January 23, 2009


"Mottainai" is one word that means "too good to waste".  It is a word and way of thinking in Japan that is a part of its history and you hear it used almost everyday. 
It is reduce, reuse, recycle all in one.

The woman who helped make this Japanese word a part of global vocabulary is Wangari Maathati, an extraordinary person from Kenya who is responsible for the Green Belt Movement.
(Please check out the website at
For the Japanese website )

One of the things that you cannot exclude from the mottainai philosophy is the furoshiki.

Reusable tote bags/grocery bags have become a part of everyday life here in Japan (I'm sure it is the same elsewhere too).   But this is not a new concept for the Japanese.  There is the amazing furoshiki.  As seen in the picture above, they are reusable cloths that perform like a bag. The great thing about the furoshiki is its simplicity.  It's just a cloth, so you can fold it or wrap it around anything.  You can shape it into the bag you need. Of course you can make one yourself too!  (No leather is also a nice thing!)  The furoshikis in the picture above, are all very traditional Japanese style BUT there are a lot of new furoshiki designers making new "fashionable" designs as well.   

I like to have many colors on hand so that I have one furoshiki that matches each of my purses. I store my furoshiki in each purse so that when I change purses I don't have to waste time looking for the right color.  It also means that I will always have an extra bag in my purse and I can say "no thanks!" to any plastic!  They are durable, washable and can be used for other things as well : tapestry, book covers, table cloths, scarves....with a little imagination, just about anything!

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