Ichi go, ichi e and scrapbooking memories

Yesterday a friend and I created a scrapbook for a Japanese friend who is moving away. We wanted her to remember the fun she had with our Japanese-and-American women’s group, JASWA. With one more page to fill, I asked my helper friend if there was a common Japanese farewell-good-luck phrase. After a quick think she said, “Ichi go, ichi e,” and so we had our last page.

“Ichi go, ichi e” translates to “one time, one place,” and is a phrase associated with chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony. Although ritual movements are repeated at each tea ceremony, each ceremony is a unique time and a unique encounter with the people there. “Ichi go, ichi e” means to embrace each moment as it will never happen exactly the same again. My friend said it also has an implication that each person you meet, you meet for a reason.

Scrapbooking does not capture as detailed an experience as journaling or writing down stories, but you can include super-short stories or explanations, and I strongly suggest you do. Otherwise you’re just making a pretty photo album – fine, but nobody except those in the photos really knows what’s going on, and only if they remember. If you are doing a scrapbook for yourself you can include your thoughts and feelings about what the photos are showing. Imagine sitting in a comfie chair some chilly winter evening, lamp shining warmly onto a book in your lap—a pretty book of photo-illustrated short stories that bring the past to life again. You may find scrapbooking memories to be a rewarding and fun way to merge a love of arts and crafts with lifewriting.

For those who have never scrapbooked, the scrapbooking consulting and sales companies I know and like are Stampin’ Up and Close to my Heart. Both sell stamps, papers and equipment just as local craft stores do, but their consultants do home demo parties and may do workshops to teach you the basics as well as the latest in tricks. Be careful you don’t buy up everything you see like someone I know did…

(“Ichi go, ichi e” is pronounced “eechee go, eechee ay”)


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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