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Japanese Tenugui towels

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Reviving Japanese traditions

There are so many old goods and past traditions in Japan that have long gone out fashion. Their uses have been replaced with modern gadgets and practices, and they are no longer practical.

But the craftsmanship of the old goods is really a Japanese cultural treasure, and many people have started to recognize the value of these customs and have started to revive these in new ways.

Someya sensei is one of the professional Japanese teachers at JOI and she lives in Yokohama city. Perhaps it is being in such a large metropolis that led to find some of the value of one of these Japanese traditions... She introduces it below in the weekly Japanese language blog. You can listen to the blog as well as read it. So you can learn Japanese online for free with this useful learning tool.

Japanese Tenugui towels


By SOMEYA Sachiko



『手ぬぐい』をご存じですか? 日本では古くから顔や体を洗ったり拭いたりするのに使われてきた木綿の平織りの布です。現在はタオルやハンカチを使うのが一般的で、日常的に使っている人はいないかもしれません。

最近私はこの『手ぬぐい』をインテリアとして集めています。 限られたサイズの中で表現される四季や伝統行事のデザインが好きで、季節ごとに壁に飾ってある『手ぬぐい』を新しくすることが私のささやかな楽しみです。 祖父が教えてくれた乾布摩擦はしていませんが...違ったかたちで、『手ぬぐい』はいつも私のそばにあります。

古き良きものを新しいかたちで活用するのは素敵なことですね。 みなさんも是非、日本にお越しの際は、『手ぬぐい』のお店に立ち寄ってみてください。きっとたくさんのお気に入り絵柄を見つけられると思います。

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



『手ぬぐい』をご存(ぞん)じですか? 日本(にほん)では古(ふる)くから顔(かお)や体(からだ)を洗(あら)ったり拭(ふ)いたりするのに使(つか)われてきた木綿(もめん)の平織(ひらお)りの布(ぬの)です。現在(げんざい)はタオルやハンカチを使(つか)うのが一般的(いっぱんてき)で、日常的(にちじょうてき)に使(つか)っている人(ひと)はいないかもしれません。

最近(さいきん)私はこの『手ぬぐい』をインテリアとして集(あつ)めています。 限(かぎ)られたサイズの中(なか)で表現(ひょうげん)される四季(しき)や伝統行事(でんとうぎょうじ)のデザインが好(す)きで、季節(きせつ)ごとに壁(かべ)に飾(かざ)ってあるて『手ぬぐい』を新(あたら)しくすることが私のささやかな楽(たの)しみです。 祖父が教(おし)えてくれたように乾布摩擦はしていませんが...違(ちが)ったかたちで、『手ぬぐい』はいつも私のそばにあります。

古(ふる)き良(よ)きものを新(あたら)しいかたちで活用(かつよう)するのは素敵(すてき)なことですね。 みなさんも是非(ぜひ)、日本(にほん)にお越(おこ)しの際(さい)は、『手ぬぐい』のお店(みせ)に立(た)ち寄(よ)ってみてください。きっとたくさんのお気(き)に入(い)り絵柄(えがら)を見(み)つけられると思(おも)います。

Japanese Tenugui towels

When I was a child, my grandfather once told me, “To avoid catching cold, rub yourself down with this”, and he handed me a Tenugui towel. And this was my first encounter with the Japanese Tenugui towel.

“Do you know what a Japanese Tenugui towel is ? It is a plain-woven, cotton cloth, that since olden times in Japan, people used to wash and dry their bodies and faces.

Nowadays, handkerchiefs and towels are commonly used, so I doubt that there are people who use these on a daily basis.Recently, I have been collecting Japanese Tenugui towels as interior goods. I like way that their designs can express the four seasons or some traditional events within such limited space, and the act of newly decorating the walls each season with some Japanese Tenugui towels is one of my little pleasures. I do not use them to rub myself down as my grandfather taught me but … in another way, I always have some Japanese Tenugui towels around me.

Its great to use old but still good things in a new way isn't it? When you visit Japan, please try to drop into a a Japanese Tenugui towel shop. I'm sure that you will find some of your own favorite designs.

出会い(であい)encounter ;meeting


日常的にon a daily basis ;on a day-to-day basis ;on a routine basis


限られた(かぎられた)limited ; narrow  


ささやかな楽しみ(たのしみ)a little enjoyment 

古き良き(ふるきよき)good old


絵柄(えがら)a pattern ; a design

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Tagged in: Japanese culture


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Guest Saturday, 25 September 2021