June 19, 2021 at 05:14PM

I appreciate all of your supportive comments. I do acknowledge there is a (silent) audience in front of me, and without you (them), I would have stopped sharing stories so long ago. I know you are there – therefore, I am here. However, unfortunately, the pain cannot be determined by the majority decision. I understand that I need to ignore the “ignorance” to keep my sanity – yet, my message is to care (not ignore)… so I still cannot give up on who we really are no matter how badly I get hurt. Is it too idealistic to believe that, one day, “they” will try to learn from the origin rather than someone who gives them a quick answer?

My message is simple. “Please learn what Sashiko is instead of cherry-picking the adjusted Sashiko filtered by non-Japanese (experts).” I am NOT denying them. I am just saying what they teach is not enough to describe the whole picture. In this big trend of Sashiko, this simple message of mine can make a lot of enemies. My friends were right – it is too late to share what Sashiko is “without pain”. 

I know you are there, and I am very grateful for that. However, again unfortunately, my pain continues until this trend ends and “superficial Sashiko experts” move onto something else. I am here with dignity as a Japanese – Sashiko is more than their trend. I may be a Samurai serving Sashiko… (another reason I suffered in Sashiko, but a different story). Even one person can bring pain, but I will keep speaking up as long as there is one person who wishes to listen.

振り返ると、このアカウント、日本語だけだと刺し子のアカウントじゃないなぁ……と思うのです(笑)とはいえ、今から気楽な刺し子紹介のアカウントにするつもりもなく。とはいえ、日本の皆様には気楽に刺し子を楽しんで頂きたく(元々はそこからスタートしてるので)。どうしたら良いか少し考えます。ここまで自分を曝け出すとなると、「淳という人間」を理解して頂きたいという気持ちも出てくるので、刺し子とは関係あるけれど少し距離を置いた所を文章にするようにします。長くなるのでNoteで(https://note.com/atsushijp)。刺し子を楽しむだけのアカウントかぁ……。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


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June 18, 2021 at 08:35AM

I am not strong at all. I try to be strong, but I am not. There is only so much that I can carry on.

I feel the pain almost everyday. This is the pain of someone repainting who I am (what I grew-up with). Those who stab me with a smile tell me it isn’t so painful. I want to be a Story-Teller in Sashiko & Japanese Culture. I try to be as “objective” as possible. However, I am a human – with emotion. I am not strong at all.

Last 6 days, as I learned more about what is going on in this trend, I really realized where I stand now. I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t realize how much (emotional) blood I was bleeding. 

I welcome anyone to enjoy Sashiko. I really want you to enjoy it. “Freedom of choice and Art” is a valid concept. I respect that. However, please know that one’s “joy” may be someone’s pain. Please don’t justify yourself with your own value – especially if you are in a privileged group. What you think is “right” with complete innocence may be stabbing someone’s heart. Sashiko isn’t someone’s “trend”.

よく2年間も毎日の投稿続けてきたなぁと振り返った所で、壊れました。ご心配頂いていた方からは「”少し休みます”って言ってから休みなよ」ってアドバイス頂いていて、「休まないもん!」って意地を張った所でポキっと折れました(笑)

壊れたと書きましたが、元々壊れているので、ヒビが大きくなった程度にご理解頂ければ幸いです。水はまだ入ったままなので、これ以上ヒビが大きくならないようにエポキシ剤で丁寧に修復しながら前に進みます。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #Asanoha #刺し子


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June 12, 2021 at 01:00PM

I had shared some of my understanding about the relationship between language & culture. My message is clear – if one teaches about the cultural topic (here, Sashiko), then don’t the teachers have to be fluent in that language spoken there? I received many types of reactions, from agreement to accusation to me for being arrogant (?). I am NOT saying they have to be fluent in Japanese to enjoy Sashiko – or even teach Sashiko as a part of their teaching of general art. However, if one makes money by representing themselves as an expert in “Sashiko”, then… is it too much to expect them to be fluent in Japanese? 

