would you like a fish torso with that

Our friend Yumi came to visit from Japan a few weeks ago, and she brought me some super yummy fabric. The fabric above features “taiyaki,” a fish-shaped cake sort of deal with red bean paste inside. I love the combo of traditional and quirky.
This one says “kamawanu” on it. The story behind the design is really interesting. Here’s an explanation (stolen from here):
“The `Kamawanu` design consists of a combination of pictograms and syllabary characters, which are pronounced as `kama,` `wa` and `nu` respectively.
The first is a picture of a sickle tool, which is called `kama` in Japanese. The second picture is of a circle or ring, which is called `wa` in Japanese, and the final picture is the character `nu` from the Japanese hiragana syllabary. The combination of these produces the sound `kamawanu,` a phrase that translates as `to not bother` or `not care.`
In essence, it is the Japanese hieroglyphic version of `never bother` or `don`t worry.”
Pretty cool, huh? Stay tuned for more Japanese pen discussion. My brother got back from Japan last week and brought me a boatload of writing utensils.

This entry was posted in sewing. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to would you like a fish torso with that

  1. Marcia says:

    Hey, I have a friend from Japan named Yumi, too! She lives across the street from me. She’s a doll. Just curious, but is that a fairly common name?
    The fabric of half fish torsos is a bit disconcerting. I like the other stuff though.

  2. sara says:

    Love the fabrics! Can’t wait to see what you do with them.

  3. damn. more fish stuff. I do so love the fish stuff. where do these people shop in Japan??
    love the kamawanu story. something I have never heard. I learn more about Japan from people not in Japan than from people in Japan. I am perpetually clueless.

  4. Susan says:

    That’s like the Jamaican “No Problem!”…it’s nice to know that some things are universal.

  5. Anjali says:

    I LOVE the taiyaki fabric! That would make really awesome noren. Or napkins or placemats. Something funny for the dinner table anyway.

  6. Peggy says:

    Re: taiyaki. Can you get those in Portland?! We once found a vendor selling them in front of a Korean grocery store in So Cal. They were like madeleines for my cousin who grew up in Korea, a favorite after-school snack, also purchased from street vendors in Korea. Sadly, that vendor in So Cal disappeared and we can’t find another.

  7. Seanna Lea says:

    I was wondering how it got to kamawanu, because I could only read the nu part. I really need to get back to practicing my Japanese, or I will start to sound (again) like all of my Japanese was learned from anime. Certainly not the case, and certainly not what I want to sound like!

  8. Jessika says:

    Re: taiyaki
    My absolute FAVORITE restaurant, No Fish! Go Fish! on SE 39th & Hawthorne next to Third Eye makes fish just like that, except sort of ‘Americanized’ (Read: filled with your choice of tomato/mozzarella, nutella, curried vegetable, or *garlic parmesan*). But the ovens they bake them in are from Korea, i think?
    You can get a bowl of delicious soup and 2 of those fish sandwiches for $6.00. http://www.nofishgofish.com
    Now you can check it out for yourself! =)

  9. splatgirl says:

    omg. that fish fabric. too cool.

  10. yuan says:

    girl, love those fish…makin’ me hungry. in LA you can get similar sweets in little tokyo. and then hit kinokuniya, what could be a better day i ask?

Comments are closed.