April 22, 2021 at 02:27PM

Regardless of my fear(pain) in Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko, I am happy to see many people get to know what Sashiko is. Although some information may be filtered/twisted, those who respect the origin will eventually reach the stories. After all, what I would like to do is to pass down the culture. Your understanding & interest is very important, and I appreciate it. 

One of the distortions we experience in the trend is “the value change”. It is simple economics – demand and supply. The price tag we see on the Japanese Kofu (vintage fabric) is unbelievable. Once they were “trash”, now they are valuable. Isn’t it kind of funny?

Many ask me what is the “Good Kofu”. It is a difficult question because “it depends” on what they are looking for. For Sashiko, there are 3 check-points to define if it is Good Kofu (for Sashiko). (1) Is it washable? (2) Is the damage/worn naturally done? (3) Is the fabric “usable”? As I shared the concept of Yo Soku Bi yesterday, the beauty comes from “using” it. In order to make a good “Boro to be”, the journey starts from finding Good Kofu pieces. (I sometimes list Kofu in our store. For my business, please follow @upcyclestitches).

流行というのは面白いもので、ゴミが宝になったりします。言葉遊びでもあるのですが、「お金という価値」という判断基準で物事を見ると、経済学の大原則の「需要と供給」が刺し子にも当てはまって、雑巾にも出来ないようなボロボロの古布に、とんでもない値段がついたりするのです。もともと古布には価値があって、それを知っている人はいたのですが、流行になると「古布そのものの価値」ではなく、「古布を持っていれば得られるだろう未来の価値(値上がりの可能性)」にもお金が流入し市場が膨らみます。バブルとか投機とかは、株や仮想通貨だけじゃなく、こういう「モノ」でも起こります。良い悪いの話じゃなく、なんか不思議だなぁというお話。もちろん古布は良いものに生まれ変わるから価値はあるんですが、古布そのものは、本当にボロ布ですぜ(笑)

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Yoshokubi #Kofu #VintageFabric #JapaneseVintage #刺し子 #古布


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April 21, 2021 at 09:51AM

We can find many kinds of descriptions about Sashiko in English. “Slow-stitching”, “Beauty in Imperfection”, “Meditative Stitching”… and you know better than I do. All of these are not “wrong”, but they are insufficient by themselves. Before defining what is “the sufficient Sashiko description”, it is critical to understand the concept of “用即美 – Yo-Soku-Bi” in Japanese Mingei. 

The Japanese found the beauty in the ordinary (not only in imperfection) – and they categorized it as “the beauty in Usage (in the ordinary days)”. There are many crafts found in this Mingei-Movement, and that’s the base concept of the Aesthetic Sense in Sashiko. (Please look up our website for terminology, like Mingei and such).

“The beauty in Usage”. That’s the reason we mainly make something we can use instead of put it on the wall. There is nothing wrong with making a tapestry or framing Sashiko as an Art piece. However, without understanding the base concept, the culture becomes something different. Therefore, I say “Sashiko in English isn’t wrong, but insufficient”. If you are to share/teach Sashiko to someone, please keep “learning” – and let your students know there are more (Do not let you students feel that they do not need to learn further, please).

英語圏で刺し子をしていると「刺し子は芸術だ」とか「額縁に入れて飾りたい」とお褒めの言葉を頂くことがあります。嬉しいのですが、同時に「美」 としての刺し子の出発点も知って欲しいなと思うのです。刺し子を額縁に入れることは全く問題ないと思っています。僕自身もするし。ただ、「用即美 – 用いて即ち美しい」という概念が、刺し子の根底にあることを知った上で楽しんで欲しいなと思うのです。僕達が基本ジャケットやバッグばかりを作るには、こういう理由があります。タペストリーや飾るものを作らないという訳ではありません。ただ、やっぱり「使いたい&着たい」と思ってもらえるものを作りたいなと思うのです。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Yoshokubi #Mingei #TeachingSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子 #民藝運動 #用即美


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April 20, 2021 at 10:42AM

When I write about the “language” difference, some read it superficially as if I am excluding non-Japanese. They say, “So you are saying we need to be fluent in Japanese to enjoy Sashiko?”. No, I am NOT saying it at all.

