June 19, 2024 at 06:12PM

I have 2 Workshop Opportunities planned for this summer. One with @textilecentermn next weekend & Another with @loopoftheloom on August 3rd and 4th (Saturday & Sunday). The one in MN is sold out at this point. However, I will be available to greet & show some samples from 12pm to 1 pm on Friday & Saturday (July 28th and 29th), while the participants are taking Lunch Break. This is my first time visiting the Midwest as a Sashiko Artisan – I am looking forward to it!

The workshop in Brooklyn Dumbo is either [Core & Essence (C/E)] 1-Day Class or 2 Days weekend Class. I believe there are several spots left. Please be advised that the 2nd day [Application & Practice (A/P)] has a prerequisite of [C/E].

Some people misunderstand that [A/P] is an advanced version of my workshop. It isn’t really so. A good analogy would be: [C/E] is an experience to learn how to ride a bicycle which you haven’t tried before. [A/P] is me taking them to the Bike Park to enjoy more attractions. Without [C/E], the fun part of [A/P] may be lost completely – so no matter how many years of experience they have, I ask them to take [C/E]. [C/E] is available as my Online Sashiko Class, which I will personally meet you on Zoom to check your learning. So if you want to take [A/P], but not available for [C/E], please consider Online Class (which I have many positive reviews of). Please note that Domestika Course isn’t equivalent to [C/E].

Thursday is Sashiko Streaming Day! I am happy to elaborate what I teach in my Classes. I will keep sharing the stories based on what I share here while showing no-edit & no-hiding stitching of me. Hope to see you there tomorrow.



#Sashiko #刺し子


June 15, 2024 at 10:26AM

Well. Such a Joyful 1st half of June. Although I would add more stitching & fabric, and then clean out the basting threads, to call it “completed”, I would need to reorganize my priority for the 2nd half of June. I mean I gotta do something for Income as I am self-employed after all.

I wouldn’t consider these Sashiko (yet), but it is fine if you do so. In fact, these types of “patchworking” are now considered Sashiko in English. All I ask is the acknowledgement that there are some Japanese Artisans who consider this non-Sashiko practice, and there are stories behind their saying.

Putting Cultural Perspective aside, I enjoy this type of Mending. For now, I gotta stop doing so for other works I do for actual “economic sustainability”, and material reasons that Denims I received as donations are all stitched. Then, one asked if I were to do so as a commission saying it would clear 2 reasons I gotta stop doing so: more plain denim to stitch with economic sustainability.

I can, of course, consider a Commission Work – but I want to do this to someone I care/like. Money is important, but I wouldn’t do so for someone who just asks “How much?”. If I were to offer, would you wear these types of Denim? Would you even pay for it? (Please be reminded that my first hope is for you to learn the Sashiko we practice by taking my class, and do it by yourself for yourself).




#Sashiko #刺し子


June 14, 2024 at 10:36AM

I was rewatching last night’s Sashiko Live, and I realized I made some misleading statements while answering the reply. Here is a clarification. I do NOT consider all teaching Sashiko in English to be “nefarious (which is the new word to me)”. In fact, I have been encouraging many English speakers to teach Sashiko if they wish. To share the further clarification, please remember the “2 types of teaching” I often specify.

One type of teaching is like “being a navigator”, like a school teacher who is knowledgeable about many things & who introduces opportunities to students. When one teaches Sashiko in this style, my intention here is to encourage & support. Therefore, I share so much content. The Second type of teaching is “being an expert”, like a professor in College with publications. This teaching comes with great responsibility. They need specific skills to pursue the topic. If a math prof says he cannot do Calculus, then no one will consider them as a teacher.

The “teaching” I find problematic is, of course, the 2nd one. The difference? The Navigator will introduce “other resources” to learn more as they specify themselves that they are only teaching a part of it. The Expert will say that what they teach is “The Answer”, and more marketing suitability, “This Teaching is all you need to learn”.

There are quite many “innocent (unknown)” who do not categorize themselves as either (1) Navigator or (2) Expert. They “can” be the issue as they will follow the answer innocently, whether it is true or not. My voice is for them in-between. It is okay to teach Sashiko in English – but specify what is their “role” in this. When they false-advertise their teaching to increase their profit, then it is a big problem… isn’t it?

You may consider me (2), yet my approach is still (1) as I don’t consider myself as “the expert”, yet someone who just learned Sashiko last year became the expert teaching “One Stop for All”. Sashiko is more than just technique & cannot be summarized to “One Stop”.


#Sashiko #刺し子


June 12, 2024 at 07:43PM

I am glad that the previous analogy of Tourism (being a Guest) clarifies my message well. Being a Guest doesn’t question one’s ability. It is just a “status” of one’s commitment. I really want you to enjoy Sashiko – and the most delicious part of Sashiko is missing now in English.