I wanted to share the pain from this. While I was brainstorming, I read an Instagram post by Daki (@woolandtheforest) thanks to Ainur (@mamasteddybear) – talking about a phrase of “Our Language as a Protection (to Our Culture)”. This is a summary of my pain – the protection violently broken by other languages. I wrote a long article on Patreon about what it means to me. With a big appreciation to Daki & Ainur, I made the article available to the public for a period of time. I hope you will find mindful time to read my story & follow Daki & Ainur for their perspective (pain) in this matter. 

https://ift.tt/3iCNeHU

またとんでもなく長い文章を書きました。全部英語ですが公開記事です。乱文乱筆ですが、一読頂けたら嬉しいです。日本語でも書きたいことは山程なのですが、どうも「お金を頂いてご支援頂いている英語圏(Patreon)」での文章に比重が向いてしまいます。責任も感じるし。でも日本語も蔑ろにしたい訳じゃないんですよね。文章…好きなだけに時間がかかってしまうのです。ちなみに今回のテーマは「文化を守る役割としての言語」です。

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


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June 10, 2021 at 03:02PM

I am happy to have “Japanese” as my native language. I am fortunate to keep learning English as my second language. However, in my journey, “Language” is not a purpose (goal). It is a means (method & way) to achieve my goal – to pass down the Sashiko I have received. Therefore, it is important for me to talk about the difference between English & Japanese – to share what Sashiko really is for us.

I share it on Patreon, but one interesting difference. In most cases, proper English sentences require the “subject” such as “We” and “You”. It is important to identify who says what in English – to clarify the responsibility of its logic. In contrast, in Japanese, we often omit the “subject” especially when we all know who is “speaking”. For example, in English, when a person ask “What are you doing?”, they answer, “I am doing ◯◯”. They need “you” and “I”. In Japanese, it will be “what *(are you) doing?”, then “(I am ) doing ◯◯”. It happens because it is obvious “who” is doing it.

I believe “individualism” and “collectivism” exist behind this difference. So, cultural aspects hugely influence the language, and the language also hugely impacts cultural practice. I am not saying everyone needs to master the Japanese for their Sashiko. However, it is not acceptable to pretend to be an expert & teach Sashiko without the proper understanding of the Japanese Language. Sashiko is hugely influenced by Japanese culture & its (non-verbal) language.

ここ数日、言語についてたくさん考え文章にしています。昔の試験を思い出しながら、受験国語では文章を読み主語を判定するのが問題になる一方で、英語では代名詞が何を指すかが問いになる。これって、凄い違いだと思うんですよね。文化と言語にはやっぱり関係性はあるよなぁと。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


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June 09, 2021 at 03:16PM

Well… some took my “question (wondering)” as “questioning (criticizing)” them. It happens when they read what they think I would write. I pulled a trigger for something they suffer so that they start firing at me – it won’t shut me up though. 

Being a Japanese will not secure any “qualification” to be a Sashiko teacher. That is why I keep wondering if I am a good teacher regardless of my experience. I ask my students/friends to learn from others as well – what I teach is just a beginning (but an essence of Sashiko – like “how to use a knife in cooking”). I am teaching for 2 reasons (1) people want to learn the way (2) the essence was about to be lost. I wasn’t teaching before 2017 because I thought I didn’t need to speak up. My “qualification” to teach is my stories & experience, which I share some here and there. People who want to learn more & accurately come to my class, and I have received many good feedback.

I believe there are “different levels & types” of Sashiko teachers in Japan. It is our (learners) choice who we want to learn from. There are no “certifications” secured by the nation. To be honest, I believe Sashiko wasn’t something to be taught. Sashiko is “that” ordinary. Therefore, I came to the original question – what are the criterias to trust a teacher?

As I always say, there is no Right and Wrong in Sashiko. However, there is Right and Wrong in appreciating/appropriating the culture.

ここ数週間ほど、強制的にお休みを多く取るようにしています。イケイケドンドンでこの数年来ました。今、後押しする流れがこれほどにないほど強いからこそ、一度足元を見直そうと思っています。数年じゃなく、20年先を見ていたいので。(イケイケドンドンは古いか……)。

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June 08, 2021 at 12:41PM

Our brain is amazing. You may know this interesting paragraph below:

“Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Hravrad Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”

Our brain “fulfills” something missing by itself based on our “current knowledge”.You could understand the paragraph above, right? (I am sorry if I didn’t introduce this paragraph well. It was a long time ago and I wrote it from my memory. I believe this is not an official research, just a meme on the Internet).

