Tag Archives: Japan

Slow Sunday Haiku

Leaves falling

Showing front and back

Autumn’s here


It is a long time since a haiku popped into my head.

This one was inspired by this post by Mrs Gumboots.

Joining Cee’s Challenge FOTD – Autumn Leaves


Inspired by Japanese Boro

I am a member of The Stitchbook Collective

After our Stitchbooks were finished we had an opportunity to sign up for Year 2, in which we have been given supplies and video tutorials for more projects.

For one reason and another, my life has reduced the amount of crafty projects and blogging I have been doing over the last year or so. I have not been stitching as much as would have liked to.

However when this latest project arrived from Helen, all other things had to be put aside! A group project to use scraps of denim fabric and Boro-like stitching to create squares of simlar sizes, for Helen to stitch together into a wearable Kimon0 that will be raffled in aid of MIND, the mental health charity.

I love all things Japanese, and was lucky enough to go on a textile tour to Japan in 2015 We went to a museum with wonderful Boro displays and ever since I have wanted to create something looking like this, and now here was a fantastic opportunity.

I absolutely loved doing this stitching so free and relaxing.

Helen sent us the scraps of denim and some threads, but we could also include some of our own. On my trip to Japan I had been given this skein of reject weaving thread at a weaving house we visited. The thread had been dyed by the same process as in this post

I really enjoyed using some thread from Japan in this project, even though it is hard to detect, I know it is there.

I will certainly be buying a Raffle ticket when they go on sale in November.

We are all hoping that the Knitting and Stitching Show will go ahead this year and our Stichbooks and the Kimono will be on display.

Joining in with Kate and her Happy Scrappers for Scrap Happy Day.


It is the first Tuesday of the month, time to share some photographs of WINDOWS, our theme for the whole of 2019.

I have to admit it crept up on me this month, as the last few weeks have been busy with grandchildren on their summer holidays – I’m one very happy but very tired Granny!

So I have been dreaming of holidays – and thinking of windows seen on holidays in the past – this one with shutters in a little beach shop on Nevis in the Caribbean in May 2017

carribean beach shop

Love those colours together.

In contrast, this one seen on a walk to Pickering from Whistle Stop Cottage last Novembercobwebs and ivy

A trip to London and the view from a window high up in the Tate Modern, looking out over the Thames.Looking out at the Thames from the Tate Modern

and a bizarre shop window in Tokyo from November 2015

Tokyo shop window

Do you have any window photos to share this month.

All are welcome whether they are current or archive posts – sometimes it is fun to revisit blog posts from a few years ago. To join in you can put a link in the comments of this post anytime until the next month begins on the first Tuesday in October.




sweet kisses

tender nuzzling

taste of wine


There’s a Happy Christmas right there!


Photo Challenge: WRAP

Haiku Challenge: KISS and TASTE

‘Phaiku’: combining the two challenges

The Japanese turn wrapping into an art form. They use a Furoshiki, or wrapping cloth. Here’s how to wrap two wine bottles in a way where they are protected from clanking together and include a carrying handle.

Use a piece of cloth 90cm square – a large scarf or small table cloth and place the bottles diagonally with their bases a fist width apart.


Then fold the bottom left corner over the bottles and roll to the opposite corner keeping as tight as possible. Making sure that the last corner is underneath the bottles

dsc_0120 dsc_0121

Then take hold of each bottle by the neck and fold upwards so that they are standingdsc_0122Tie the top with one right over left move.

Leave a gap and tie a reef knot: right over left, left over right – tighten securely.

Et Voilà! or perhaps in Japanese: ここで (Koko de)

(The translation is according to Google Translate, so goodness knows if it is right!)

The fabric I have used is an African wax printdsc_0117

I’m a bit in love with the bold design and vibrant colours of African prints at the moment. These leaf designs are sure to turn up in some pages of doodles soon.

Happy Wrapping!

Next week’s Photo Prompt is


Looking forward to seeing your WRAP photo – please leave a link in the comments.