You do not need the Japanese language to enjoy/practice Sashiko. Only thing I am asking is the respect/care for the Japanese culture (voice). When they are trying to learn the “mindset”, I am fine with them teaching Sashiko. Only thing I would find uncomfortable is to “twist(repaint)” the culture. When a Sashiko teacher leaves the impression to students that they do not need to “look further” in Sashiko after the workshop, then it is a problem. All of my class ends saying “This is the start of their Sashiko”. A big difference in mindset & approach. 

Sashiko isn’t so difficult to be good at. However, it isn’t shallow as the non-Japanese can “complete” on behalf of us. Summarizing/Simplifying Sashiko into “the one answer” with filtering numbers of diversified style is a form of twisting & repainting the culture – and when it is done with intentional ignorance & for the profit, then it is Cultural Appropriation. 

As I always say, “Caring & Respect” will differentiate Appreciation from Appropriation – not what you can do, it is how you approach it (although it would be great to try to learn the Japanese).

配信では良く話すのですが、日本語では「主語」を多用しません。それは、「誰が」の部分は既に前提として共通認識されていることが多く、敢えて言う必要がある場合以外は省略してしまうからです。同様の共通認識で、指示語である「あれそれこれ」も多用されます。受動態&能動態も、一文字で変わります。結果……共通認識あっての意思疎通になります(笑)。やっぱり凄い言語だよなぁと。想像力と共感力がないと日本語って難しいんじゃないかと思うのですよ。だって、誰が何をしているのかっていう基本文型を想像しながら話すんですよ……凄い話です。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Japanese #TeachingSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子


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April 19, 2021 at 10:44AM

In this account, I am sharing the Sashiko & how “different” the understanding can be. Not “Wrong”, just “different” – because of this difference, the understanding of Sashiko in English can be insufficient. After all, “Sashiko” is a Japanese practice rooted into the Japanese culture. The culture is deeply related to the language. In other words, the language is a product of each culture. 

The more I learn English, the deeper I respect the language. It is a well-developed language to communicate in a diversified society. Since the speakers are different, the language became straightforward based on their “value” – which is mutual understanding by logic. This simplification enhances the dualism, and unfortunately (sometimes), it “could” filter something in between. Contemporary Japanese is becoming like English – more “direct”. However, what I share is the culture where Japanese didn’t really need to “problem-solve” by language. Therefore, it is extremely challenging for me to explain the nuance of Sashiko in English.

Unlike the other posts here, this is merely my opinion. I am not well educated enough to discuss linguistics. However, by explaining my idea, “what/how I write here” might make more sense to some of the readers. Some complaints that they do not get “clear answers” by reading what I write. It is true because I do not offer “clear answers”. Without mindful reading, my writing here is nonsense. Instead, I believe I offer enough “stories” to encourage them to think. Therefore, I ask, please sit with what I write (for while) before asking for the “quick” answers.

英語を学べば学ぶほど、日本語というのはかくも不思議な言語だなぁと思うのです。「意思疎通する」ことが言語の目的であるならば、論理的な英語は完全体に近く、日本語はとても原始的に思えます。ただ、言語の目的はきっと「意思疎通」だけじゃないはずで、だからこそ日本語は先を言っているのかもしれません。言霊とか過去の産物ですが、これからくる未来のお話な気もしますし。英語は世界中の人が異なる文化を抱えながら、それでも相互理解するために発展し続けています。日本語はいい意味で答えを求めません。普通に昔の日本人とか、「おい」&「はい」だけで会話してたしね。英語では想像できない風景ですよ。だからこそ、刺し子も「わかった気になって欲しくない」んだと思います。厳密に言うと、刺し子の本質は日本語がわからないと伝わらないとすら思っているので。

#Sashiko #SashikoStory #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


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April 18, 2021 at 11:11AM

Finally… it is my pleasure to share this information. I knew it would be perfectly fine, but I couldn’t feel 100% comfortable in sharing until I got the Covid Vaccination schedule. (I guess I am very much Japanese… What we feel anxiety the most is troubling others. So many non-Japanese find us “worrisome” and “anxious” based on their common-sense, but we just want to avoid being the one to bother others). 

Anyway. I am restarting the In-Person Sashiko Workshop, in a popular & beautiful studio, “Aya Fiber Studio” in Florida (@aya_fiber_studio) after 15 months. (I cannot believe the last in-person was in Quiltcon 2020).

