May 30, 2022 at 10:43PM

The biggest reason I keep sharing Sashiko Stories including visuals (photos/videos) is to pass down the Sashiko we practice to the next generation. This “Next Generation” isn’t really the younger generation – anyone who wishes to learn Sashiko more is the “generation” I am imagining. More selfishly & specifically speaking, it is my daughter who may (will) probably suffer in her identity – finding what her father lived for. It took 35 years for me to realize the significance of the Sashiko. I don’t know when she would be interested in that, maybe a lot later than me because of the different environment (I do not force her to stitch), and it may not happen at all. It is okay either way. I just would like to leave as many stories as possible.

In 2014, we “restarted” our Sashiko to mainly pay my mother’s bill. In 2017, we started teaching Sashiko simply because we are “asked” to do so. In 2019, I received unbearable suffering, and started learning the Pain from Emotional Labor. These years outside of Japan based on 30 years of my life in Japan helped me to realize the significance of Sashiko, more. Yes, Sashiko is beautiful. Yes, Sashiko can be meditative. Therefore, I show photos of our work. Therefore, I share time on Live Streaming. I just think, Sashiko may have sort of a “hint” to help “us” with Japanese cultural essence which has not been introduced fully.

We can find many Japanese words with “marketed” meaning – WabiSabi, Zen, Mottainai, Ikigai… those words cannot be defined (or described) in one paragraph. So is Sashiko. The reason for this account is “Story”. Please keep sharing the stories we share. We keep speaking up, stitching & making “Sashiko”.





懐かしい写真が出てきました。配信であーだこーだ言ってはいますが、全て「私(淳)の個人的なこと」だったりします。思いもあれば経験もあるし、知識もあれば理想もあります。ただ、間違いなく私というフィルターを通しての思いです。恵子さんはその面倒なフィルターが強くないので、刺し子が素直に出てくるのです。ジャケットを作る理由は着てほしいから。古布を使う理由は、もう一度布に表舞台に立ってほしいから。刺し子が好きか嫌いかという問いには、好きとか嫌いとかっていう次元じゃないと答える。そんな直球の母親の刺し子を、息子の私が解釈し、また言葉にして伝えるのが主な活動です。私自身も刺し子しますけどね。愚直すぎるほどの母親の持続可能性も考えなきゃいけないので、なかなかに歩みは遅いです。でも、少しずつ。

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May 29, 2022 at 08:02AM

As I share my Sashiko practice on Live (No editing to hide or exaggerate), I often receive some compliment on the speed of stitching on top of its evenness. Speed isn’t the priority as one’s stitching speed will increase when they learn the Kata – Form. I barely try to speed-up in regular stitching (exceptions are when I am doing experiments such as speed-run). No matter how fast it looks like I am stitching, it is all hand-stitching after all. Speed is important, but not the most important element in Sashiko. Then, is the Accuracy of Stitching the most important? No, it isn’t. The most important thing in Sashiko (or stitching) is how we “understand” the moment of stitching – Appreciation? Enjoyment? Relaxation, or even complaints? or remorse? Since stitching will require us to spend A LOT of time, I want to share the importance of taking time to be “yourself”. Don’t rush to be Happy. An instant answer provided by someone will be just an instant gratification. I want “You” to find the answer for yourself, one step at a moment.

No matter how strong my passions are for the “Sashiko Art”, stitching takes time. I can stitch for 24 hours non-stop, but the result isn’t so significant. Therefore, I teach the core of Sashiko – which is the Form of Unshin that we can focus on ourselves, not stitching results. The “(Possibly To-be) Sashiko Art” also requires a long time to complete. To be honest, I don’t know if it will be “completed”. I just will enjoy the process of being there – with new findings of both struggle and appreciation. Sashiko “became” a Hobby, and nothing wrong with that. However, there were people & stories before Sashiko as Hobby. I am sharing the stories & stitching of Sashiko that has not been introduced in English yet.