Photo Round-Up: Autumn


Photos from my trip to Japan last November we were there just as the trees were beginning to change colour


Jane at Rainbow Junkie ………………………………. montage

Cathy at Nanacathy …………………………………… twitter

💜 Me at Wild Daffodil ………………………………….. turquoise

Melissa at The Aran Artisan ……………………….. wreath

Denis at Haiku Hound ………………………………    leaf

Christina A Look at the Little Things …………..    crackle

Dorris at Dig With Dorris ………………………….  light

Debbie at Curiosity Takes Me ……………………… Canada

Ellie at Wicked Rural Homestead …………………New England


The  💜 denotes a post that is also joining in with Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge – it’s fun to combine the two.

Have I missed anyone? Please let me know if I have.

Thank you everyone for your gorgeous autumnal entries.

Four fab photo fiends created the 52 Week Photo Challenge, we are:

Next prompt


Update: Marsha at Just Write has kindly included our Photo Challenge in a list she has of all the Photo Challenges she has found in blogland so pop over to her page if you want to link your posts to other challenges.



Three roofs at a temple in Japan.

Photo Challenge Entry in Our Weekly Challenge

Please leave a link to your ROOF photo in the comments

Next week’s Prompt


Photo Challenge Round-up: Street


Tokyo’s Carnaby Street


Jane at Rainbow Junkie……. …………… ……Winchester

Cathy at Nanacathy…….. ……. ……….. …….pretty

💜 me at Wild Daffodil……… ……… ……….Japan

💜 Jen at Let the Sewing Begin………………mindfulness

💜 Denis at Haiku Hound…….. ……….. ……Charlie

Christina A Look at the Little Things ……. …play

Dorris at Dig With Dorris …………………….flowers

The 💜 denotes a post that is also joining in with Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge – it’s fun to combine the two.

Please let me know if I have missed anyone

Thank you everyone for your STREETwise entries.

Four fab photo fiends created the 52 Week Photo Challenge, we are:

Next prompt is


Street – Japan 3:5


Last November I went on a Textile Tour of Japan with Arena Travel and fell in love with the country, its people and culture. I started to share my trip with you all and then my computer crashed, for good. It took a while for me to get back to normal.  Life bowls along and somehow Japan got left behind, so here we are again with a post full of wonderful memories. (I have put links to previous posts about Japan at the end).

This photo (taken from the coach) is entered in this week’s  Photo Challenge.

The prompt is ‘STREET‘; the Japanese for street is ‘Dori’ as seen on the signpost.

Ronovan’s haiku prompts this week are: CHANGE and MIND


do you mind if we 

change direction and go South

to catch the sunshine


In previous posts about the trip I described the tie-dying workshop and wandering around the town of Arimatsu whilst our pieces were drying. We were all (there were 13 of us on the trip) delighted with them when we returned to pick them up

DSC_0181 (1)

and had an opportunity to see fabric being prepared for dying in the tiny shop.DSC_0122

Then we set off to visit to a Shibori museum, where more intricate work was being demonstrated DSC_0136

and was on display




With plenty of opportunities to shop.

Not that I did, but it was fun to look.

Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

I hope to post more about Japan soon – I have so enjoyed looking through the photos again. Hope you enjoyed the visit.

Here are links to previous posts about my trip to Japan.

Day Three: 4     Narumi

Day Three: 3     Arimatsu

Day Three: 2     tie dye

Day Three: 1     to Nagoya

Day Two: 9        streets around the temple

Day Two: 8       Asakusa Kannon Temple

Day Two: 7       Boro

Day Two: 6       doors and windows

Day Two: 5       a hare in high heels

Day Two: 4       craft centre

Day Two:3              shopping

Japan Day Two: 2 child ceremonies

Japan Day Two:1  bonsai

First Evening in Japan

Photo Challenge Round-Up:Round



Joining in for a round of photo challenge magic are:

Jane at Rainbow Junkie……. …………… ……reflective

Cathy at Nanacathy…….. ……. ……….. …….spin

💜 me at Wild Daffodil……… ……… ………. . floral

💜 Denis at Haiku Hound…….. ……….. ……orbital

Christina A Look at the Little Things ……. …meow

Dorris at Dig With Dorris ………………….in the garden


The 💜 denotes a post that is also joining in with Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge – it’s fun to combine the two.

Please let me know if I have missed anyone

Thank you everyone for your well-rounded entries.