You may wonder, though. Are there really “Visitors (Guests)” who pretend they are “Local (Hosts)”? Is it that easy to maneuver someone to one specific direction? Unfortunately, in this context, anyone with English proficiency can do so. That’s how I define English as Power, or even Privilege.

In Sashiko (and many other Local & small categories of crafting), there are NOT many Experienced Artisans or Experts who are proficient in English. There are many Japanese who are proficient in English, yet the Sashiko Artisan who learn English after them being experienced in Sashiko is extremely rare. As a result, among many “Locals” who may guide Visitors well, there are no actual guides who can speak the local language enough to fully communicate the culture. For that, I may be the first one doing so in Sashiko (although I do not think I am qualified to be a guide), and therefore I feel somewhat responsible for addressing the issues. I feel quite alone in Sashiko & English, but I know I am NOT alone in the similar issues.

Once again, if you consider yourself a guest in Sashiko, Enjoy! Free your creativity, and all I ask is the acknowledgement of the Local. I am sure not everyone is happy with this analogy. I will be available for discussions on Live. There is nothing I need to hide unlike other “Pretending Guides” blocking this account. Everyone is welcome to the Live – all I want is to address the issues & protect “our Local” from Shady who takes advantage of the language imbalance.


#Sashiko #刺し子


June 11, 2024 at 08:32PM

As much as I share my concerns about “Sashiko introduced in English”, I Never say (and feel) it is painful to see people enjoying Sashiko. I really do want them, and of course you, to enjoy it. What is the difference between those whom I encourage to enjoy Sashiko & whom I identify as issues? An analogy of “Tourism” may explain it better.

I consider anyone joining Sashiko recently as a “guest” of this practice. No need to be fluent in Japanese. No pressure to understand Japanese culture. The goal is for them to have a good time with Sashiko. One day, if they decide to “be localized”, then they would be able to speak basic Japanese as it is required along with experience of “Living” there. So, everyone is a “guest” first – then, some serious commitment is required to be “a part of” it.

Now, in Sashiko (and many other cultural practices), many people become experts without spending a good amount of time. Extreme analogy, it is like me visiting “your country” for a week, and at the end of the week I start saying that I am a professional tour guide to those who come from Japan. This “instant” tour guide can “guide” other guests & change their understanding of your country.

I believe the importance of drawing a clear line between “guest (visitor)” and “host (local)”. There are so many visitors defining what Sashiko is based on what other visitors have a biased opinion. In this analogy, wouldn’t you find the line between “Fun” and “Issue”?




#Sashiko #刺し子


June 09, 2024 at 08:14PM

I enjoyed this project. It is one stop of “completion”, but another starting station of bringing it to our ordinary (using & mending). Would I keep doing the same on the other leg of this denim? Or… one leg is just enough?

I wouldn’t consider this Sashiko. At the same time, it is okay to see someone defining this project Sashiko when they acknowledge the Stories why I do not consider this Sashiko or Boro. It “can” be Sashiko or Boro, but at this point, it is just a fun project without names.

In 2024, I see a kind of “maturity” of Sashiko’s Popularity. Unfortunately, Sashiko introduced in English is simplified too much, and missing the most important part of its practice, yet too romanticized ignoring the culture (people & stories) behind. I offer a Live Streaming where I talk about Sashiko while stitching – please listen to what I need to say. Otherwise, something very important in Sashiko will be completely lost – as some non-Japanese Sashiko “masters” are intentionally erasing the cultural elements. Your willingness to acknowledge Sashiko is the only way to preserve (or even “revive”) Sashiko in English.




#Sashiko #刺し子 #SashikoDenim


June 05, 2024 at 05:35PM

You may like this project I just started more than our usual Sashiko. Probably surprising to some of you, who recently encountered Sashiko, I wouldn’t consider this Sashiko much. I don’t mind someone calling this type of denim “Sashiko” when they try to acknowledge Stories behind Sashiko… but, I wouldn’t call it. It isn’t definitely Sashiko that I grew up with. What would I call this then? Umm… do we need a name for every single practice we do?

The denim itself doesn’t need mending. In this denim, the focus is on the fabric scraps. It is a beautiful way to appreciate the beautiful fabrics, and I enjoy the stitching very much. Some may call it Boro. Others may think it is Sashiko. Their sayings aren’t wrong, but missing the voice of actual Artisans who have been stitching. The byproduct of “being in trend”, and we gotta be careful with “who” is leading the trend. As for Sashiko, Japanese Sashiko Artisans who actually stitch aren’t the ones who is creating the trend.

When you want to learn the true figure of Sashiko, the Live Streaming I offer on Thursday night (8 pm EST) is a good place to ask questions. Sashiko introduced in English (mainly by non-Japanese) isn’t wrong, but very much simplified & romanticized. I am willing to spend all of my life to share the “buried aspect (intentionally ignored side)” of Sashiko.




