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Give a <i>Furoshiki</i> a Go!

Jamie is an exchange student who is currently enjoying a homestay. One day, Rika-san, an acquaintance of Jamie’s host mother, Kiyomi, drops by for a visit. It seems that she has brought with her an end of year gift.

風呂敷を使ってみよう!

Rika

Thank you once again for everything you have done for me this year. I’ve managed to bring with me a bottle of the wine that you like. Although not much, please accept it as a token of my appreciation.

Kiyomi

Oh, how wonderful. Thank you very much for your kindness.

Jamie

It has been beautifully wrapped! Is that what they call a furoshiki?

Rika

Yes, that is correct. Normally speaking, it would be considered somewhat bad manners to offer a gift to another person while it was still wrapped in a furoshiki. However, on this occasion I decided to use it as a form of wrapping so that its beauty could also be enjoyed.

Kiyomi

Yes, it has been wrapped very well. The colors and the design are also very beautiful. I must say that it is the sort of thing that I have come to expect from you.

Jamie

I find it hard to believe that a bottle could be wrapped so well. It really has been done cleverly. Even a carrying handle has been fashioned from the cloth!

Rika

It is actually quite easy to do once you know how it is done. Concerning the carrying handle, after the bottle has been wrapped, it is simply a case of drawing the ends of the furoshiki together and twisting them to form a circle.

Jamie

It is rather well thought out. Worldwide, there are numerous cultures in which items are bound together using some form of cloth. Moreover, it seems that there is quite an extensive variation in Japan with regard to how furoshiki are able to be utilized.

Kiyomi

I would agree. There are also a number of ways of using a furoshiki to bundle up a square-shaped box. It is also possible to tie one in the shape of a bag that is in accordance with what you want to place inside it.

Rika

In recent years, furoshiki have appeared in a great variety of different colors and designs. Thus, I tend to choose whichever one best suits how I want to use it or which one best matches how I feel. For example, when wearing kimono, I like to use a furoshiki that has a traditional Japanese design. On the other hand, when carrying my yoga mat with me, I use a more modern and colorful one. That is what I am talking about.

Jamie

Could you perhaps show us one way in which a furoshiki can be tied?

Rika

Of course, I would be delighted to. Let’s wrap up a PET bottle for practice.

Rika proceeds to show how to make a PET bottle holder using a furoshiki.

Jamie

That seems good. Even if you were carrying a frozen PET bottle in that, you wouldn’t have to worry about moisture falling from it! Moreover, another good thing about a furoshiki is that you can fold it up nice and small once you have finished using it.

Kiyomi

Yes, the whole idea of using a furoshiki is very convenient. As such, it makes me a little sad that fewer and fewer people use them thoroughly.

Rika

Well in actual fact, these days the attitudes held towards furoshiki are changing. They can be used for wrapping, for tying together, for laying out and for covering up. In various ways, now there are people who are taking steps to incorporate furoshiki into their daily lives. And while I remember it, furoshiki can also come in very handy if a disaster should occur.

Jamie

During a disaster?

Rika

Well you know that furoshiki are made from rather durable cloth? If a disaster should occur, they can also be employed as a form of protective hood, a mask or perhaps a bandage, etc.

Jamie

I see. If that is the case, then it would be good to put one in my bag and carry it with me everywhere. Today I think I have learnt something about what is good regarding furoshiki and the many ways in which they can be used.

Kiyomi

Hearing you say that makes me very happy.

Jamie

In actual fact, some time ago in the United Kingdom there was a campaign entitled “Give Your Christmas Presents Wrapped in Furoshiki.” Its purpose was to try and reduce the amount of waste caused through wrapping. When I heard about that campaign, I was rather surprised that such an ecology culture as furoshiki came from Japan, a country that is often associated with the idea of wrapping being taken to the point of excess.

Rika

I know what you mean. If anything, I think that it is my fellow Japanese who should be leading the way in using the furoshiki idea more and more.

Jamie

For Christmas, this year I think I will take up the challenge of wrapping my presents for friends and family in furoshiki!

Kiyomi

That sounds like a good idea. Please convey the attractions of furoshiki to as many people as possible.