2014 Kimono Fashion Show

Last weekend the Northwest Ohio Kimono Society hosted a kimono fashion show up in Temperance, MI.  Our Kimono de jack group went to help out and model some outfits.  It was a really fun experience and getting to hang out with so many kimono enthusiasts is always a treat.  There really were a spectacular array of outfits ranging from yukata all the way to furisode.  Unfortunately we had no male models, so no men’s wear was represented.  One of the models did bring her little girl though so we did have an example of children’s wear.  After the initial show we answered questions from the audience pertaining to kimono and it’s history.  There was also a raffle, which I was able to donate a haori to that I’ll never wear.  I feel good about it going to someone who will appreciate it.  Afterwards we got to go outside and take some photos with a nice camera set up.  Katrina, our hostess had a casual after party at her home and we spent the rest of the evening enjoying good food, drinks and new found friends.  This experience has really motivated me to try and do something similar down here in Columbus.  I’d love to see if we could get backing from JASCO and maybe get a really cool venue to do it in.  I’m probably just dreaming, but it’s a nice dream.

kimonofashionshow 010I’m not sure who provided the advertisement poster but it was nicely done.  I wanted to grab one of the smaller flyers before we left but didn’t get a chance.  There is a small newspaper article floating around somewhere about the event as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10436200_864599060220880_355941413280713498_nAfter everyone walked we lined up in front of our audience to tell them a little bit about each of our outfits.  Here Quat is explaining her ‘mother of the bride’ ensemble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10487400_864598356887617_6142454936506457169_nAll lined up and ready to go!  I have to admit I was a little nervous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kimonofashionshow 028Aaaannnddd!  Obligatory foot wear shot.  I always love these since you don’t often see these little details of an outfit.  I was totally love Katrina’s lace tabi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group photo credit goes to Ohio Kimono.

Asian Festival 2014

Every year over Memorial day weekend the City of Columbus, Ohio holds the Asian Festival downtown at Franklin Park.  The event is free to attend and there are many live performances from different Asian cultures, tons of ethnic food, a informational pavilion on Asian countries and a open air market.  It has been a couple of years since I’ve gone so Quat and I decided to make it a De Jack event and dressed up in yukata for the experience.

Overall the day was pretty good although we did have a mishap where Quat blew out the straps on one of her geta while we were walking in the opening ceremonies parade.  That involved a 45 minute trip back to the car by taking the buses that were running for the event.  I picked up a cheap uchiwa with The Great WAve off Kanagawa by Hokusai on it but mostly just spent my money on food.  After spending nearly all day at the festival we met up with Kelsey at Sushi Ting for dinner and I stuffed my face with a mango roll and some cold Soba~ delicious!

I must confess though I’m always a tad bit disappointed with the Asian Festival.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a fun event and brings cultural diversity to the community.  However there were several things that bothered me and I feel like they need to be said.

So during the opening ceremonies parade many different performance groups and people representing Asian countries from around the world participate.  Every single group except ours had people either from that country or descendants representing.  So basically we had three Caucasian girls dressed in wafuku representing Japan…  When we went to the info pavilion  we got accosted by an older woman who said we should be in the parade and she linked us up with another girl who was in kimono.  We were all glad to walk in the parade but it was a little sad that if we had not agreed to there would have been no one representing Japan at all!  This surprises me a little since there is a fairly large Japanese population in Columbus.  According to my friend this didn’t just happen this year but has happened in years past where no one is representing Japan in the parade.

Secondly, out of the entire open air market there was only one stall that was selling Japanese goods.  Wait…there was an anime booth as well.  So, ok two out of probably at least 60 or so vendors!  The one stall that I got my uchiwa at also did not have a lot of merchandise either.   This, shockingly enough is an improvement.  When I went two years ago no one was selling anything even remotely Japanese related.  I’m not sure why this happens but it makes me sad, so here we have another area where Japanese culture is barely represented.

One of the biggest draws to the Asian Festival every year besides the food is the live performances.  It is a chance for people to get to experience traditional music and dance from across the globe, which is pretty cool.  Again though I was disappointed in the fact that out of all the performance groups there were only two who represented Japan.  The first was a local taiko kids group.  They are usually there every year but only ever play two pieces.  I’m not sure why that is but with all the set up time to get the drums in place it seems a shame for them to do such a short set.  The set up time is literally longer than their performance.  The second group which I was looking forward to seeing was a dance group and they were supposed to go right after the taiko performers.  Instead they got switched around for the Chinese Opera group which had already done a performance earlier in the day.  I don’t know why the switch happened but I watched the group of dancers get off the bus like 3 hours before their set so it wasn’t like they were not on time.  Also the taiko and dance group only had one performance each day while every other group had at least two slot times, sometimes three!