I sincerely appreciate the owner, Suzanne, for understanding my “Japaneseness”, and being patient to make it happen. This is not only the restart workshop, but a very special one with 3 days length of stitching & stitching. First day, I shared the basics & essence. The 2nd & 3rd day, we apply the basics to what the participants want with sharing many stories & techniques. It looks like there are a few spots left. If you are interested, please contact Suzanne at @aya_fiber_studio for the details.

*Photo from previous workshop in Tribeca, NYC.

全米に散らばる知人の投稿でコロナワクチン接種完了の声が上がる中、全米でも最下位レベルで接種スピードが遅かったここPA州でも、漸く一般にまで順番が回ってきました。明後日に予約が取れたー(でも相当運転して遠くまで行きますが……州内ならどこでもOKみたい)。ワクチン接種できるので、やっとでご連絡ができます。対面でのワークショップを15ヶ月ぶりに開催します。わ〜い。15ヶ月ぶりに州から出ます(笑)

米国では再開モードが半端ありません。昨日も普通に移動遊園地来てたし。とはいえ、僕はまだ米国では外国人(移民だけど)。油断せずに丁寧にしっかりと、そして楽しんで刺し子をお伝えしようと思います。ちなみに再開一発目が3日間の刺し子合宿って……体力大丈夫かな。

#Sashiko #SashikoWorkshop #SashikoClass #AyaFiberStudio #LearnSashiko #刺し子 #刺し子ワークショップ


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April 17, 2021 at 11:09AM

I have received several happy notes that they found my article on the latest PieceWork Magazine (Summer 2021 issue) about Sashiko & its diversity. I still don’t have the copy on my hand, and I will introduce the details when I actually have it. I just wanted to share that this is my official first “published” contribution with compensation. 

I cannot thank the PieceWork team enough. English is my second language. I never got out of Japan until the age of 19. Therefore, my writing can be very strange (and wrong) for native writers. There are many grammatical mistakes (not on purpose). I do not follow some “rules” in writing (on purpose). However, usually, when an editor reads my writing, they try to “re-write” on my behalf with good intention. Instead of making corrections, they often (not always) try to rewrite the whole sentence with the contents they thought they understood. Unfortunately, it often loses the “point”. I understand. It is MUCH easier to rewrite than adjusting the errors. I almost gave up & focused on improving my English. The PieceWork team, however, didn’t change my writing style much. I still don’t know how they did it, but I took it as their understanding of the diversity – different cultures – and therefore, I felt they respected Sashiko. (my conclusion was the editor is simply a genius). Philosophy & practice of Sashiko is there → https://ift.tt/3tseA5L. ☆

昔から文章は好きで、いつか物書きになれればいいなぁと憧れていたのですが、まさか初めての物書きのお仕事が英語雑誌への寄稿だとは思いませんでした(笑)高校2年次に英語で補習受けたのが嘘みたい(赤点)。しかも、「刺し子の方法」とかっていう技術本ではなく、刺し子への思いというエッセイ的な、「しかも」、ご縁を頂いている運針会の皆様と一緒に作った作品への「みんな違ってみんな良い(先人に敬意は払いつつ)」という思いが出版されたのは本当に嬉しいです。雑誌の1記事ではありますが、スタート地点としては最高なんじゃないかな。(PieceWorkという雑誌です)。まだ僕の手元には雑誌が届いていないのですが、届いたら写真にしますね。他の方には届いているみたいで、沢山のメッセージを頂いて。形に残すのには、やっぱり営業は必要だよなぁ……(ご縁を頂いた後に僕から「採用して!」って書いて送ったのでね)。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #PieceWork #SashikoMagazine #SashikoStitching #Unshin #運針 #刺し子


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April 16, 2021 at 12:37PM

When I say “Sashiko/Boro is NOT ◯◯” or mention about Cultural Appropriation, some automatically start defending themselves. As you know, I am NOT excluding anyone. I just want them to “know” more. This may be an extreme analogy, but again, let’s use pizza. If one is enjoying “frozen pizza” and spreading the info it is “THE pizza (as a whole culture)”, wouldn’t you want to share the favorite pizza restaurant you have in your neighborhood? There is Nothing wrong with frozen pizza – but it cannot represent the whole pizza.

