Tenugui:More than Just a Hand-towel December 21 2011

Tenugui is a "handy-wipe", which Japanese carry with them for daily use. But, as you can see here, they are used in a variety of different ways; like as part of a costume for parade performers, as giftwrap for presents, as wall art, as a sash or scarf.

These pretty little textiles we're neatly tied around the heads of the dancers during the Koenji Festival parade, which I attended last month. A natural progression from paper is of course, textiles. As a collector of affordable art or folk arts, I've taken on tenugui as my new obsession. Tenugui are now for sale on

Just in these last 2 months, I've learned more details about how tenuguis are made....will explain in a future blog. Other scenes in the town of Koenji.
Devil Roof Tile of Temple in Koenji Here's a little video to enjoy, recorded in Japan. Just click on link below, taking you to our new vimeo account:

Tanabata Tales July 07 2010

Another Japanese tradition that uses paper! July 7th is when the Tanabata or the Star Festival ocurrs in Japan. This event is based on a Chinese legend, in which, Kengyuu (the star Alter) meets Orihime (the star Vega) only once a year on this day over the Milky Way. People celebrate the legend by putting up big branches of bamboo with colorful decorations in their homes or out in public places. They write a wish or prayer on a strip of paper and hang it from a green bamboo branch. Many cities, such as Sendai and Hiratsuka, also celebrate this event by rigging up huge green bamboo branches in the main streets, and then hang elaborate paper decorations from them, which causes them to bow low to the ground. See photo above. Here's a sweet, hand-printed Tanabata image on Japanese kozo paper,... of course!