Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Hi dear sister ....... Have you seen those very pretty Japanese cloth wrappings that are used on gifts and bento boxes? And wish you knew how to wrap and tie them? Me too!

Last month I attended a Furoshiki workshop with sister Olivia and moichan. Furoshiki (風呂敷) literally translates to ‘bath spread’, it became popular as a cloth wrap to hold personal belongings in public bath houses during the Edo Period (1603-1868). Furoshiki’s predecessors – Tsutsumi - can be traced back as early as the Nara (710-794), Heian (794-1192) and Kamakura Shogunate (1192-1338) Periods for wrapping valuables stored in the house. Furoshiki was replaced by cheap plastic bags and paper wrappings during the Industrial Revolution in the Showa Period (1926-1989). As we step into the environmentally-conscious 21st Century of recycle and reuse, furoshiki is once again thrived as the eco-friendly (even hip) choice in wrapping objects.

Hehe, enough with the history lesson, let’s find out what furoshiki is. Basically, it is nothing more than a rectangular cloth that you fold and tie knots to make it into different shapes to hold different objects. BUT as we know it, nothing is basic in Japan! Japanese interpret every object with an aesthetic eye and elevate it to an art form, that’s why this refined culture enchants and fascinates me.

Our pretty sensei, she studied lifestyle aesthetics in France, is a sommelier and now owns a furoshiki shop

The furoshiki that Olivia and I chose are floral pattern, pink and spring-y!

First, there are 2 basic knots we need to learn. From there, you can wrap in many styles

Like this double-knotted style for a boxed gift

or a carrying bag style

How about a kawaii shopping bag?

A watermelon pouch?! This has got to be a baby melon :)

A tissue box (Hi Olivia : does this ring a bell? I tried this again, think it's just tieing both ends with a knot :)

A beautiful way to give wine

You can also find many sizes, fabrics, colors and patterns of furoshiki - according to the seasons and occasions. Some special ones have story designs like this painting :
or this one with a Kabuki theme
or with reversible face for the visual effect.

The etiquette of using furoshiki as a gift wrap is a respect to the recipient and implies a message of well wishes. Furoshiki is not considered as part of the gift itself and the recipient is usually expected to return it. I suggest leaving the furoshiki with friends who receive it the first time, I'm sure they'll be delighted. Think I will try using furoshiki for gift giving too as it is both beautiful and eco-friendly. So, are you interested to try it out? There are many instruction books and internet links out there, have fun!


jenny said...

Hi jaime

Learn a new thing again from u . Is a beautiful way of wrapping gifts using japanese cloth and eco friendly as well . Is really a good idea since everyone is saying to save the environment , save the earth and etc.

I like the double -knotted style for a boxed gift and the tissue box the most. Is that difficult to learn and how many classes u need to attend.

Did you notice in korean drama , they also used cloth to wrap their cookies , biscuit to someone who celebrate birthday and etc .

You should have a fun day learning this. Thank for sharing.

Cheers and good night


jaime said...

dear jenny,

I just attended 1 class, maybe i'll learn the fancier style later. it's actually quite easy to pick up as it's like wrapping gift. I have enclosed a link from Japanese Ministry of Environment, it has very simple pictoral instructions on the styles you like :

Please use a large rectangular cloth to practise, you'll love it :)

love ... jaime

Anonymous said...

Dear Jaime and Bae sisters:
Thanks for lovely loverly pictures. As a child, I used to do origami; now as adult we can do furoshiki, with you link.
Btw, we never had cats; we used to have two French poodles named Sesame and Sherwin, two bassey hounds name Jack and Jackie, a Japanese spitz naned Calvin and a German Labrador named Archer. These dogs brought life and laughter into the house. My children believe there should be a dog's heaven somewhere.
Sarang Hamnida,

Marce said...

Good night Jaime,
You are learning a lot,wow, thanks for sharing it with us. It is a nice way to care our earth.
I like the way to wrap the wine and double-knotted style.
Do you know what is the size of the cloth?
Have a good rest, and I hope you have a great day tomorrow.

Well I dont know if josephine has cats or not, but she talked about to care dogs and cats is like to care women and children.

jaime said...

Hi josephine,

I also remember origami, but always mix up the folds. Hehe, furoshiki is much simpler.

