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Late last month our little de jack group went to our favorite sushi spot to enjoy some good food and close out 2013. We didn’t get any decent pics at dinner but my husband was kind enough to take a few when we got back.
For the holidays this year I received quite a few kimono related items and wanted to share them here since I’m not sure when I may get around to actually working with them. I am so grateful that my family is understanding and supportive of this hobby. I feel like I will cherish each of these items all the more because of the thoughtfulness and love put into them.
First off my husband surprised me with this lovely ito-maki, or bobbin motif komon. I seriously felt my heart flutter when I saw it. It has amazing long sleeves and the whole upper part of the inner lining is bright beni red! I want to say it’s an older piece because of those two things, plus it’s a touch on the short side. It’s in such amazing shape though so I’m not sure. I think the weaving technique might be meisen? Again not sure, every time I look at this piece my head just wants to explode. I can’t wait to find the perfect obi to go with it.
He also got me this lovely obiage/jime set. unfortunately I couldn’t get a decent picture of it but it’s a very dark olive green color with little sakura blossoms. I always need more of these and I’ve been wanting a greenish/olive toned one for a while.
Next my mother in law got me this beautiful homongi or visiting kimono with stylized chrysanthemum motif. It also has patterns of lattice, mist, tachibana and a few others I forget at the moment. While it is predominately a fall piece I could also wear this is winter and spring. It too has longer sleeves so it looks like I’ll be on the look out for a new juban this year as well.
Last but not least…I picked up this yukata and hanhaba set for myself. When I bought it I didn’t realize it would end up getting to me on Christmas eve so that was a nice surprise to come home to. I’ve been wanting another yukata set for a while and got one heck of a deal on this one. I really like the mature feel of this set, most modern yukata are too flashy, super girly and well young looking for my taste. That obi is pretty lush too, by far the nicest hanhaba I own. I keep wanting to get it out just so I can touch it!
So yeah, I feel like I made out like a bandit this year on the kimono front. Did you get any kimono goodies for the holidays?
I really like to set myself kimono related goals for the coming year as it gives me an extra push for continuing my collection. So with out further a-do here is my 2014 kimono resolution list.
1. Set aside 1 afternoon a month to pull out my stuff and actually practice dressing. While I did get to wear kimono a lot over the past year I always ended up just throwing things on and hoping it looked ok. One of the things that I originally found fascinating about kimono was all the ‘rules’ for dressing. While I love playing around with my style I would like to get back to some of those basic kitsuke roots and see if I can really polish my outfits.
2. No buying kimono this year. I know, I know…this may not actually happen but, I received several pieces this past year that I have not had the chance to wear yet so I feel like I have some good options that people haven’t seen yet. I also need to flesh out my komono a lot. I may permit myself and obi or 2 since I don’t have as many of those and I could use more variety. Mostly though I think my purchases this year will be going to all the things I really don’t like buying but need.
3. Figure out a better storage system for my stuff!
4. Actually, finally, make myself an unlined kimono.
Now to take a look as last years and see if I accomplished them.
1. I recently acquired a copy of Rosetta Stone for learning Japanese. This year I would really like to expand my Japanese vocabulary and learn to write kimono and kitsuke related words in the appropriate style (Hirigan, Katakana or Kanji). I believe this will help me in searching Japanese language kimono sites and may actually push me to finally buy something off Rakuten!
Ok, so I did expand my Japanese vocabulary a little bit this year. I feel awful for not having fully used Rosetta Stone but I had a hard time with the teaching style. I also didn’t actually learn to write anything either although I am slowly working on Hiragana at the moments. I did though get a few things of Rakuten despite it all.
2. I would like to acquire more everyday wear items such as more komon and an iromuji. While I have a few formal outfits I’d like to complete with proper accessories I don’t see me wearing them often enough to warrant buying those acessories unless I can find the ‘perfect’ deal for them. This year is going to be all about kimono functionality!
This one I feel like I accomplished pretty well. I received several komon and a yukata plus a new hanhaba and Nagoya obi. I did get one fancy piece but I haven’t had a chance to post about it yet.
3. Stop buying vintage zori! Even if I lengthen the hano on them my feet are just too wide to wear them comfortably. I still have not worn the beautiful pair I bought this year because my little toes hang over the edge waaaaay tooooo much. Honestly I just need to not depend on e-bay as much anymore. I can get better fitting items elsewhere.
And so I did! I got my first pair of properly fitting zori off of Rakuten this year. I still like eBay though. It’s kind of addicting looking for deals.
4. Here is the big one! I want to actually sewing an unlined kimono for myself this year. I have some beautiful black stripped wool suit material just waiting to be made into a casual everyday piece. Right now I am working on my sewing skills by trying to make some functional tabi. This is proving more difficult than originally thought but it is teaching me a lot. Once I get an acceptable pair of tabi done I will venture forth into kimono making territory.
This one is kind of so-so. I never did actually manage to get a good pair of tabi sewn. I always got hung up on the toes. I did make a ‘practice’ yukata out of some fabric but the mistakes I made make it un-wearable. It was however good practice and I learned a lot about what I shouldn’t do when trying to sew kimono.
So there you have it! A look to the new year and a look back as well. What are your kimono resolutions?
1. How did you discover and get into kimono? 2. Your dearest kimono item(s). 3. Your most used kimono item(s), not including dressing items or undergarments. 4. Your least used kimono item(s). 5. Your favorite coordination? 6. What you like and don’t like about kimono. 7. Kimono confessions…Did you know that… 8. Your dream kitsuke items. 9. Your biggest kimono fears. 10. Your biggest kimono inspiration? 11. Your kimono collection. 12. The evolution of your kitsuke.
