|Image from Google Images|
There is an old Shinto belief that inanimate objects, as well as living things, have a soul and spirit, and to simply discard a tool which has been useful and served you well, would be disrespectful. The Japanese have great respect for objects in their everyday life, and believe they should be treated with care and not lost or wasted. (Perhaps there is a good lesson here for today's modern "throw-away" generation?)
I have long been fascinated with Japanese culture. I'm sure much of that comes from the fact that as a child, I had a Japanese penpal. We wrote back and forth for about 5 years I think, and I still have every one of her letters. Shizue plastered the envelopes with beautiful commemorative stamps as I collected stamps then; you can read my previous post about that here.
Through the years, my Japanese fascination has continued; I had a Japanese roommate while teaching in British Columbia, love doing Kumihimo, have tried Sashiko, and I am always amazed by the skills of Japanese quilters and the beauty of their quilts. I have long wanted to travel to Japan, but in light of last year's earthquake and tsunami damage, I don't know if that will ever happen now...
But I do love the idea of this festival, honouring needles and other sewing tools. We would all do well to spend a few minutes today thinking about how lucky we are to have such wonderful sewing and quilting tools and equipment at our disposal. And yes - perhaps we should thank our needles for their service! What better way to honour them than to give them a wonderful home? My friend Susan over at Plays With Needles has designed a beautiful needlebook and is offering an E-course. Details were revealed today. You can read all about it and sign up for the class here. Even if you do not wish to make the needlebook, have a look at Susan's other posts about Hari-Kuyo and her needlebook here, here, and here. The eye candy alone is worth the look!! :)
"Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? " ~ Confucius