#Sashiko #刺し子


June 04, 2024 at 04:09PM

Sashiko was born out of choices. Some of course enjoyed Sashiko, and the others had to do Sashiko regardless. It is disrespectful to rewrite Sashiko based on the value we have, as the one who lives today with so many choices that they wished to have. Unfortunately, the Sashiko introduced in English is focusing on “how it looks” too much and ignoring the Story. As some ignorance may come from “Not-Knowing”, I am here to share the story. As other ignorance seems to be intentional based on their profit & convenience, I am here to speak up.

I was born in Japan as a Japanese person – so my life has been full of “Choices”. To experience how they would feel out of choices in stitching, I decided to stop purchasing new clothes in 2016. Ever since, I stitch (mainly first to strengthen the fabric), and then keep mending. The fabric can last long. It won’t last long for a lifetime, or even generations, but my issue is staying fit rather than having tattered clothes. That is the wisdom we appreciate now. How it looks is important as an artistic & creative activity. I enjoy it, too. However, please keep learning & listening to the stories to respect the original practice (upstream).

Well… you, who are here reading this, are those already listening & keep learning. I appreciate your interest & willingness. My challenge is to deliver the message to those who do not want to listen to it (because it may change their comfortness more than they wish). So, I will keep repeating the same words so that it may be delivered to them at some point. Sashiko is NOT a word for mending like this. These before & after photos aren’t the core of our Sashiko (although I enjoy it). Please do not twist the fact.




#Sashiko #刺し子 #Mending #SashikoDenim


June 02, 2024 at 10:57PM

Mending Sunday. (Stitching) Speed isn’t really the priority for me. However, it is nice that it would take only 3~4 hours to enjoy minor mending for tomorrow’s denim. There are so many approaches to Mending & Sashiko… among those, with learning the “Form”, when I accept the possibility of a lousy result, I skip the process of basting. (Please do NOT skip basting. It is extremely important. If you skip, do it at your own risk, please).

As the word “Visible Mending” became a trend, I can see many celebrating the mending & showing how they mend it. It is a great trend to appreciate the fabric, but the whole purpose of mending exists in “Keep Using It”. The Japanese originally practiced Sashiko to make fabric stronger so that they can delay future mending. When they needed mending, what they thought of was how they could use it longer & how they can add/repeat mending when it is required again. Once we mend, it is the beginning of a never ending story of stitching. Therefore, I say, Sashiko is a way to add stories to your favorite items – which you would keep using.

I wouldn’t need this mending if my legs were a bit longer… I guess mending is more realistic than making my legs longer… so I will enjoy the future mending when it comes to the point again.



#Sashiko #刺し子


June 01, 2024 at 09:28AM

In order to understand how Japanese practice develop over time, it is important to be familiar with the concept of [Shu-Ha-Ri (守破離)]. This philosophy exists as the foundation of unique and creative development. “Creativity” for Japanese is NOT doing “Whatever”. “Doing something Traditional” isn’t just focusing on old things. It requires us to do something new (creative), yet it requires us to appreciate what others have done to bring it to us. Creativity in many Japanese “道 (Dou)” contain the idea of Shu-Ha-Ri.

Shu (守) can mean “protect”. In this contect, it indicates the importance of following the teacher’s “form”. Instead of one’s self, Shu teaches the importance of learning from old. Spending 10 years in a Sushi Restaurant without receiving any teaching is one of the processes of “Shu”. Ha (破) can mean “Break”. On top of what one learns, they can break the existing “Form” that they mastered. Ri (離) can mean “Leave” – in this case, it indicate the new departure as a new “Form” from the old form they learned from. In the life-long process of ShuHaRi, we have developed such rich cultures.

Unfortunately, in Today’s Sashiko, introduced in English, this philosophy is ignored. It is because non-Japanese who do not understand Shu-Ha-Ri focused on their profit & convenience, and “used” Sashiko practice to get what they want. There are so many Japanese who are still in the process of “Shu” – and therefore their voices are not as loud…

Please try to follow what I teach with the materials we use. It will change a lot of superficial Sashiko experience. It isn’t my words – I have received so many reviews on that. Once many choose the materials & teaching we offer, then they will be more easily accessible… You are the part of the future of Sashiko.

[守破離] について再度英語で書いてみました。日本の芸事が、世界の常識からみたら相当独特な発展をしてきたのは、この守破離の思想が基にあると思っていて、刺し子においてもある程度の守破離は必要なんだろうと思っています。一生を費やす職人の世界ではなく、家庭内に存在した針仕事ではありますが、守り、破り(疑問を呈し)、離れる(己の形を作る)のは、日本的な発展です。ちなみに、元々は千利休の言葉からの引用のようです。その締めくくりには「規矩作法 :守り尽くして破るとも離るるとても本を忘るな」とあるように、離れたとしても本質は失うな…という当たり前の話でもあるのです。その当たり前が蔑ろにされているから、英語圏での刺し子には苦言を呈したいんだろうと思うのです。

#Sashiko #刺し子