Four fab photo fiends created the 52 Week Photo Challenge, we are:

Next up


Join in any time and leave a link to your post in the comments



beauty created

under pressure and time

by earth and by man


skills honed from a lifetime’s work

more precious than diamonds and pearls


Ronovan set us the prompt words of DIAMONDS and PEARLS this week for his haiku challenge.

To marry this challenge with our Photo Prompt of WORK  was a huge challenge and has taken me a while to get there. Go to Cathy’s Post to see more entries and leave a link to your ‘WORK’ photo.

I found it difficult to convey what I wanted to in the 5/7/5 haiku, a few more syllables were needed and so I have written a tanka this week. It does not perfectly fit the ‘rules’ but …

The sentiment is that beauty created by human endeavour and skill is more precious to me than diamonds.

The photo was taken in Mr. Hiroshi Murase’s shop in Arimatsu where we did our tie-dying workshop on my trip to Japan last November. They are preparing the cloth for dying by tying it in intricate patterns.


Miss E (8) saw me struggling with this challenge and wanted to write a poem using Ron’s prompt words – she wrote:

diamonds and pearls

diamonds and pearls

how lovely they can be


diamonds and pearls

diamonds and pearls

they form in the sea


diamonds and pearls

diamonds and pearls

they form under the ground


diamonds and pearls

diamonds and pearls

all waiting to be found


this is my poem I hope you like it



Next Week’s Photo Prompt is



Japan 3:4 Narumi, patterns everywhere





No idea what this sign says but by now my eye was tuned into shapes and design and everything looked interesting and inspirational for design



It was on Day 3 that I really began to notice the drain covers

d1 d3

I was falling in love with Japan .. and every detail

seemed to have a beauty, to be interesting…

crazy patchwork came to mind……


layouts for abstract design in collage or paintingDSC_0197

even the air conditioning vents were….

DSC_0176 DSC_0177 f1

fascinating …….. all great for doodles, and textile designs ………..

Mad tourist!

I know I’m not alone in taking pictures of the strangest things, but maybe I was going it bit far with these!

Have you taken any strange photos recently?

You can see links to my other posts about my Textile Tour of Japan in this post.



down, across and up

life follows an unknown path

tread lightly with joy


Joining week 15 of our Photo Challenge, click on the link to see all the upcoming prompts …..

…..a few of us like to combine this challenge with Ronovan’s weekly Haiku Challenge

Ron’s prompts this week are LIFE and PATH which is perfect for the photo I have chosen this week as paths in Japanese gardens are often designed as a metaphor for life.

Next week’s Photo Subject is REFLECTION

Japan 3:3 Arimatsu

Continuing with the Textile Tour…..

Whilst our tie dye was drying we had time to wander around the very quiet streets in the bright sunshine

Click on any photo to see a larger version.

I was particularly intrigued by the Rain Chains used instead of drainpipes, which were not pipes at all, but delicate water sculptures of metal tulip shapes. And what about this little chap guarding the house…. a pug with horns.n9c

Japan Day 3:2 Arimatsu Tie Dying

….and so to Arimatsu and Mr. Hiroshi Murase’s Tie Dying workshop.

Sitting at our desks Mr Murase gave us a little talk about the history of Shibori, with Yuka translating for us. Shibori is a type of tie-dying that this area of Japan is particularly famous for.



Our little kits were laid out for us and we were shown how to fold the strip of cotton fabric


making a triangular concertinaa4

before placing it between the two boards.


Mr. Murase checked each one to see it was accurately folded


before we added the elastic bands.


Then we walked a few doors down the street to his shop …

where the dye baths were set up in the doorway.


We were given a demonstration of how to dip the corners or edges of our triangle into the dye baths to create different patterns.


Blue on the left, red on the right.


There was a chart to show the different patterns possible.

We then rinsed the fabric twice in buckets of water before hanging the cotton out to dry.DSC_0125

Whilst they were drying we had a chance to wander round the village……….

Japan Day 3: 1 To Nagoya

Day Three in Japan started a little too early for my liking after the wonderfully full Day Two. We had to have our bags packed and in the hotel foyer ready for collection by 8am. Luckily I have never suffered from jet lag, but I was tired from the journey followed swiftly by a full day so an early start was not what I would have chosen.

Thankfully we had Yuka, our guide, to sort out our tickets and get us to the right place at the right time.

