Can you tell us more about what you do for work?
I’m the owner of a kimono upcycling brand. I use kimono fabric to make things like umbrellas, fans, bags, caps, and so on.
What first gave you the idea to start this business?
Us Japanese, we have a lot of beautiful old silk kimonos. Many people don’t wear them anymore, and I hate to see them waste such good quality silk, so I started thinking about recycling these kimonos and turning them into items that we can use today.
Kimonos are quite valuable because they are made from silk. If you buy new kimonos today, they won’t be as good quality as those made in the Edo period, or in the time of Meiji and Showa. Those kimonos cost more than $10,000 because of their high quality. You really cannot get such quality of kimonos in today’s world.
So this is why I started my business—to explain and share our Japanese culture with the world, and to do something good for the Earth as well.
What first sparked your interest in kimonos?
Kimonos represent Japanese culture, and when I wear a kimono, I feel like a totally different person. Everything—my posture, my behaviour—changes, and I can really feel the power of my culture.
These days, Japanese people are losing this part of our culture because we don’t wear kimonos or yukatas everyday anymore, so we don’t feel this deep connection with our culture. So I jumped into this world to learn more about kimonos, and to show people our kimono culture.
What are some other hobbies that you have?
Running, walking, and eating. I like Japanese food, and I cook it at home.
I like to cook nimono, which is a dish made by simmering ingredients in a broth. It’s a very calming Japanese dish, very family-style.
You can buy the stone pot from Takashimaya, and put all the ingredients like sweet potato or taro in it, pour some water, and add seasonings like dashi, mirin, and soy sauce. Then you can leave it to cook while you do other things.
For me, I like to make nikujaga, which is meat and potatoes. I also add shirataki when I make it.