昨日の写真、英語圏の皆様から沢山のコメントを頂きました。ありがたいことです。「刺し子はアートなのか?」という”もやもや感”を抱えながらの刺し子なのですが、どうにでもなれという気持ちもあって楽しくできています。好き嫌いはあるだろうなと思いつつ。個人的には自由刺しの風呂敷よりも、よっぽどその前のカラフルな七宝デニムの方が好きだし胸を張れるのですが、反応が大きいのは自由刺しだったりしています。不思議&難しい。まぁ作家として認められたくて刺し子をしているわけじゃなく、好きで刺しているだけなので、そこはあまり深く考えないですけれど。答えがハッキリしていることが正義で、正解と間違いの線引きが強すぎるほど強い西洋の文化の中で、そこまでこの曖昧さが伝わるか。人生をかけた挑戦です。

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May 28, 2022 at 08:24AM

Remember the “Free-Hand Sashiko Stitching” Furoshiki (Wrapping Cloth) I introduced last month? It is a Sashiko project I started without preparing any patterns, lines and even the “outcome” of Sashiko. I let the needle run as I wished for hours and days. After taking the photo on 4/21, I received some “images” and I hesitated to add more free lines. The outcome gave many different impressions: It looked like many different things based on who, when and how they looked. The more I looked at, one image stuck to my brain for a long.

“That Image” reminded me of the significance of “Shippou Pattern”. The frame & vision is settled. Pattern is decided. Now, the “Color”. I will enjoy this piece for a while, and I hope this will be one piece to reconsider Sashiko as the “Art” – with my own definition of Art. I have done & will work on this piece in the Sashiko Live Streaming. Please come & join, or enjoy the archives, with your questions & comments there. I hope my message of “Sashiko is more than stitching” will spread via my words, our stories, and also via what we make.





「自由刺し」 なんて書くとお洒落な感じがしますが、要は「運針だけ楽しみたいので、柄も模様も何もかも気にせずにただ針を進める」という刺し子です。直線を刺しているつもりが途中で曲がったりするので、その曲がった線に寄り添いつつ、ひたすら運針のリズムだけを楽しんでました。その経過は配信等でご紹介しています。

4/21にご紹介した写真くらいまで刺した後に、ふと「あるイメージ」が浮かびました。抽象的なものなので、見る人によって全く違うものになっては来るのですが、私がその時に思っていたことも含めて、ある見方をしたらそのイメージから抜け出せなくなってしまいました。前向きに捉えて、そのイメージを確定させ、追加で針を走らせるのではなく、完成とする。そんな気持ちでいたのですが、「無」の部分と七宝のイメージが重なり、結果的に七宝を付け加えています。型は決まりました(というかできました)。イメージも着地点も使う柄も決まりました。あとは色。色は本当に難しいです。難しさは以前から知ってるつもりですし、だからこそ白糸に逃げる傾向にあるのですが、こうしてイメージが決まってくると、少しアート的な要素が入ってくるのでしょうか。悩みに悩んでます(笑)。何に見えるかも含めて、インスタグラムでの思いは完成した時にお話ししようと思います。ほら、うまくいかない可能性もあるわけで。配信では隠せずにガンガン話していますので、是非遊びにきてください!(アーカイブもございます!)。

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May 27, 2022 at 03:01PM

Which Sashiko thread is good? What type of thread should I use Sashiko? Even before that, what is the difference between Sashiko thread and others?

I receive many questions about Sashiko thread (and the thread we use for Sashiko). The answer is quite simple: Try to find the “stories” why Sashiko Thread is called “Sashiko” thread. The Sashiko thread we use has a series of stories, and therefore I keep saying “Thread Matters”. An appropriate Sashiko thread will give you the great result (You can purchase our Sashiko thread from @UpcycleStitches, shipped within/from the US).

“You can use whatever thread you want. Just find a similar thickness” is unfortunately a sign of ignorance – or “giving up on learning”. It is true that anyone can use any kinds of thread for stitching, but once they listen to the stories, “whatever thread is fine” became superficial. It is true that the Japanese people few hundreds years ago didn’t have the Sashiko thread we use today. However, it is also true that many Japanese Sashiko artisans have spent their life to develop the “Sashiko Thread” – it isn’t the marketing words, it is “Thread for the Sashiko we practice”. I plan to make more videos, but there are a few on Youtube already. Please learn before “whatever is fine”. *Because of big trend in Sashiko, many manufactures started producing “Sashiko” Thread. I am not qualified to talk about their Sashiko thread, but try to find their stories. Unfortunately, “being Japanese” itself doesn’t secure the credibility (which you can easily imagine in this world). Again, “Thread Matters” in Sashiko – and there are many stories for why.