So good that she always wore her distinctive yellow hat so that we could spot her in the crowds. We were all quite noticeable in the sea of black suits and black hair …

66 DSCF7229

The Japanese seem to walk fast, silently and with purpose.67

Once we had our tickets we knew exactly where we were to stand on the platform to be near our designated seats as the Bullet Train swooped in.68 – Version 2

All was comfortable and pristine, with seats that turn round to face the ones behind if you wanted to, there was absolutely no space for big suitcases, which is why ours needed to be collected and taken to our destination by truck.

Time for some crochet ….


…. until we caught a glimpse of Mount Fuji from the window, with just a tiny bit of snow left on its north sideDSCF7239 69

and only a wisp of cloud on the other side70 71 72

After an extremely smooth and comfortable 2 hours we stopped and transferred to a coach which took us to a Shopping Mall where we could get some lunch. Most of our group grabbed a quick sandwich in the supermarket and then headed straight for the top floor to buy fabric, a couple went to the restaurant, I went on an a wander to explore and found the children’s play area………72 (1)

with a mixture of horror and fascination I was aghast ….73

right next to the bouncy castle and the soft play area were ALL THESE


electronic games and slot machines75

just masses of them76

with a ridiculous quantity of temptingly coloured plastic nonsense for the children to try to ‘win’77

It was midday during the week and the place was very quiet but I could imagine that after school and in the holidays this area would be packed with children pouring money into these machines. Is this a vision of the future for our kids in the UK? Are there places like this in shopping malls in other countries?


I needed an antidote and went outside to sit in the sunshine and eat my lunch in a little seating area next to the car park surrounded by metal railings with panels which seemed to depict a story.
78 DSCF7249

Sunshine, a delicious take away sushi lunch and a few rows of crochet and my batteries were nicely recharged. Then into the coach for about 45 minutes to get to our first workshop in dyeing fabric ……

The Textile Tour of Japan continues

At last I can get back to sharing my trip to Japan with you. When my old laptop died I could not access my photos, but now I am really enjoying looking through them again. A list of the previous posts are at the bottom of this post.

I went to Japan in November last year on an Arena Travel tour with Janice Gunner and 10 other wonderful women quilters, and one husband. P had come along with J, his wife, to see Japan, not intending to join in with the dyeing and sewing workshops, but he did join in and loved it.

In the last post I wrote about Japan we were at the Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo,d1 on a special national holiday and the place was packed with people.

Wandering around the streets nearby there was a festival atmosphere, with fabulously garish food stallsd16

selling sweet potato chipsd18and rib sticking bananas coated in a sugary icing

d17I have been told by Golden Diamond that the Japanese generally have a horror of sugar and don’t eat much fruit as a result, but maybe this is put to one side on special holidays.

I went in search of a calmer place and walked towards a garden close to the Temple, where I came across a group of teenage girls all dressed beautifully in kimonos.d14

Sadly I only had my little camera with me so the photos are not great. I offered to take a photo of them all together with their cameras, they were delighted and this took quite a time. They were all so happy and giggly and when I asked if they were going to a special ceremony, they all laughed a lot and told me that they had gone to a kimono salon where they could hire the kimonos for the day, and have their hair and make-up done, just to go out and about and have photographs taken. Lots of people stopped to take photos of the group and there was a wonderfully friendly party atmosphere.

I was disappointed later when I realised I had not taken a better photo of them with my own camera.

Then a family came onto the bridge d10

and I offered the same to them


remembering to get one with my camera too this time

Mum stood back whilst masses of photos were taken by passers by


I wonder what it feels like to be a star for a day when you are 3 and then again at 7 years old.


All over the city there were kimono clad young women being photographed


After a packed day, it was time to pack our bags and prepare to leave early the following morning to go to JR Shinagawa Station to catch the Bullet Train to Nagoya ……

Previous posts:

First Evening in Japan

Japan Day Two: 1

Japan Day Two: 2

Japan Day Two: 3 Shopping

Japan Day Two: 4 Craft Centre

Japan Day Two: 5 Crazy Cats and a Hare in High Heels

Japan Day Two: 6 Doors and Windows

Japan Day Two: 7 Boro

Japan Day Two: 8 Temple


Shikoku Pilgrimage: Imabari

Reblogging from a wonderful blog I started following before I went to Japan.

My list of things I want to do if when I return to Japan is growing!

