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. 


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko


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