本日の配信も楽しい時間を過ごせました。ご参加頂いた皆様、ありがとうございました。ふと、最近「刺し子糸」について語ってないなぁと。写真は今年の福袋に同封した「朱色」を目指した草木染め刺し子糸です。福袋を目指して&心の拠り所にして練習させて頂いたおかげで、今後も継続できそうだとのことでした(再現性は約束できないのですが)。最近、色について悩んでいます。刺し子に合う色はイメージで決まってしまうことが多いのですが、様々な方の冒険ではっと気がつくこともあります。皆様の好きな刺し子の色の合わせ(コンビ)は何ですか?

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May 26, 2022 at 10:13AM

(5/27)
While reading news & movement, I wonder what “Sustainability” really is. It is an extremely important concept – how to keep our lives sustainable. Taking one step further to care for the environment is indeed necessary. At the same time, we have to remember, “Sustainable” is NOT a magic word to paint over all the possible concerns. “Sustainability” is a great word to encourage us to care more, but the word “Sustainability” shouldn’t be an excuse to stop “thinking”. Furthermore, it is important to consider “who” is behind sustainability. If the Sustainability exists over someone’s (here in a specific group, cultural, racial, social-status, and so on) pain, then pushing the Sustainability can be a form of violence. In Sashiko, “Sustainability” was an outcome, not intention. Sashiko is indeed a form of stitching for sustainability, but “whatever recycled with stitching is Sashiko” is destroying the cultural perspective of Sashiko – which isn’t sustainable as Culture.

This materialistic & cultural sustainability is not a “multiple choice question”. Both can happen simultaneously. In fact, many movements behind the word Sustainability can happen & care for each other simultaneously when we take one step “paused” and see through the people & convenience (profit) behind it. The key word to make it happen simultaneously is “Acknowledgement”. It is my approach to Cultural Appropriation, as well. For more stories about this topic, please check my Youtube Channel. There are a few videos about this topic.





昨日の刺し子デニム。後ろから見るとこんな感じです。一本刺し抜けがあるのはご愛嬌でお許し下さい。金曜日の配信で直します!昔の曖昧な記憶で、デニムと曲線はあまり相性が良くないと思っていたのですが、今回の刺し子で想像の5倍くらい楽しむことができました。直径4cm小さい円なんです。でも、苦しくもなく、痛くもなく、楽しめました。少し七宝にハマるかもしれません。七宝は満遍なく布が強くなるから、伝統柄の中でもおすすめです。あと、麻の葉と違って重ねが少ないし。うん。

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May 23, 2022 at 08:18PM

One’s ordinary can be someone’s extraordinary. When you only read this “English Story”, Sashiko is something foreign to you. However, I believe, anyone can enjoy, practice, and talk about Sashiko & even call their stitching Sashiko. One condition is “to keep learning” it. One can even teach Sashiko when they state they are in a process of learning – The teaching shouldn’t be the end of someone’s learning. It should be the beginning of further encouragement.

I don’t know if you realize that I use “I” and “We” in my writing. I use both words intentionally.
“天上天下唯我独尊”. This is a phrase from Sakyamuni. “我” often means “I”. Therefore, this phrase can be interpreted as (positive) arrogance – “I alone am the world honored one”, that no one should be as respected as they is. The older I get, I have a bit different approach to this as interpreting “我” as “We (I as human)”. When we read the message as “We”, the meaning becomes, “We are all as respected as we are (no one is better or worse)”.

The Japanese use “We” instead of “I” often – as a result of collectivism in contrast to individualism. Sashiko is a practice of collectivism, and therefore, I hope the Sashiko teachers consider themselves as a part of “We” instead of “I”. Some say to me, “I know Sashiko”. Well. The phrase “I” knows Sashiko tells me that they need more learning. I am teaching “How” to do Sashiko and you can learn from Youtube videos or My Class. However, the “teaching” I would like to pass down is more than that – and learning the “Form” helps them understand the message within. I am NOT a Gate-Guard to exclude you – I am an usher who welcomes you to another part of Sashiko. Sashiko introduced in English is NOT wrong, but insufficient. In order to “talk about” the movie, watch the whole, not just a trailer.





