" What is Furoshiki? "
In the bathhouses of Kyoto, people used to bring their clothes wrapped up in cloth with their family emblem. This meant that you can find yours easily in a crowded changing room! This cloth was used like a bathmat while they got changed. "Furo" means bath in Japanese and "shiki" means to spread out. From here Furoshiki evolved and a square cloth has been used to wrap and carry things in Japan for hundreds of years.
In recent years, Furoshiki became popular again as an eco-friendly alternative to single use wrapping paper and plastic bags (yes large Furoshiki can be a bag!).
" I heard you can use Furoshiki like a Christmas stocking?? What do you mean?? "
At my home, each member of the family has their own Furoshiki. On birthdays and at Christmas, we use the Furoshiki to wrap presents just like you put gifts in the same Christmas stocking every year! My husband is now in charge of wrapping all the gifts as it's easier and faster than paper gift wrapping. No sticky tape and no scissors required. Is it just in my home where it takes ages to find them?!
" I'd like to gift the Furoshiki to my friend. But not sure if she/he will appreciate it... "
Good news! Every Furoshiki from our shop comes with a free instruction sheet explaining some basic gift wrapping methods and how to use Furoshiki in our daily life. We also have a lot of tutorial videos on how to use Furoshiki. Videos are available at 'Furoshiki Tutorials' and on our HanaBee Youtube Channel.
" If I use Furoshiki as a gift wrap, should I gift it to the person or ask for it back?"
You can do either way! If you use Furoshiki as part of your gift (saving on wrapping paper and gift bags!), your friends can regift it to someone else or use it in their daily life as a headband, travel organiser, toy storage, lunch box bag, water bottle carrier or even "kimono a bottle" to impress their guests!
Alternatively you can do it in the proper Japanese way - wrap the gift and ask the person to return the Furoshiki back to you.
" I don't feel comfortable asking to return the fabric... any tips? "
Try first within your family and close friends. They know you well and will understand if you explain to them how much you care for the environment. From my experience, they would most likely say " Wow that's a great idea! Tell me more!".
Do you know why? Because so many of us are feeling uncomfortable throwing away the beautiful paper in the bin (a lot of them are not even recyclable!).
Christmas is a great time to try! Because 1) gifts wrapped with Furoshiki are so beautiful that it stands out, 2) EVERYONE notices Furoshiki gift wrapping doesn't produce waste! On Christmas Day, it's so obvious how much waste we produce. Your family and friends' attention will be on the positives of Furoshiki not on the moment you ask them to return it to you.
There are so many uses of Furoshiki in daily life. Please explore more on our Furoshiki tutorial page.