Wish you the blessing of the earth and the universe

Bella Terra

十二年前,Mutsumi Umi Shibata帶著背包旅行,為了尋找一種真實的生活,與大自然一起生活。起初她遊歷日本各地,後來便走到世界。在日本長大,全球化對大自然的破壞卻愈叫她心裡的種子成長,永續文化、素食、自然療法、鄉村生活、瑜伽和冥想都有深入鑽研。「而無論走到哪裡,過分美麗的大自然都會引導著我。」


Twelve years ago, Mutsumi Umi Shibata embarked on a backpacking trip, hoping to rediscover the true essence of life by living in nature. She started her journey by traveling around Japan before visiting countries overseas. Growing up in Japan, Shibata is well aware of the harm globalization has done to nature. This realization has sparked her interest in sustainable culture, vegetarianism, natural remedies, village life, yoga, and meditation. “Wherever I go, I am simply led by the extraordinarily beautiful nature,” says Shibata.

Six years ago, she set foot in India for the very first time and stayed in a village that sits at the foot of the Himalayas. There, she stayed for five full years. This is a place where “the snow was just too beautiful”, as she describes. During her stay, she got to know some local shepherds who taught her how to take care of sheep, harvest pasture, spinning yarn, as well as making clothes. Taking a walk in the mountains with the shepherds, while being surrounded by vast areas of grassland dotted by grass-mowing sheep, her long stay allowed her to embrace the tranquility. Such a scene must be so delightful that is beyond words. The remote mountain area is not supported by electricity. After shearing the sheep, the workers would simply wash the wool with water from the high mountain rivers. The locals have been living in such a way of life since centuries ago, so Shibata wanted to make clothes using the most traditional production methods. For the first four years, Shibata did not sell a single piece of clothing, all she did was spend all her effort in fulfilling an ideal lifestyle.

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She currently resides in a small village with less than a hundred villagers. It is such a small village that does not even have roads, and all she occupies is a room inside of a shepherd’s house. “Be it fifty years ago, or even a hundred years ago, their style of life has pretty much remained the same.” Living in harmony with Mother Earth has taught her the actuality of life. “The everyday life with the locals is what rescued me from an overwhelming sense of helplessness.”

The most ancient spinning technique is slowly disappearing as the rest of the world has largely shifted to electric spinning wheels. “I would like to bring back the traditional techniques that are phasing out in our modern society and pass the techniques to our next generation. This doesn’t give me an impressive amount of income but I am willing to spend time doing things right.”

India is where she lives now, but she has not forgotten about Japan. By making socks and clothes and selling them in Japan, she endeavors to share with her fellow Japanese the beauty of a self-sustained life. Moreover, she would love to show to the world how alluring the Himalayas is in front of the backdrop of the dazzling blue sky.

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Written on each pair of socks are names of people in different roles, from feeding the sheep to washing, spinning, and knitting the wool.