I’m not sure if there is some political bs going on behind the scenes or what or if it’s just due to some unfortunate circumstances but like I said before it does make me sad.  I’d be curious to see if anyone else who went noticed these things. I would really love to see more representation for Japan at the Asian Festival.

We did manage to get some pictures even though the sun was so bright and a lot of them look washed out.

Asian fest 2014 001Here is a picture we got taken with the girl that walked with us in the parade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian fest 2014 008Quat lookin’ sassy waiting for me to bring her flip flops from the car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian fest 2014 051There is this nice little waterfall area on the edge of the park.  It would make an excellent photo shoot spot when the sun isn’t so glaring and there aren’t a ton of people around.

9th annual JSO Spring Festival

We did our photo booth gig for them again this year.  It was a lot of fun and we were very busy all day.  We were unable to get a lot of photos but luckily my mom, sister and niece stopped by and took some.  I even got to dress my sister and niece in yukata for the first time!  My niece loved the experience.  I’m not sure what possessed me but I decided it would be a good idea to wear and work all day in kimono for this event.  I wore the yellow cotton komon I got in my Yamatoku box and borrowed the obi from Quat.  I did not wear juban underneath but just my kimono slip and Quat talked me out of wearing geta so I just had on my flip flops.  I got pretty warm rushing about dressing and undressing people and had to change back into normal clothes about an hour before the end.  It was still worth it though!  I actually got in a conversation with one lady about her kimono and the fact that she never wears it because she feels it’s too fancy.  She seemed to like the idea that kimono can be casual as well.  We met a bunch of great people interested in kimono and our de jack group…sooooo maybe we’ll have some new members soon?  I also talked with an organizer of the Japan American  Society of Central Ohio who is very interested in working with our Columbus Kimono project.  I’m super excited about that!  Um…geez…so much stuff I can’t quite remember.  Anyway have some photos!

13949806305_e41a33f331_o13949988263_336fba6cfe_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10289868_10202692010353858_5726030966776911316_n10271566_10202692015713992_6178413877383310414_n13927145391_ac691008f4_b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN0165

 

 

 

yamatoku box o’doom!

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago I spent some of my tax return money on a box of twenty vintage kimono from the online vendor Yamatoku.  I had no idea what I would be getting but after seeing some of the things other Immortal Geisha members got I decided to try my luck.  It was really fun getting this giant box of kimono to look through.   I’ve had a lot going on so it has taken me some time to sort through and do some maintenance on the pieces that needed it.  Overall I was really happy with the things I got.  Only a handful of pieces I either didn’t like or were unwearable so I felt like it was money well spent.  I still have quite the stack to go through to make a decision to wash or hang out to freshen them up.  I really can’t wait to wear some of these and I now definitely need some fancier obi.

DSCN0029

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

005

This sweet little cotton komon has two super tiny pin spot stains that are unnoticeable when wearing.  Aside from that it’s in perfect condition.  I wore this over the past weekend to the JSO Spring festival.  I’ll have an update on that soon once I get pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

001

I finished cleaning and ironing this piece today.  It’s a really beautiful mint green lined komon with subtle woven buildings and trees.  It’s a shame it didn’t pick up in this photograph but there is a iridescence to this piece that I just love.  Sadly my cleaning methods did not completely remove any of the stains but they have lightened and are small so I would put this piece is wearable condition.  It is also a touch on the small side around the hips but I think I can make it work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blue komon with fans had some staining too so I took a chance and threw it in the wash with some woolight.  The stains were almost all gone and the few that are left are so small and light they are practically invisible.  I’m so happy I was able to salvage this piece since it fits so well and had no other damage.

001

De Jack Sushi & Onigiri party

Over the weekend our de jack group got together to try our hand at making some yummy Japanese food.  We got dressed, went to our local Japanese market, then the bakery and returned to my house to get started.

1902922_606180786142443_1766748252_nThis is the only picture I have of the three of us together, and it’s from the back no less!  A little about our outfits:  I worn my spring themed pink komon with a white and yellow checked hanhaba.  Unfortunately it is so light colored the pattern often doesn’t show up in pictures.  I believe that this is my most accurate seasonal coordination since both pieces have sakura on them.  I am definitely looking forward to next month and seeing some flowers!

