May 15, 2022 at 08:38AM

As you know, “Fabric” Carry Memories. We communicate to/via/by/from fabric to something and someone. In short, “Fabric” Talks. When one spends a lot of time with fabric, I believe they have a memorable & unforgettable one which they communicated so deeply – it is a silent communication with abundance.

I do have several memorable pieces. At the same time, for me, the days surrounding fabric itself is a way to carry memories. The word “Sashiko” isn’t just for stitching for me. As Fabric Carry memories, the word also carries memories. I hope you feel the same way about some specific word (or a tangible item) – something define who you are.

Once we get used to the “Communication to Stitching”, we start getting a strange & unique skill – we can distinguish who’s stitching it is as if we can distinguish our friends & family based on how they look. Stitching is like a mirror of ourselves. We can fake anything on the Internet pretending to be whoever or whatever. However, no-one can fake the stitching in the long-term. I sometimes find a “Sashiko Master” who I wonder if they stitch… the stitching they share doesn’t match what they say. Sashiko defines who they are, instead of we define what Sashiko is. In order to share who I am, I share an unedited version of my stitching every Thursday & Friday – on Live where I cannot fake anything real-time.

I believe in Humanity – that “We are decent by nature”. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case. However, by sharing the significance of silent communication in Sashiko which illustrate who we are, I hope I can pass down the Sashiko we have been practicing.


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


May 14, 2022 at 09:48AM

After a lot of reading someone’s story & conversation within myself, I now ask only one thing to avoid Cultural Appropriation (C/A) in Sashiko – it is “acknowledgement”. Please do not ignore the stories & people behind the words. I hope it isn’t too much to ask… Otherwise, a culture in the ordinary can be easily wiped out by choices of someone with power.

My approach to C/A is a bit unique. In general, I assume that C/A becomes an issue when “Copying” and “Profit” are taken due to the power balance. When I decided to speak up about C/A in Sashiko, I questioned myself about “What hurt the most (emotionally)”. The answer was “lack of acknowledgement”. I encourage you to copy what we do in Sashiko. I don’t mind someone selling “Sashiko” to make money. In a C/A with a bigger established culture (such as Kimono), copying & profiting can be an issue based on who is involved. However, for me, with Sashiko, the issue is “NOT even there yet”, because Sashiko has been “ordinary” to many Japanese people. The foundation of Sashiko exists within the Japanese mindset instead of “established foundation” like the other Japanese traditional cultures. As a result, the “lack of acknowledgement” can wipe away many things.

Copying as a loss of competitive edge. Someone’s profit as my opportunity loss. Yes, those are scary when it comes to our “future”, but I would rather you copy what we do as Sashiko & make money than someone intentionally ignoring the voice resulting in being Sashiko changed to something else completely. When I see a lack of acknowledgement (indifference) Sashiko, I feel like the whole life has been considered “valueless”. I know it is NOT, but pain from “lack of acknowledgement” can result in denying someone’s whole life. Be mindful, acknowledge it, and then enjoy Sashiko as you wish.


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


May 12, 2022 at 01:59PM

On the Internet, we can find some photos of “stitching (or similar)” saying “Sashiko (Boro) inspired”. They made me wonder what they are “inspired” by (from). Today, I am reading a well-written, and very important article about the word “inspired” written by a Japanese person I respect, and I am learning how to articulate the dull pain in my chest.

The source of inspiration may be the specific “Pattern” such as Asanoha or Shippou. However, there are no such a thing as Sashiko pattern. They are geometric patterns we often use in Sashiko. They may be inspired by the (superficial) comfortable message of Sashiko translated (modified) by someone who think they know enough – like Sashiko as the way to recycle fabric in SDGs. It is true that we reuse materials a lot, but Sashiko is NOT the word for “Visible Mending”. When I share these stories, some accuse me saying, “You always complain with denial saying ○○ is NOT ●●. You need to explain when you deny it”. Well… I am explaining everything here through sharing my stories. Sashiko has been my life. How can I explain everything in one sentense to someone who does not try to learn the cultural perspective of the practice? Sashiko and our stories do not exist to satisfy someone’s Instant Gratification, or even worse, self‐assertiveness and profit.