I also think (or wish) there is a dog heaven, these loyal friends deserved to be remembered.

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Hi Marce,

Yes, so much to learn, so little time. I read that furoshiki can be any size, but the stores are selling them in small and large sizes. Most of the bento boxes and packages can be wrapped with a small furoshiki, only large items like watermelon or 2 bottles of wine will use the large size furoshiki. I'll say 2'x2.5' is good for most gifts. Are you thinking of trying?

love ... jaime

Anonymous said...

Dear Jaime and Marce:
I think there is some misunderstanding somewhere.
I did not say that to take care of dogs and cats is like to take care of women and children.
The context is that according to proven scientific research, people who are cruel to animals are also cruel to women and children. So beware!
While persons who are caring to animals are also caring to human beings. So that is a basic and simple sign or symptom of humaneness. It makes reading of people a lot easier.
I am sorry to use your blogsite, dear Jaime, for clarification.
Sarang hamnida,

jaime said...

Thanks Josephine for the clarification. Yes, I think it is true, how someone's behaviour towards others is a reflection of what's in their hearts. Have a nice day!

love ... Jaime

Yee said...

Hee .. Lady,

I tried wrapping my gift to you and cloudnine like I saw in the dramas. I don't know you girls received the way I sent, because it's not very practical for the girls and Khin to carry in their luggages like that. At least I tried, but mine were so ugly compare to these.


Tamar1973 said...

If you want to buy some furoshiki, you can buy them at or or

LENY said...
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LENY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karen said...

hi hi jaime,

Tks for sharing the furoshiki picture with us. Everytime I see Korean n Japanese drama, I found they like to use a piece of cloth to wrap the food container & curious how they tie the knots. Now, I have learn another lesson thru your blog hehe...

Jaime, seems that u really a pink lover, i like your cloth it's so lovely n ladylike feel. I am sure it must be the same as your personality...hehehe..

Have a great day ahead.


LENY said...

Hi Jaime,

It's good to know that you attended some workshop and learn something new.

I was so innocent when i went there in Japan for the first time. I was observing, and I was asking in my thoughts that why they wrap their bento and omiyage with the scarps instead of putting it in a bag.I thought that furoshiki was a scrap.

Than time I got Furoshiki and I used it as a scarp and sometimes made it a turban.. see here the 2nd and 3rd photo..

I was so "baka" then, he he he he..

My Mycah, put her bento in the bag but my Stephannie, she's the only one here in our town that used furoshiki 3x a wk. and she's proud of it.

And oh , btw, to Josephine, I still do origami though I'm in my forever 20's now. Just last week me and my kids have fun doing a lot with different designs. It's a good bonding with your family and enjoyable.

oh, I talk so much again...

Thanks.. and love all your photos.

Love, Leny

9/10/2009 10:52 AM

flowerbossa said...

Konnichiwa Jaime,

I'm glad you had a good time at the furoshiki class!

Just some info on the "traditional" way of using the furoshiki - when one wraps a gift in a furoshiki and hands it to the recipient, you take the gift out of the furoshiki, swiftly fold the furoshiki laying it next to you, and offer the contents only.

You probably notice that Japanese stores are usually NOT eco-friendly and tend to over wrap things. (things are first wrapped in paper and then put in a paper bag.) Here too, the presenter is expected to take the gift out of the bag before giving it to the recipient.

Like you suggested, I'm sure many people would love to have the furoshiki itself,so if you feel like giving it to them, it would be nice to add "please have this too!"

These furoshikis are very pretty^^/


Anonymous said...

Hi jaime

Thanks for sharing your experience and the lovely pix. I've always been fascinated first, by the lovely designs and then how versatile these can be applied. But I've never bought them. Maybe I'll give it a try. Doesn't seem that hard, hehehe. But correct me if I'm wrong. . .


Anonymous said...

hola Jaime.
me encanta visitar tu blog porque siempre aprendo más, y el furoshiki es una técnica muy hermosa, con mucha tradición y dedicación, a mi me me gusto el de doble nudo, la bolsa para transporte como el de compras,... todos son muy bellos y mejor aun los buenos deseos.
que tengas un hermoso fin de semana.
con cariño cecy méxico.