Yesterday’s post on the origins of the Japanese scarf project gathered this expert comment from Wolfie, who has lived in Japan on and off for years, speaks the language, and is married to an Actual Japanese Person. He’s our go to person for all things related to that country. He says this about the Japanese scarf:
That’s not a scarf, though it can be used as one. That’s called a furoshiki, and it’s an all-purpose cloth. Typical uses include tying ends together to make a bag for shopping or carrying belongings, kind of like a bindle. They’re also used to wrap items (there’s a special way to tie it for almost any cargo, including bottles and watermelons), typically for protection when transporting them or as a sort of reusable wrapping paper when taking gift items over for visits (friend keeps the gift, you keep the furoshiki). You can use it as a ground cover to sit on, wrap your lunch box in it, and, yes, even tie it around your neck like a scarf or over your hair like a bandanna. All Japanese women (and many men) used to carry one or more furoshiki with them pretty much everywhere, and many still do, though shopping bags and purses have replaced some of their functions these days. They come in various sizes and millions of patterns- yours looks like a fairly large one. It’s a very cool piece of family history.
I didn’t think anything could make the Japanese scarf any cooler than it already is, but knowing more about its history and its place in Japanese culture, not to mention its correct name, has done so. Thank you very much, Wolfie, for your excellent comment and for permission to use it here. Note that the tag for this project has been changed to reflect the new information.