I am still learning English so that I can speak up in this big trend. Or, without English, the voice from Japanese people may be buried in its history. I make myself available to share my own stories every Thursday at 9 pm EST on Youtube (Search the channel “Sashiko Story”). Do not use the word “inspired” as the excuse for the Instant Gratification. I am happy that what we can do inspires you, so please keep learning. Please keep sharing the stories where you are inspired by (from).


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


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May 03, 2022 at 09:33AM

Continued from yesterday’s post. The popular words, Wabi-Sabi, Zen, Ikigai… are indeed well related to the Sashiko we practice. However, they are often an “outcome (by-product)” of the practice itself – not a goal to achieve. I find accounts & information sources to try to promote their Sashiko/Boro (products/service) as “how to easily get it”. It isn’t really the whole picture of Sashiko.

Well, I wonder if they really understand what “Wabi-Sabi”, “Zen” and “Ikigai” are to begin with. How do they define these words without proper learning? If you know anyone who can define the words, ask them where they learned from – it is probably either a book written by non-Japanese, or someone with non-sufficient learning. If you get a name of someone who can define what these words are in both Japanese and English, please introduce him/her to me. I would like to ask him/her to teach me. I have been looking for “that” person for my entire life. Many masters I have met taught me: “Stop thinking intellectually. Empty yourself & feel it”. It applies to Sashiko as well.

Foreign words are often useful because they bring uniqueness to what they do. “Hand-stitching to be mindful” is what it is, but they add “Sashiko” or “Zen” to enhance their value – which unfortunately involves both filtering the culture & deceiving the students (as result). If you would like to get instant gratification & superficial mindfulness with Japanese words, the packaged “Sashiko” may be a good choice – however, please understand that your choice may (can) endanger the cultural practice itself. I have been looking for the “definition” of these for the past 30 years by reading books & talking to seniors. I cannot promise I can give you “the answers” by following this account, but I am sharing everything I learned for far – which illustrate the frame of what they are.


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


May 01, 2022 at 03:16PM

Ikigai, Umami, Kotatsu, Kakeibo… There are so many Japanese words “translated (transformed, interpreted, or sometimes even twisted)” into the English Community. Sashiko and Boro aren’t as popular as the others, but they are already establishing their own meaning – unfortunately & sadly. Wabi-Sabi, Zen, Mottainai… these are popular words often combined with Sashiko to “market” their products to get more attention. There is nothing wrong with playing with the words, but the words themselves do not describe the whole picture. When someone starts teaching the “insufficient” concepts with catchy words, the students start believing what they are learning is the “truth” in their foreign culture. That’s the danger – and often – violence over the language.

Almost all authors on Sashiko & Boro in English are (white) Western people. I wonder about many “whys”, but one of the reasons is the English language as a privilege. In cross-cultural discussion, a person needs to learn English to defend their own culture. I don’t think any of those authors can discuss (or share ideas & wisdom) about Sashiko and Boro with us in Japanese, yet they consider themselves as Sashiko (& Boro) masters? I really hope the world will realize the craziness. I am putting all of my life into Sashiko. Therefore, I learn English so hard, to defend my own identity. Please be mindful of whom you are learning from. That’s the only way to balance this craziness. (When you enjoy Sashiko for yourself, don’t worry about it. I exist for you to enjoy more without worrying about the language. If you were to teach it, be serious – otherwise it can be quite disrespectful).


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


April 22, 2022 at 09:37PM

Earth-Day. My daughter brought me a short essay about what she can do for the earth. From the time of “consuming” the resources, we are now living in the society of “sharing it” with Earth – or thanks to Earth. I hope that Sashiko can contribute to this responsibility as human: with cultural sustainability as well.

I spend my time in yard-working and house-chores as much as I can. Some advise me that I should focus on “Sashiko Business” when the demand is so high. Yes, outsourcing the chores would be a wise choice when I focus on “money”. However, since what I would like to pass down is as many stories as possible about “Sashiko”, these times working in the ordinary with using my own hands are quite important. This year, I could plow the soil in very nice weather on Earth-Day – appreciating good soil with these good helpers (warms).

