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Tools for Wasai

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Wasai : The Art of Making Kimono

For formal occassions, Japanese people usually wear kimonos. The word Kimono actually just means 'something to wear' but, these garments have become an art form and a form of fashion stretching over a long history and culture.

Yanaka sensei is a Japanese teacher at JOI online school, and she explains the tools used in Wasai, the art of kimono-making. Yanaka sensei also reads the blog in the video so that you can learn Japanese fluency better.

There is a Kanji explanation version and one without any, as well as an English translation – so you can learn Japanese vocabulary and practice your reading and listening as well.

Tools for Wasai










To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 








Tools for Wasai

From July last year I started to learn 'Wasai' or kimono-making. Today I will introduce my kimono-making tools. First, the needles and scissors. I was told by my teacher and by people around me that I should use good quality needles and scissors., so I bought new ones.The needles I am using now are Hiroshima needles. New needles are easy to use and move along smoothly. The scissors in the photo are 'Ito Kiri Hasami' (thread-clipping scissors). They are comfortable to use and cut well. I also have some 'Tachibasami' for cutting cloth. I received this 'Tachibasami', which cut very well, from my mother.

The tool above with a shape that look like scales is a needle threader. When you use this tool, you can thread the string through the needle with just one push of a button. I think the person who invented this is really wonderful. Once you start to use it, it becomes a tool that you cannot do without.

And the thing that looks like a ring is a 'Yubi Nuki' or thimble. When I am sewing the cloth, you sew by pushing the needle with the thimble. I am not good at using the 'Yubi Nuki' yet. And the thing on the far left that is shaped like a clip is a 'Ken Chou Ki' or suspension. It can also be called a 'Kake Hari'. You use it together with the thing next to it which is a 'Kuke Dai' or holder. If you fix the holder onto a desk and stretch the material with the suspension while sewing, you can sew in a clean a straight line. You use it when you are sewing long, straight lines, like in the back section of the kimono.

The white square-shaped thing is called a 'Sekken Chako' or soap chalk and then the red piece of stationery is an erasable ballpoint pen. This is for when you have to make a mark on the cloth. They both disappear simply with an iron, so they are really convenient. The tool at the bottom is a ruler for Wasai or kimono-making. When measuring in 'Wasai' we use a unit called 'Kujira Jaku'. 'Isshaku' in 'Kujira Jaku' units is 38 centimeters long. It is a little different in length to a usual 'Isshaku' which is 30 centimeters.

I've got all the tools together now, but my skill has still a way to go. I will try hard and practice more from now so that I can sew various things.

和裁(わさい) kimono-making

道具(どうぐ) tool; instrument

すいすい と smoothly

糸(いと)きりはさみ thread clip (scissors which cut a thread)

快適(かいてき) comfortable

裁(た)ちばさみ fabric shears(scissors which cut cloth)

天秤(てんびん) balance

糸通(いととお)し器(き) needle threaders (to thread a needle)

ボタン一(ひと)つで with the push of a button

発明(はつめい)する invent

手放(てばな)せない cannot do without

指(ゆび)ぬき thimble

けんちょう器(き)(かけはり) suspension (布(ぬの)をひっぱるto pull cloth)

くけ台(だい) holder (くける blind stitch)

石鹸(せっけん)チャコ soap chalk

文房具(ぶんぼうぐ) stationery

布(ぬの)にしるしをつける to make a mark in cloth

鯨尺(くじらじゃく) cloth measure (used among tailors of kimono)

腕(うで) ability; skill


Hajimemashite ! My name is Izumi YANAKA.
Through my work as a System Engineer, I have had the experience of teaming up with foreign members of a team. After seeing the difficulties the team members went through with communication and cultural differences, I got to thinking, "If only there was something I could do to help !" Which was what led me to become a Japanese teacher.

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What's the best phrase to say in this situation ? Is this grammar usage correct ?

If you have questions like these on your mind, I want to answer them all one by one. And in this way, without even realizing it, your Japanese will come to improve.

Once you are able to speak, it gets to be fun. It's not difficult, and not trying at all ! I will help you widen your Japanese speaking world. Let's enjoy learning Japanese together.

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