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Thursday, November 7, 2013

My life in Japan...

...continues to leave its mark on me and my extended family. I lived and worked in Yokohama for 2 years in the 1980s, and Tokyo for 6 months in 2001. Before our marriage, my husband worked in Tokyo for 2.5 years in the 1970s. He became our cultural ambassador, and the rest is history!

When my friend (now husband) returned to the States in the 1970s, he prepared an authentic Japanese meal for me. How sweet! He made 2 mistakes: he served white rice and raw egg. I didn't like white rice, and I've always disliked eggs. Thus began my education into good cuisine (how to cook rice correctly and the importance of using the right variety!) and the expansion of my cultural horizons. Now I eat quality white rice on a regular basis, love most Japanese foods and often prefer them over Western meals, enjoy cooking their foods, and even found ways in which eating an egg is acceptable (fried and chopped to little bits, sukiyaki, etc.). (Baking with eggs has never been a problem--let's hear it for cookies!) Japan continues to influence our personal lives in a number of ways: our behavior and cultural sensitivity, foods, customs, literature, drama, and the decor of our home! Our children attended bilingual Japanese/English public schools in our city. My husband and I each led cultural excursions to Japan for 25 fifth-grade students and chaperons from these schools. Our daughter lived in Japan for 9 months during her second year of high school as the guest of four different Japanese families while attending a private Japanese high school.

Now Japan influences my art and stitching. I couldn't pass this book up at a fabric store and have fantasies of making some of these luscious blocks--has anyone else used this book or a similar one? (Warning: Most of these blocks are not simple!)

Japanese motifs adorn my home. I love Asian fabrics, and the simplicity of sashiko. I haven't dabbled in sashiko yet, but I probably will someday. Hand-stitching is calming and I usually enjoy this part of the process. My mother taught me hand embroidery long ago. Several years ago I did a quilt block swap with others around the country who enjoy hand embroidery. I haven't committed these blocks to anything yet, shame on me! Their personal designs are lovely!  

Have you been influenced by another culture in your creative stitching endeavors? What have you done or are you pursuing as a result? Do you do sashiko? I'd love to see!

I would love to hear from others who enjoy Japan, Asia, and other cultures. I know that we now have access to translators on our computers. If you can't write in English, write a little about yourself and interests in your native language, tell me what language it is (if it's not Japanese or Spanish), and I'll try the translator, too. I know these programs have their limitations and get the nuances wrong sometimes, but we can try :)

May your day be full of creative expression!


  1. DANG IT! There goes one Christmas present for you! Sheesh! I was hoping you wouldn't see that one! And...bring it with you this weekend!

  2. AND...let's hear it for cookie dough! :)

  3. Interesting article! It's cool that you are practicing your writing skills.

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog. You're a good buddy!