The key to sustainability, for me, is to understand the “line” instead of “dots”. We can focus on each dot, but we also need to understand that the dot may be a part of a line. The line is the foundation of a circle – which can be a circuration of sustainable days. Sashiko is like that, too. There were people for many years, then we are here, and there will be a future for Sashiko. Please keep learning – as Sashiko is not the marketing term for some superficial (instant) gratification.



#Sashiko #EarthDay #Sustainability #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


April 15, 2022 at 10:14PM

We live in a society with many choices. The freedom of choice illustrates our wealth, and appreciating individual value is quite beautiful. We can have choices today thanks to many people who struggled to acquire The Choices. Therefore, it is important to respect the unknown “Seniors” who are the foundation of what we enjoy now. We are here at present to create the future. Both “Now” and “Future” are somewhat an accumulation of all the past. “Traditional” doesn’t mean just “old” – it is an accumulation of their stories. We cannot define or judge which “tradition” is better or worse. There is one history as a fact, but there are so many stories around the history. Sashiko is one of those.

One stitch by One Stitch. All hand-stitched. We choose to hand-stitch. We enjoy hand-stitching. I share Sashiko Stories here in English, but there are millions of unknown stories from unknown Japanese people who practice(d) Sashiko. I am here to pick up as many stories as possible. If we were to focus on sustainability & recycle, let’s try to bring up their stories to the stage to learn more, too. A choice comes with responsibility, and I am here because of my choice & its responsibility.


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


April 14, 2022 at 08:21PM

One of the biggest pleasures in teaching is to see my students becoming so comfortable in Sashiko stitching. I consider them my friends who share the same interest rather than students. Well, with that much achievement in a short period of time, I believe I can prove a lot of my messages here.

Anyone can do Sashiko the same way as we do. All they need to learn is the “Core & Essence” of the Sashiko – which unfortunately are not translated into English yet. (I don’t think it can be translated in plain text… one has to have our individual attention and/or keep watching the videos / reading stories). Of course, anyone can do Sashiko without learning from us. Don’t get me wrong. Our Sashiko isn’t the “goal” – it is just the beginning of their Sashiko.

“Skill” isn’t difficult in Sashiko. The point is whether one can spend thousands of hours stitching. It is all hand-stitching. It takes time. They are people behind the practice, and they (we) have to make our ends meet. So, that’s what makes us unique. “Learning Skill & Technique” became very easy thanks to the Internet & Youtube. I can fix (temporarily) the drain by searching for videos. So are “Sashiko”. Don’t focus on Still too much. Copy our skills. Then, please keep looking for what I really mean by sharing so many stories here, and on Youtube, today at 9 pm EST Thursday night Live Streaming.


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


April 12, 2022 at 09:36AM

I try to keep my goal as “simple” as possible. It is to pass down the Sashiko we have been practicing with decent change, with as little filtration as possible. The reason I have business (@upcyclestitches) is more primitive: I just want to support my mother, who is an extra-ordinary Sashiko “artist”. This journey started to support her so that she can pay her bills without working part-time in a restaurant (thanks to many support, she can only focus on Sashiko.)

The motivation to keep sharing the Sashiko Story here is also very simple. This account is a series of notes to my daughter, who isn’t ready to understand the difference of culture. I may not be there when she needs to learn one of her origins. I hope the people here will be able to pass something to her. I am happy that these notes can be helpful for those who are in the similar situation as my daughter would be.

Since my goal & motivation is simple and primitive, I can put my ego aside. I used to be quite egoist. “Ego” is quite important to be successful in this society. However, I put myself in the second priority, and therefore I don’t mind sharing everything in public saying “Copy it instead of repaint it”, with the hope that I can make my ends meet by support from those who can afford.

Sashiko & Boro has become (been becoming) something different from what I know in Non-Japanese Language. Change happens in Culture, and I accept it. I just want the change to be more mindful & respectful. I understand the simplification & filteration if we were to “revive” the practice from history. However, if there is a possibility, don’t you want to protect someone who can make this kind of piece in today’s era? I do, and I exist for that.


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