Okinawa – Japan – still room for you to come along
Meet Taira Toshiko san. A national treasure of Japan in Okinawa. She is responsible for reviving the bashofu processing and weaving in Okinawa after the war. Now 98 years old she continues to manage the processing and weaving workshop which produces bashofu. This is a rare textile indeed. Bashofu fibre is from a plantain banana like tree and produces cloth which is light and almost transparent.
Okinawa comprises 150 islands in the East China Sea. In is a prefecture of Japan and the largest island, Okinawa, is where we will visit on our Japan Textile Tour in September. Also historically known as the Ryukyu Islands it is well known today for the healthy longevity of its citizens.
Bashofu cloth is special but so are the many unique kasuri designs from the islands. Kasuri is the tying of warp yarns in preparation for dyeing then weaving patterns. You can see more about the weaving workshop below with an unexpected Australian connection.
There is a real connection to the earth when you plant, grow, process then weave cloth or cook food. I think that this is more how we are meant to live seeking harmony and fulfillment in our work and relationships. But it is very difficult for many of us, and although I don’t pretend that anything is perfect and may still have negatives it certainly feels like the right ideal. In the same village as the bashofu cloth weaving there is a cafe – Em’s Longevity food. Also called Emi no Mise or tastes of laughter. Laughter is another little promoted healthy option in life so eating and laughter has to be good.
To see more about the history and woven textile designs you can see Narablog‘s video below