So, when you read my story with a strange rhythm, you may assume what I write with your own comfortable rhythm – your brain fulfills it with what you think it should be written. There is nothing wrong with it. However, what if I “intentionally” write an imperfect story to share the culture you don’t know? 99% of angry comments I receive come from their “misunderstanding” of what I write. Yes, it is my responsibility to write a clear story. However, an easy clear story sometimes does not carry the essence. (Therefore, I write both & I ask you to be mindful).

Many people who understand my “challenge” advise me it is “impossible” to do. Yes, it is extremely difficult. However, in order to pass down Sashiko, it is inevitable. Not many are committed to both Sashiko & Language like I am. It is my job to introduce missing pieces. I am tired of those who think they are experts in Sashiko & Japanese.

脳とは面白いもので、「未知のもの」と遭遇すると、なんとか理解の範疇に収めようと想像するようで。このとんでもない能力、使い方を間違えると「再構築」となってしまいます。「知らないから知ってるものに置き換えちゃえ」と。それは自由なんかじゃない。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #Boro #JapaneseBoro #刺し子 #襤褸


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June 07, 2021 at 02:58PM

Please read what I write with your best mindful status (not quick scanning). I love analogies & I try my best. However, it may filter something important. One important essence of Japanese culture is to read between the lines. Getting a message from what is NOT written. Since it is critical for me to share what Japanese culture is like to pass down the Sashiko we practice, I spend a great amount of time & energy to write something with Japanese spirit in English.

Here is one example. I did NOT write anywhere, “a teacher who teaches Sashiko has to be fluent in Japanese”. Since some misunderstood, I made a supplemental post after that. I expect “a teacher of Japanese culture” to be fluent in Japanese language. If one calls themselves an “expert” in Japanese topics (like Sashiko), then they have to teach about the Japanese culture. Culture is hugely influenced by language… so I believe it is natural to expect that. 

Little more detais. I don’t mind when a school teacher or an art teacher for the community teaches Sashiko as a part of their guiding. Navigation is a beautiful & respectful work. They know their role as a navigator & they won’t consider them as a Sashiko expert. Some share “my existence” as an active Sashiko Artisan for references. The reason I keep sharing strong statements here is, an art teacher with good intentions “can/may” be a part of destroying a cultural practice because of the “experts without language”. In Sashiko, in English, the image, definition, description, teaching methods, rules, stories can be “insufficient”. Therefore, if you share the information, I want you to be mindful – make sure to get materials from “trusted resource” – hopefully from “someone native with good experience”, or at least someone who know Japanese culture & language very well – not someone who is good at marketing.

I have a Patreon page where I share more details. Please listen to the voice from the origin – not from just a comfortable/convenient place.

米国を語り、英語圏の文化として何かを教え、専門家として報酬を得ている人が英語話せなかったら、「なんでやねんっ」ってツッコミが入りそうなものだけど、これが逆になるとそうでもない不思議。

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June 06, 2021 at 12:47PM

I share many stories. I want you to read every post before “Reacting:, but here is a roughly condensed message: Sashiko introduced in English is NOT wrong but insufficient. I feel fear of someone non-Japanese making the “insufficient description of Sashiko” as a whole culture by ignoring/filtering voices from Japan(ese).  

Here is an extreme analogy from my own experience. My wife (back then girlfriend), from Israel, introduced me to a great Middle Eastern dish, “Hummus”. I did not know about Hummus until I met her. I love Hummus. Although my understanding is limited, I wanted to introduce this dish to my family in Japan. So I got a recipe. In Japan, unfortunately, I couldn’t get “Tahini”. I “googled”. Then, I found a recipe using Yogurt instead of Tahini. I made “Hummus without Tahini” for my family. It didn’t taste like the hummus I enjoyed, but for my family, what I made was the whole picture of hummus they could know.

The story ends without any harm because my family wouldn’t teach how to make hummus to others. Their “encounter” to the hummus ends at the dinner I offered. What if… though, if my family who think Tahini is optional to make “all the hummus” decided to open a Middle Eastern Restaurant in Japan – and they are very good at marketing to the extent that many Japanese start believing Tahini is an optional ingredient for Hummus…? Isn’t the culture of hummus repainted by them? Hummus without tahini is not Wrong, but insufficient when one teaches about the Hummus.