Quat, in the middle there, wore her new summer weight komon.  I know it had bunnies and maybe moons?  It was really beautiful though and had very interested texture to the fabric.  She paired it with a blue and white hakata hanhaba obi.

Kelsey wore a deep blue yukata with chidori pattern and a darker red hakata hanhaba obi.  I must say I was a little jealous of Kelsey’s outfit.  I’ve worn that yukata before and it is soooooo comfy!

 

S&Gparty 040

Here Kelsey is trying her hand at making maki, or sushi rolls.  You can see she has her sleeves tied back to keep them out of the way.  Quat is in the background taking photos.  You can see the pattern on her kimono a little bit better here.

 

 

 

 

10150775_606180719475783_1941174038_n

Here are the fruits of our labors.  California roll with crab, avocado and cucumber.

 

 

 

 

1911973_606180742809114_368644773_n

 

 

Monster onigiri!  I have a couple of rice ball presses but I just couldn’t get them to work this time so we sort of improvised and got these.  Not very pretty but they were super tasty.  They were made using seaweed seasoning and filled with tako, or octopus.

 

 

 

1981807_606180649475790_1621654292_n

 

 

Here are the deserts we got from Belle’s bakery.  Mango mouse, fruit tart, red bean roll cake, chocolate raspberry cake and a coffee flavored mouse.  They were super yummy!

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the photos of our little get together!  We did manage to get some video of our adventure as well so as soon as I can I’m going to do some editing and get that up on my you tube channel.  I’ll provide the link when that happens.  Also, I’m very excited about the next few months as we have kimono plans through June!

 

 

Ohayocon 2014

ohayocon2014 045   The convention went very well this year despite the horrid weather we are having here in Ohio right now.    On Friday morning and afternoon I wore my ‘new’ yukata set.  This is now my favorite set although I really am going to have to at least let out the sleeves some.  I had super puffy ohashori in this picture which I’m trying to not so successfully hide with my hand.  Yay for weird poses and my badge being turned around backwards!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ohayocon2014 079On Sunday Quat dressed in seasonally inappropriate Ro.  In her defense it was very warm in the convention center though.  This is honestly my favorite picture from the whole weekend.  She is snapping a picture of her sister wearing the giant balloon Totoro outfit some guy in Artist Alley made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ohayocon2014 048On Friday afternoon before our two hour kimono panel Quat and Kelsey practiced their ballroom dancing.  I got a little video of them, which just goes to show you can do just about anything in kimono.  Sadly I never got a shot of the ko-furisode and hakama set Kelsey wore later in the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ohayocon2014 077Ugh!  This outfit was a train wreck most of Sunday.  I think this picture was taken after I re-did the whole thing 4 or 5 times.  I love the color combo but the kimono is a little on the small side and that obi was super slippery so it just ended up being contrary the whole time.  We never could get my musubi to stay in place either.  I did however get a couple of really nice compliments while wearing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ohayocon2014 058We had a nice, large group of panel participants for Kimono 101 and 102.  I’d say by far this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever had at Ohayocon.  Everyone who came was just wonderful and had great questions.  Sunday Morning the weather was pretty bad so we didn’t have quite the turn out for the Geisha panel that we did last year.  We did get a lovely compliment from a woman though.  She said our panel was the most professional and well organized she’d been too all weekend.  That really made me swell with pride and makes me want to take the Geisha panel into regular rotation at other conventions now.

 

 

 

 

Friday evening after the kimono panels Quat and I changed outfits.She was kind enough to let me wear her lovely brown homongi.  I felt like such a classy lady wearing it!  It’s so beautiful and lush feeling.  Quat wore what she affectionately termed her ‘mom’ kimono.  She really wanted a plate of toast to go after con goers with yelling, ‘You have to eat your toast before you go to anime school!”  ohayocon2014 064

Kimono de jack Holiday dinner

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.

holiday131I got to wear the homongi my mother in law got me, plus my special New Years obi.

 

 

 

 

 

djnyp6Obi shot, sadly mine shifted in the car on the way back and we didn’t think to fix it before pictures.

Holiday gifts

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.

001First 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

006He 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xmaskimono 005Next 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xmaskimono 001Last 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?

2014 Kimono resolutions and looking back at 2013.

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?