Tomare–Astor Place

One of the things I love about Japan is that the ground is painted like a giant asphalt canvas, with street signs in bright colors like the “TOMARE” which means “STOP” for cars.

One of the things I love about New York, is that anything goes, and new meanings can be found for just about anything.

What would happen if we painted “TOMARE” on the streets, and underneath it wrote the word “LOVE”.

Living in Japan , in a way, helps me to find the freedom to be who I am by living in an environment where meaning takes on new meaning in a kind of abstract sort of way.

This summer on a visit to New York, I brought my “TOMARE” Yoga mat with me and reached for the sky.


TOMARE–Have Mat, Will Travel

Tomare Yoga Mat, anywhere you go

(or, Home is Where the Mat Is)

This summer I came to the multi-culti realization that, for me, home is where the mat is.

After living in Oita City the same number of years (past the decade mark) as New York City (where I resided before Japan), I realize that home is no longer a country or a town.

I found that a 60 cm X 180 cm space that I can roll up and carry with me does the trick to let me find my center, and to be at home wherever I am.

Stop and find your center.  Let your energy radiate out from the heart,

is the motto of a yoga mat I designed this year, based on the Japanese kanji,, (tomare, pronounced toe-ma-ray),which means STOP.

I was attracted to this stop sign since I moved to Japan eleven years ago.  Over the years I drew Tomare, painted Tomare, and made a 3-D Tomare bench as a stopping place.  The yoga mat is a medium which finally brought the message home for me.

The radiant sun in the center of the design represents the heart.

When I STOP long enough I can watch my breath, and slow down into yoga postures that help me connect to the world around me— standing in front of my favorite tree in a field in Yufuin, or in front of an abstract square sculpture in the middle of New York City; looking up to the sky, watching as buildings touch the clouds, or staring at a clear blue expanse of sea.

To STOP is to connect to a stillness which at the same time is always in movement.

It took me a long time to pause on my journey long enough to feel this.  “TOMARE” continues to teach me and point me in the way to new “Starts”.

Where do you feel most at home?



To order a Tomare Yoga Mat,

For interest in collaborating on “Tomare’s around the World” or sponsor this project-in-the-planning, please ‘stop’ by.