translate this blog

go back to dp home

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Yesterday I read: What we'd gain if we built things to last post over at No Impact Man. It reminded me of a story Taka once told me of an English teacher in Japan. He was a NOVA teacher from England...(if you have spent any time in Japan, you probably have heard of NOVA, a huge private English language school that collapsed a few years ago?!)

Taka was speaking to his teacher about his shoes. This teacher had only one pair of leather shoes. They were originally his father's work shoes. He was given them when he started working. He had been wearing the shoes for 8 years and his father for over 12yrs... which makes the pair of shoes 20 years old! When I first heard this story, all I thought of was...'this guy/family must have been struggling?' and felt a sense of ease when I glanced over at my rack of shoes.

Now, thinking back, I think of how amazing those shoes must be!  I love the fact that he has lovingly worn those shoes and that it was passed down from his father. The beautiful simplicity of owning one pair of shoes. It makes me question my rack of shoes... some sitting in the racks  for months, just waiting to be worn.

I think of a Japanese phrase that my grandparents use alot: 気を使う(ki wo tsukau)
It means to use something with care/ to be careful of and pay attention to. 

I like the character 気(ki) which means, your spirit/mood/ state of mind.

To use things with your spirit and conscious, present mind.


  1. I love this story Yumi... more and more the things I wear often are items that have a memory for me... I'm beginning to feel free of "fitting in" and having new things all the time. My favourite pieces are definitely ones that have been hand-made by family and friends. They have a certain quality that new pieces are missing - something I can't quite describe... a certain depth, nostalgia, meaning? Maybe others have a better word for this lovely feeling...

  2. Yumi, you are just the sweetest little thing ever. I loved reading this. You are so special! What a delightful post!
    Lots of love sweet girl and I hope you have a lovely weekend.
    Love Love
    Hello Sandwich

  3. that is such a beautiful post yumi! ki o tsukau is a beautiful concept, i love these sayings from another language that so perfectly express a profound sentiment

  4. Thank you for your lovely comments.
    It is so true, sometimes another language expresses an idea perfectly...