13. Your special kimono memory.
This particular one has plagued me for quite some time. I honestly feel like every time I get to wear kimono is pretty special so no event really sticks out in my mind as being better than the others. I suppose if I had to pick though there might be two situations that still make me laugh.
The first was quite a few years ago when I was just starting to build up my collection and I had gotten my very first yukata. We were at a convention and I didn’t have a hanhaba obi so I just used the scarf I had brought with me. Later that night I went to a panel on kimono and the lady giving it wanted me to come up so she could show people how well I had tied my obi. She realized it was a scarf a moment later and we both laughed about it. That moment though really gave me some good confidence about my ability to wear kimono. The fact that I had ‘faked’ a scarf into a decent enough obi that she couldn’t tell at first made me really happy.
The second was before my husband and I were married and I had just gotten my very first Nagoya obi. I was really struggling with learning how to tie it so my then boyfriend offered himself up to let me practice on. I had the sudden aha moment while putting the obi on him and since then an otaiko is no sweat for me. That situation really brought us closer together knowing that he was willing to participate in my hobby. It also showed me a facet of his personality that I’ve greatly come to value. I think a lot of guys might have balked at the idea of having a piece of woman’s clothing put on them. He didn’t even care, it was just like, ‘oh this will really help you out, ok!’
Author: Cathy N. Davidson
Isbn # 0=525-93707-2
Publisher: PLUME Penguin Group
I found this book at a local used book store my husband and I frequent. I remember having heard about this book vaguely some time ago and thought it might be a good read for the recent trip we took. I knew I wouldn’t find much, if any information about kimono in it but having an interest in Japanese culture in general I thought it would be worth my time.
Opinion: This book really astounded me. It is almost like reading through the memoires of a foreigner living in Japan. I think it really gives good insight into aspects of Japanese culture one normally doesn’t get to see through regular media. The author is incredibly open and honest in her writing and in reading this book you almost come to feel as if she is a close acquaintance. This book takes you through a range of emotions and was very hard to put down.
I would recomend this book:
for someone interested in living and working in Japan as it gives some good insights as to what it’s like living there as a foreigner
someone who likes memoires and non-fiction
someone with an interest in all aspects of Japanese culture
I would not recomend this book:
someone looking for specific information about kimono
someone easily offended or sensitive to others frank opinions
I think this is definitely a book I will read again in the future as I found it a quick and enjoyable read.
Last week my husband and I took off to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a belated 3rd anniversary getaway. We stayed at Ten Thousand Waves, which is a beautiful little resort up in the mountains outside of town. Everything is this neat mix of Southwestern and traditional Japanese styles, which go together rather nicely and give everything a rustic feel. I’ve been wanting to visit this place for quite a few years now; ever since I discovered them in a book about Japanese architecture. They also have a spa with Japanese inspired treatments and outdoor hot tubs. The spa area has a certain onsen quality about it even though the tubs are filled with well water instead of hot springs. If you can’t make it to Japan and are interested in American transplanted Japanese culture, this place is a good bet. I of course had to bring along a kimono outfit to wear in the ‘Japanese’ scenery! My husband was kind enough to take pictures for me. It was truly a dream trip and I’m so glad I got to share it with him.
This is my favorite shot from the whole thing. The kimono and obi were from vendors at AWA. Sadly that kimono gave me some problems and it is now a little too small. I also got my obi too tight and it affected my juban collar, it’s a bit wrinkly.
Last weekend was Anime Weekend Atlanta and I had the pleasure of going with some of my friends. On Sunday I planed this outfit reminiscent of what a geisha would wear to the Miyabi Kai festival. I’ve always really like the look of the blue and white yukata with a fresh summer weight Nagoya obi but have been a little shy of wearing it in public. I have to say I am quite pleased with how it turned out and how comfortable I was wearing it for more hours than I’m accustomed to wearing kimono for. Sorry for the kind of grumpy face in the first picture. We had just gotten back to the house we were staying at and had to wait for our friends to get home to let us in. I was a little too warm and needed the facilities.
I also picked up this lovely set over the weekend. The kimono and obi from two separate vendors but I really love them together. I finally have my very own striped piece! Plus the obi is just beautiful and signed by the artist! I picked up both pieces for a pittance. Yay for not having to pay shipping charges! I can’t wait to wear them in November for our anniversary get a way trip.
A little while ago our two groups got together for a nice dinner at our favorite Columbus sushi restaurant. It was nice to have such a large group wearing wafuku and to be able to chat about kimono with other enthusiasts!
Kelsey and Quat wore ‘matching’ ro komon and I wore my green hitoe iromuji. Quat and I were laughing about the fact that we both wore pink sha hakata obis. They are almost the exact same but mine’s just a touch darker.
Every month our ‘arts’ district called the Short North in Columbus, Ohio does an even called Gallery Hop. Basically all the shops, restaurants and galleries stay open late, organizations come out and there are even street performers and musicians too. We decided to make this our monthly de jack event, dressed in Yukata and headed out for an evening on the town!
Stopping for dinner at a place called Nida’s we decided to sample some of their seasonal drinks. From left to right we had a mint concoction, lychee ‘martini?’, Thai tea and a watermelon/grape vodka mix.
One store we visited specialized in vintage toys and they had an old fashioned photo-booth in the back! Trying to cram 3 girls in yukata into his was hilarious! Also we got no prompt that the pictures were being taken…just sudden flashes of light!
I felt like we had a really fun night out and got to promote our de jack group a little. Other than getting a parking ticket(there were no warning signs posted anywhere!) it was a great evening.