Please replace “hummus” with the word you feel attached to. It is Sashiko for me. I understand each culture has their own hummus: a Japanese ruling that “Tahini is optional” can be very dangerous in changing the culture. If I were to teach about Hummus as an expert, I would need to learn their language as well. Otherwise, I will filter the Culture ignoring voices in their language. Talking about Hummus as a part of “Food in the word” doesn’t require the language itself, but if one promotes themselves as an expert, then the profit comes with a responsibility. 

引き続き長文すみません。日本だと常識だろ思うことが、やっぱり常識では内容で。また配信で話しまします。

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June 05, 2021 at 09:13PM

Thank you very much for all the comments you have made to my previous question (post). I am learning a lot, and appreciate your view. I am sorry that I cannot reply all, but I read them all. Here is supplemental information.

I am NOT saying all the teachers who teach a topic related to Japanese culture have to be fluent in Japanese. The point is, “Are they sure what they teach is valid? Isn’t it filtered by someone who benefits from the modification?”. Without the language ability, it can be difficult to “confirm” the validity because the resource will be limited.

The same goes to me. How do you know what I teach is “real”? Being Japanese itself will not validate anything that I teach in Sashiko. How do they know I am “valid”? Therefore, I share as many stories as possible (stories require experience). Therefore, I share my “real-time” stitching so no faking the stitches. Therefore, I ask my Japanese friends to check what I say periodically (mainly in Live). I know I am sharing “my truth” – but I would like to make sure that I do not minimize the other Sashiko artisans in Japan. 

When we can trust the resource, then language isn’t the priority. For example, if you have a Japanese parent, and they force you to follow some Japanese culture (I am sorry for that), then your understanding of Japanese culture is sufficient even without language. 

Today, The Internet can offer you various valid answers – we can choose the answer from both extremes. We can modify the answer based on our preference. Therefore, my question arises. I believe (hope) most of the information available is valid (not Wrong). However, when one teaches the Sashiko as “a whole”, then how do they validate they are teaching the whole practice without the language ability? Teaching comes with responsibility, especially when the teacher focuses on specific cultural topics associated with names.

久々長文です。どっかで一人語り配信します。

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June 05, 2021 at 11:21AM

This is a question for non-Japanese people out of my curiosity. What is your “standard” to trust a teacher or a master? 

The work pieces, the publications, and the title (like Ph.D) are good benchmarks. However, wouldn’t you expect a master of Japanese culture to be able to speak (fluent) Japanese…? At least, I would expect a master of Western culture in Japan to be able to speak English… When I meet an authentic Italian chef, I expect them to learn from a master in Italy while living in Italy. For some reasons, in crafting, anyone seems to be a “teacher” or a “lecturer” without proper understanding of the culture. Is this because the “masters in crafting” underestimate the audience/students? I don’t understand how & why.

I do not consider myself a master/artist. I am learning how to teach & what is Art. At the same time, being Japanese does not qualify me to be a teacher/lecturer by itself. Therefore, I share stories here. Therefore, I share my “unedit version” of stitching in Live Streaming (Youtube) so that people can expect what they can learn from me. ALL of my western friends who are in a profession of Japanese Culture can speak fluent Japanese – and they all say their Japanese is nonproficient & their understanding of the culture is insufficient. I am not saying one needs to master Japanese language to enjoy Sashiko. I just don’t understand how “one” is chosen, for what qualification, to teach something they don’t know fully.

This leads to another question as well: do we all have to learn English to protect the culture from Cultural Appropriation? 

刺し子を伝える際に時々頭に思い浮かぶのが、昔のテレビ番組「マネーの虎」の一節です。「カナダを伝えるビジネスをしたい」という志願者に、「カナダには何回行ったことがあるの?」という質問に、「行ったことがありません」というやりとり。子供ながらに疑問に思ったのを覚えています。刺し子をする為に日本語を学べとは言いません(そりゃ学んでほしいですが)。ただ、日本文化としての刺し子や襤褸を教えるのであれば、そりゃ日本語で議論できるくらいにはなるべきだと思うんです。英語ができない西洋文化の専門家とかわけわからんやん。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子


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