事だとは思わずに、是非声をあげて頂ければと。もし僕で英訳をして、情報発信できることがあれば、時間の許す限り頑張ろうと思っています。4歳児を米国で育てる共働き一家なので、どれだけ時間が取れるかはわかりませんが、日本人としてのアイデンティティを守りたい気持ちは、きっと僕の家族も理解してくれると思うので。

どうぞ引き続き、宜しくお願い致します。