I am welcoming you to learn Sashiko & Boro. However, since it is deeply related to the unfamiliar culture for you, it will take a long time to fully understand. I wish I could give you the answer “Sashiko/Boro is ◯◯” as other teachers/books do… but it isn’t that shallow. Therefore, I ask to “keep” learning & “doubt” what you know. I am here to share. I offer workshops to support your learning. Once you “start” learning, call your stitching “Sashiko/Boro” or “◯◯-Inspired”. It won’t hurt me because you listen & try to not to “change” the culture by ignoring the voice. You do not need to be a “master” to call your stitching Sashiko. However, if you decide to ignore the voice from Japanese for your convenience, I will speak up no matter how good you are in stitching. It isn’t about how good you can stitch. It is about how you “appropriate” the culture you do not understand fully. It isn’t about Skill or knowledge. It is about “know what you don’t know” to avoid Cultural Appropriation – if you are referring the foreign culture.

(By learning Sashiko in a “good form”, your stitching will get better & even anyway.)

英語圏で「刺し子に指ぬきは必要ない」という言葉を見かけます。うん。必要ない人もいるし、そういう刺し子もあります。でもね、あたかも日本中の刺し子に指ぬきが必要ないように紹介されると、流石にそれは違うんじゃないの?と思う訳です。それが約1年前のお話。

指ぬきがないと運針は大変です。運針ができなきゃ刺し子が出来ないわけじゃないです。ただ、運針ができた方が多分楽しいし早い。指ぬきを使った運針ができる方が、「やっぱり指ぬきイラネ」となるのは理解できます。好みだもの。日本語圏で「指ぬきイラネ」って言う人はあんまり心配してません。たぶんどこかで「指ぬきどうやって使うんだろう?」って調べて辿り着ける情報&先生はそれなりに残ってるから。英語はどうか……というと、最初から「指ぬきいらね」という人の情報しか残ってない気がするんです。それ、怖くない?僕が毎日のように英文で刺し子を紹介している理由です。今日、これ配信で話しちゃった(笑)

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #Thimble #Unshin #刺し子


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April 15, 2021 at 10:09AM

“Boro is not something we make – it is something we raise (rear/bring-up)”. For us, there is no such a thing as “the completion” of Boro. Boro exists in the usage, and therefore the completion of Boro equals to the end of the fabric. We just enjoy a dot (moment) of its history of Boro.

We can find photos of “Boro-Inspired” pieces. Some seem like a patchwork with bright colored (recycled) fabric swatches. Some use a file to damage the fabric, and call it Boro. Some enjoy Boro under the food (which I find disgusting). I believe they use the word “inspired” to avoid troubles. They know they are using the foreign word, and I appreciate their choice of distinguishing the “Boro” and “Borough-Inspired”. However, I often wonder, what are they “inspired” by? The look of Boro? The idea of Boro? 

“Boro is a technique to mend/recycle the unwanted fabric” is not a correct statement from many perspectives. When I say, “It is incorrect”, many ask me “Then you have the responsibility to explain”. Yes, that’s what I have been doing for 2 years here and there. Boro is not a word for technique. Boro isn’t about using “whatever” fabric to recycle. It is something to “appreciate” what we have & grow (together).

「襤褸は(完成を目指して)作るものではなく、(一緒に)育てるもの」。古布を繋ぎ合わせて、「襤褸に見える」作品だったり、あるいは「襤褸になることを見越した」作品を作っているのですが、襤褸に一つだけ共通点があるとすれば、それは「終わりはない」ということ。逆に言うと、布が土に還るような感覚の終わりは、どの襤褸も一緒なのかもしれません。糸の冬と書いて終わり。春から始まる季節が冬で終わるとすると、日本の言葉の深さも感じるのです。

「終わりはない」のですが、その時々の「点」はあって、その点を楽しむことができるのも襤褸の素敵なところです。恵子さんから度々襤褸(になるもの)を購入するのですが、決まって恵子さんは「後は宜しくね」と言葉をかけています。俺への言葉なのか、はたまた布への言葉なのかはわからないのですが、襤褸は”育てるもの”という言葉への恵子さんなりの理解なんだと思っています。半ば練習、半ば実験で作った襤褸になるスカーフ。5年後か。はたまた20年後か。一緒に育てていけたらと思っています。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #JapaneseBoro #SashikoStory #Boro #日本の刺し子 #刺し子 #襤褸 #ぼろ


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April 14, 2021 at 12:53PM

Exciting Announcement – A small group tour focusing on Japanese Textile and Sashiko with Atsushi is happening in May, 2022.

