I bought myself a kimono jacket from a street vendor inside the Fushimi-Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto. We had seen the stand after we first entered the shrine and thought we would visit it on our way back but were so lost in the miles and miles of orange Tori gates and shrines guarded by wolves that twisted and turned up and down the mountain, that we were almost surprised we bumped into it again, hours later, at what we thought was another exit.
I carefully examined the kimono jacket yesterday and noticed that there were carefully sewn protective stitches, keeping folds and pieces in place, like a finely tailored suit equipped for a long journey. I have seen such threading before. Sometimes a pocket on a new pair of pants will be sewn together or a lapel on a jacket. I seem to remember, when I was very young, removing the stitching from a very pleated skirt. But what struck me was that this stitching was not haphazard, but patterned, visually deliberate, lovely in its own right. Some seamstress or tailor somewhere, put these ephemeral “safety” stitches in, knowing full well they would be removed before wearing. This transitory stitching told me that this piece of clothing was made with great deal of care and skilled craftsmanship.