April 14, 2014

An Enchanted Evening at Yume

I was able to take some time out from a super busy schedule to go to a nice event at Yume on Friday afternoon for "An Enchanted Evening at the Gardens". It was pretty warm for April, about 90 F earlier in the day (!) so I opted for my green butterfly yukata and kimono-style accessories: obiage, two obijime, Nagoya Hakata obi, and a han eri. I wanted to wear these colors to celebrate spring and based the ensemble on my Jordan-McMillan pink and green ribbon handbag!

It was a beautiful evening for strolling in yukata, with strawberry shave ice, refreshing cold green tea that tasted reminiscent of the sea, paper lanterns, candles, soft music, and origami art displays. The koi were active and there was even a cat in the garden.

Not many people wear kimono or yukata to these events, but there were a couple of volunteers in yukata, so that was really nice to see! I figure the more I dress up for these events, the more kimono enthusiasts will eventually come out of the woodwork. Events at the garden are starting to gain momentum.
My husband took the photos of my before I went out since it became dark very quickly.

Have a wonderful Easter holiday weekend.
My obi is a little crooked and I have only one pink nagajuban sleeve showing!

New shoots on the bamboo
Yuri the cat was perfectly camouflaged on the bare soil

March 7, 2014

A New Japanese Garden in the Desert!

I have mentioned Yume a couple of times, but I just realized I haven't introduced it.
Yume ("dream") is a new Japanese Garden in Tucson! This is a really great thing since the garden is starting to host cultural events such as mochitsuki, intimate concerts, Hinamatsuri, and more.
The best thing is that I don't have to drive two hours to Phoenix to attend a kimono-wearing event!

The garden (actually five gardens) is small but really well designed; it's really a nice space that will continue to improve as it grows into itself. I'm hoping to get more involved with their events in the future.

These photos were taken at Mochitsuki on January 4th.

Yes, you can grow bamboo in the desert!

Showing off my new fan before I leave for Yume.

A young man pounds mochi.

February 24, 2014

Two & a Half Days of Japanese Festival Madness! Phoenix Matsuri Weekend 2014

This year's Arizona Matsuri was amazing and fun as usual...each year it's a little different. Taiko drumming, shopping for wafuku, beer & sake garden, warm weather, Awa Odori dancers from LA, great food, fun costumes, the taiko party at Fushicho's dojo Saturday night, and the inevitable sunburns despite lots of sunscreen. Plus there was dehydration, exhaustion, sore feet, dropped bachi, blisters, and aching muscles.

The weekend started Friday afternoon when I arrive our hosts home outside Phoenix. I gave Emma two of the new kimono and an obi I received from Yamatoku as gifts. Before the other guests arrived and dinner was ready, we had an impromptu kimono try-on session. I picked kimono that would go with what she already owned; she tried on the "faux batik" komon with two different obi. I used my own obiage and obijime since she is lacking in accessories. She loved the gold-tan obi with the kimono. 

The next morning we were all up really early so we could be in downtown Phoenix at about 8:30am to unload drums, set up for two days of taiko, and be ready for the mikoshi parade at 10:00am. I was playing taiko at noon, so I didn't wear a yukata or kimono in the parade. However, Emma wasn't scheduled to play taiko until later, so I dressed her up in her new ayame (iris) yukata. 

However, arriving at the parade in just a taiko shirt, black pants, and a black logo jacket wasn't very festive, so I went shopping as the merchandise booths were setting up and found a cute happi 
coat to wear in the parade! 

The vendor said "Shimoshin" was the name of a company. I like the bright blue color and the waves.

A member of the Awa Odori group. 
The mikoshi parade is getting larger every year, and this time the Awa Odori Tokushima-Ren from LA were back again after a hiatus. My arms were tired after only 20 minutes of dancing!
More dancers.
Hana-hachijo being played in yukata!
It was warmer than average over the weekend and on Saturday when my taiko group, Odaiko Sonora, played at noon, it was probably about 80 F with a gorgeous clear, blue sky. That doesn't sound too bad, but we were looking directly into the noon sun; stage is not covered! Afterwards, we all went to the beer and sake garden for shade and beverages. I didn't realize I had a sunburn until later. Oops.

Sunday was kimono day for me at least. Besides dressing Emma again and Karen (Sensei and one of the directors of Odaiko Sonora) in yukata, I wore a hitoe kimono I bought at matsuri last year. 

Karen brought her gorgeous vintage shibori yukata and beautiful obi she bought at Ichiroya a few years ago and I dressed her after she played taiko. She wanted an obijime to dress up her obi as well, so we went over to Maruhachi's booth  and went shopping! Karen picked out a lovely flat weave in a lime green with metallic threads. I also shopped for Emma since she wanted a few obijime as well but she was playing taiko all day and couldn't shop. So I picked out three for her: a solid red, a cream with gold flecks, and a flat weave with several shades of purple to go with the purple komon I gave her. I found a fabulous red and silver obijime for myself, which Karen bought for me as payment for dressing her up!

Modeling a new obijime and  a borrowed bag.
Karen hamming it up with Muri.

Silver and red with cranes!
It's wide!

Sunday was warm again but a bit cloudier, which helped. I wore a blue-grey hitoe (unlined) komon featuring a pattern of pine needles paired with an olive green multi-season Nagoya obi, also hitoe. 

Karen found the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter!
My subdued ensemble was perfect for a warm but overcast day
Sunday was much more relaxing, and I got to watch powerful taiko performances, shop for kimono and accessories, enjoy the shade of the beer and sake garden, sample yuzu lemonade with cherry syrup and again (it was soooo good!) with violet syrup, tried some peanut butter mochi, shared bright red (dubbed "hummingbird food") shave ice with two other people since it was sooo huge, and watched people in their fun and sometimes crazy costumes. The drive back to Tucson was the worst part! Luckily, I have Monday off from work to recover.

Oh, and I bought a kimono from Maruhachi. I wasn't supposed to but it's totally awesome bingata! And it has 26' long sleeves! Can't wait to wear this one. It's in almost perfect condition, with spots only on sleeve lining. I may have to pair a hakata obi with this one.

There are a few more kimono-wearing events coming up, so stay tuned for more blog posts in the near future!

February 21, 2014

Phoenix Matsuri Starts Tomorrow!

The Phoenix Matsuri starts tomorrow! Two days of Japanese culture, food, and fun- this is a fabulous event. I've been to the amazing Sakura Matsuri in D.C. and I feel the Phoenix Matsuri is even better and it's free!

The mikoshi parade starts at 10:00am tomorrow and this year they have brought back to beer & sake garden!
Come see me play taiko with Odaiko Sonora on the ASU stage at noon Saturday and wearing kimono (Blue grey hitoe with pine needles) or yukata (If it's hot, you will see me in emerald green) on Sunday. For a full list of the entertainment, stages, and vendors, click here. 
I hope to see you there!