It is my sincere pleasure to share this announcement. The beginning of 2021, an experienced Japanese tour guide, Koshiki-san (@tanpopostudio) contacted us for the possibility of collaboration in the Textile Tour in Japan. After careful & joyful conversations with her over time, I have decided to join the tour as an accompanying Sashiko/Boro Guide. The participants will have all of my time to deepen their understanding of Our Sashiko and other Sashiko in Japan on top of many workshops/visits to unique & exclusive places where Koshiki-san has arranged. Not only the technique, you will learn, feel, taste, touch, and of course “stitch” from cultural aspects. I cannot express enough how unique this tour will be. For the details, please visit their registration page. Also, by signing up our newsletter, you will get more information over the Spring/Summer in 2021. Koshiki-san and I will bring you many happy surprises.

The Tour Detail → https://ift.tt/2PTONFn (@tanpopostudio)

Newsletter – via https://ift.tt/32gKm9X

気がつけばもう8年以上もの間、日本の地を踏んでいません。去年の10月には日本帰国の航空券も購入していたのですが、コロナ禍で断念せざるを得ませんでした。次はいつになるのか……と不安を感じている中、英語圏向けの日本へのツアーを企画していらっしゃる方から「(普段から言葉にしている)刺し子に特化したツアーを企画したいのだけど、協力して頂けるか」という依頼を頂きました。

時間的にも大きな決断で、迷いに迷ったのですが、ご挨拶頂いた形や「日本人としての前提が一緒ならば……」とえいやとし、前向きに検討し、お話すればするほど安心する形で、無事来年2022年5月の刺し子&テキスタイルツアーを準備することができました。お仕事として僕も終日同行するツアーです。わーい!伝えたいことは山程。でも時間は限られている。そんな障害物を取り除いてくれる楽しくも学びが多いツアーにできればと思っています!

#Sashiko #SashikoTour #JapaneseSashiko #TanpopoTour #UpcycleStitches #刺し子


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April 13, 2021 at 12:34PM

Sashiko is getting popular as “Meditative Stitching”. Some may call it “mindfulness”. I see others calling it “Zen Stitching”. Well, since Sashiko & Zen are both Japanese, let’s raise a question. Can you describe the difference between Zen and Mindfulness?

There is a significant difference between Zen in Japan & Mindfulness in Western Culture (Let’s say, in the world map where Japan is far east, anywhere west from Asia is “Western” – I will elaborate this & sorry for the sloppy definition of “western”). As always, the difference itself isn’t about good or bad. Using the word without “trying” to understand is dangerous. 

Sashiko can be all of Mindful-stitching, Meditative-Stitching, and Zen-Stitching. It is my sincere pleasure to see my students enjoying Zen-Stitching after my workshop. I was going to share the stories of difference on Instagram… but since it will be several pages long, I will share it on Patreon (then excerpt some of the whole story here).

「マインドフルネス」という言葉と刺し子が一緒に紹介されることが増えてきました。瞑想状態になる事がある刺し子。その静けさと東洋的な響きから「マインドフルネス」として人気が出たのだろうと思います。マインドフルネスと来ると、そこに禅を組み合わせるのが英語圏での一つの流行りのようで(笑)ただ、マインドフルネスと禅には、根本的な違いがあります。誤解の危険性を覚悟で雑に表現してしまうと、「有」と「無」です。。禅の本質が空(くう)なのに対し、マインドフルネスは「目的有りきの手段」なんです。禅とマインドフルネスを一緒くたに語る人を見ると、とても不思議な気持ちになります。説明責任もあるんだろうけれど、でも、教える人はやっぱり勉強し続けるべきだよなぁと思うのですよ。

#Sashiko #SashikoStitching #JapaneseSashiko #ZenStitching #MindfulStitching #MeditativeStitching #mindfulness #Zen #刺し子 #般若心経 #禅


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