Have you heard of Golden Week in Japan? It is a series of national holidays each year which fall in the same week, giving many people almost a full week off work. During this time there are lots of fun events to visit such as festivals and historical parades, flower viewings of wisteria and azalea, and fantastic displays of koi carp streamers.
Koi carp streamers (koi nobori) can be seen all over Japan flying from homes, public buildings, everywhere! They symbolise a wish for boys to grow up big and strong like the legendary carp which swims up the waterfall to become a dragon. Some attractions such as Tokyo Skytree even have special koi nobori festivals where thousands of streamers are displayed. 5th May is Children's Day (sometimes called Boys' Day) which marks the end of Golden Week.
If you read any travel advice online, it usually tells you to avoid Golden Week as the transport system and hotels, restaurants etc are so busy, but I've been to Japan during Golden Week several times and found that it is not really as bad as it sounds. Of course, you will probably already have accommodation booked before you travel anyway!
My most memorable experience was about six years ago when my flight was rescheduled in Amsterdam, necessitating a mad dash from Osaka to Tokyo by Shinkansen (Bullet Train) the moment I landed in order to attend a business meeting. I ran from the station, exhausted, sweaty and dragging all my luggage, with less than five minutes to spare before the supplier closed for Golden Week!
This year for Golden Week I wanted to offer you something special. The shops are opening up again but sadly it will be at least a few more months before the shows restart so I shall be trading solely online for a while yet. So I have to tempt you however I can!
From 29th April to 5th May the large sashiko panels designed by Susan Briscoe will be just £15 - that's a huge saving of £5 per panel! Not only that, but there will also be £1 off each skein of 100m thread, so there's no excuse not to get stocked up and ready for a summer of sashiko.
The panels come in four different designs and are so versatile. You can leave them as a whole and add a border, or cut them into smaller samplers which can then be turned into placemats and coasters, cushions or even framed pictures. There are eight large and eight small designs per panel, so that's less than £1 per design with this offer!
Why not try different colours of thread (or a variegated one) to add a modern twist?
And as ever, send me a pic of what you make so I can add it to the customer gallery!x
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I started Japan Crafts in 2006 and have been bringing wonderful fabrics and techniques to people in the UK ever since.