角度を変えると物事は違って見えることが多くて、「天上天下唯我独尊」という言葉も、昔は「俺様に叶うものはいない」という無敵感が強い言葉だと思っていたのですが、この「我」という字を「俺」ではなく、「私達皆」と考えると、「私達に上も下もない」という平等の精神を歌う言葉になったりします。刺し子も似ている所があって、だから違いがあって良いんだろうと思っています。逆に知らないところで一つを絶対解にされるのが怖いんですよね。

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May 21, 2022 at 10:43AM

“You can share your knowledge without being mean.” Umm. I don’t think I am mean. I am just honest. I do not pretend to be extra nice to be liked in Sashiko – there are much more important things to do in preserving the culture. If they think Sashiko isn’t so unique & don’t care about the stories & people behind the words, I do not understand why they insist on using the word “inspired”. What are they inspired after all?

I learned that there is a word for the comment I received – “Tone Policing”. There are so many terms & concepts that I need to learn, but it is a very important process for me to reflect on how suppressed I was in Japan – when I was a part of the majority. Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion to say out loud that “Sashiko & Boro you know are not wrong but (significantly) insufficient”. If they think they know about Sashiko without being able to communicate in Japanese, they need to doubt their knowledge. The “common knowledge” of Sashiko & Boro is insufficient in English, and therefore, having them “defined” can be wrong. Sashiko is not a word for mending. Boro is not a word for patchworking. I can list many more & you can find them in the previous posts here.

I understand it is uncomfortable to be criticized. However, it is “fact” that only a part of Sashiko culture & Boro is translated into their culture. No one’s faults. The Japanese didn’t speak up in Japanese & some translated it without knowing it (hopefully it isn’t intentional). So, it is time to just “accept”. I am not being mean. I am just trying to pass down the Sashiko we practice.





雑念と空虚の中で運針をしていると、結果的に針目にその人の形が出てくるというのは運針会をご紹介する際によくお話をすることなのですが、そんな面倒なことの前に刺し子っていうのは、その人の性格が良く出るものだったりします。几帳面なのか、おっちょこちょいなのか。完璧主義なのか適当なのか。好きな柄もそれで変わってきます。丸七宝。好きな柄なのですが、どうしても後回しにしてしまう柄です。夏休みは最後まで宿題をしないタイプというか、追い詰められないと一歩が踏み出せない(笑)丁寧に一つずつできる人に憧れを抱いたりしています。

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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.





刺し子はリラクゼーションにもボケ防止にもなります。綺麗な柄を刺すのも楽しいし、芸術的な何かを表現することも可能です。要は可能性は無限。他の手芸にも言えることですが、何か境界線やルールがあるようなものではありません。では私が刺し子をする理由はと聞かれたら、「会話」です。布は思い出を纏い、また私たちはその布に触れることで思いを深めます。故立花隆先生は「本は(脳の)外部記憶装置」と表現されていて、その通りだなと思うと同時に、私は「刺し子は(感情との)ケーブル」だと感じるようになりました。針を通して何を感じられるか。そこに刺し子の本質があるんじゃないかと思っています。

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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.





「インターネットでの関係が地縁になる」。刺し子をしながら一緒に過ごした時間の中で頂いた言葉です。移動もコミュニケーションも地域から出ることが難しかった時代に培われた文化も現在では場所も手段もあまり関係なく「繋がる」ことができます。では地縁そのものがなくなるかというとそうではなく、縁は存在しコミュニティとなります。だから刺し子を一緒にする方々との時間が大切で、配信だったり運針会だったりと刺し子を通してのご縁を頂く場所を大切にしたいと思っています。「縁」という言葉は英語に訳すことが難しい日本語です。存在するけど言葉にするのが難しい。でもその縁こそが刺し子の本質だったりします。昔は無理だと思っていたことが形になっています。本当に有り難く、そして嬉しいのです。

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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).





少し思うことがあり、デニムへの刺し子を再開しました。麻の葉は「100mの麻の葉企画」で目一杯(飽きる程)なので、もう一つの楽ちんな柄の七宝で刺し子をしています。他の柄は、刺し子というよりは準備するのが面倒なんすよね(笑)。ここ数ヶ月で運針会を数回開催する中で、「楽しく刺し子をする」という刺し子配信の原点みたいなものを思い出すことができました。今のスタイルが悪いって言ってるんじゃなく、それは絶対に必要なのだけど、英語での本気感を日本語に持ち込む必要はないなぁと。というわけで、明日の配信は久々にデニムに刺し子をしながらの配信予定です。何か私ができるお話し等でリクエストがあればコメント下さい!(なぜ裏面から刺し子をするのかについては触れる予定です)。

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