Tuesday there were lots of people talking about the Japanese Festival of Needles (on stitchin fingers). So I thought I’d write about my experience with Japanese embroidery when I visited Kyoto. A few blocks from where we were staying, there was a tiny embroidery shop with two small rooms (it was hard to spot, because it only had a single small sign in the window). My aunt is Japanese, so she translated for us. The shop owner is the lady in the pictures in this post, and embroidery runs in her family. Her brother is a National Living Treasure of Japan in honor of his embroidery work. We saw her in-progress work (and the work of a student there for a private lesson), and both pieces were incredibly beautiful and perfect silk work. Then she showed us a commissioned project worked in black lacquer thread. She is an incredibly friendly, kind woman and was delighted to see people taking an interest in embroidery. In fact, she gave my mother as a gift two traditional Japanese needles and a pincushion. Apparently, the big needle is used like a laying tool, to make sure your satin stitches lay smoothly. She gave us a demonstration and some tips. My mother bought the Japanese silk in the photo in this post (the shop owner says most silks in Japan are Chinese but these are genuinely Japanese). I’m afraid I have no photos from the shop, but I have a pamphlet she gave us, and the photos here are her work.