Source: Shikoku Pilgrimage: Imabari

Japan D2.8: Temple

My trip to Japan continues ……..

After our visit to the Amuse Museum we went on to the Asakusa Kannon Temple in the city, it was heaving!d2

So many people on their public holiday visit the templesd4

to prayd3

and to see some of the statues that are only on show on these special days.


It was too much of a crush for me so I went back outside to explore the surrounds.

People burn incense and waft the smoke over themselves as a cleansing ritual before going to the temple. How I love that smell!


Others buy fortune telling cards. You pick up a metal holder with holes at one end and shake it until a rod with a number falls out. This number corresponds o to one of the drawers above – open the drawer and take out a card….

apparently there can be bad news as well as good on those cards.


I can’t help thinking that all this seems a vast distance from the simple teachings of the Buddha – what would all those prophets in all the different philosophies and religions make of how things have evolved I wonder?

Japan D2.7: Boro

Here is the next instalment about my trip to Japan in November, it’s so cool having you along with me as I retrace my steps ……


I first came across Boro on Pinterest a few months before I left for Japan, and became quite fascinated by it. The Amuse Museum in Tokyo has a very good exhibition of Boro itemsB2

Old work clothes patched and repatched, darned and redarned do carry a beauty and a story. B5


The hardship of the poorest of the past seems to have been romanticised and the more I found out about it the more uncomfortable I became. These pieces of cloth and clothing now change hands for thousands of pounds in stylish galleries around the world. They seem to  have become yet another expression of modern acquisitiveness, and exploitation. Click the link to this article on the website Design Sleuth to see how interior design stylists have been fuelling this fairly recent craze.

There is undoubtedly a beauty to these pieces, but when people are prepared to spend extraordinary amounts of money to own old rags, it has a touch of the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ about it for me.

We now live in an era where there is a drive to constantly buy new things to be IN FASHION. Electrical goods have ‘inbuilt obsolescence’ and we are given the impression that the only way for our economy to survive is to get more people spending more in the shops, buying more and more things. This is a path of self-destruct for our species, so if patching and preserving comes back into fashion, I’m all for it, however I fear the Boro-craze has nothing to do with that! I do hope we humans WAKE UP before it is too late.

As a farmer myself I used to patch and mend and darn work clothes and kids clothes and still patch my own clothes. I grew up in an era when we did not waste things, we valued, preserved and upcycled as a matter of course. I like the idea of ‘mottainai’53

which in this context, I was told, means : ‘too good to waste’.

I’m looking at darning and patching my clothes in a more decorative way – I guess this ‘look’ might be called Boho (Boho is the new Hippy).

The thought of patching and darning some old clothes and pieces of cloth of mine into a piece of textile art full of history, story and memory, also appeals. Boro to me is an inspiration to use up old bits of textiles that I can not bear to throw away and create something intriguing, with it – ideas are bubbling ….

…. I will let you know when they come to the boil!

Whist searching for inspiration and via the wonder that is Pinterest (I’m more than a bit addicted to Pinterest – yo might have noticed!), I have just come across a Japanese modern textile artist Junko Oki. I would like to have seen more modern textile artists like this whilst in Japan – next time!

Would you like to see my Boro-esque Pinterest page? just click on the link to visit. I will be collecting pictures there as a reference for a future textile piece inspired by Boro


PS. the painting arrived yesterday – EEEEEEEEK! So exciting to hold the Panda in Platforms and Hare in High Heels in my hand, I nearly kissed the postman! – uh oh! My own acquisitiveness shining through here! The irony is not lost on me – that it should arrive whilst I was putting this post together! Ha!

I will take pictures of the painting and share them with you when the weather cheers up and the light improves – I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

JP2.6: Doors and Windows


Joining in with Cee’s ‘Doors and Windows’

Tokyo, Japan.

The photo isn’t great in quality as it was taken with my little Fuji pocket camera as we were scudding past on the way to a craft shop.

See our group below, marching ahead following our guide’s distinctive yellow hat, making her easy to see amongst the crowds


A little shop window spotted along the way, with a typically sweet window display……J2a

and a street scene in another part of Tokyo, showing the narrow side street and the tangly telegraph wires that abound, all kept above ground because of their frequent earthquakes.DSCF7206