July 31, 2019

Trip to Seattle

Hi everyone!
I just got back from a trip to Seattle! It was a family trip and I didn't wear kimono much, only a yukata at the Seattle Obon at the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. It's a wonderful community Obon, small but mighty! It took place in front of the temple, so the street was closed. It's a two-day event, and I went on Sunday. Apparently Sunday has slightly less people (more parking opportunities!) than Saturday. The only downside was it was unexpectedly hot and sunny- 88 degrees F and about 70% humidity! I was very glad I wore a yukata instead of the summer kimono I had considered bringing. I purposely choose the green and white ensemble for the reference to "Emerald City", a popular name for Seattle and it gives a feeling of coolness. At least visually!

I also met another kimono kitsuke enthusiast and we hit it off, even meeting up the next day for kimono shopping and lunch! Luckily, there were some indoor events in the temple gym, so we cooled off in there a bit, but only a bit- no airco and only ceiling fans. Luckily, we had our fans for dancing! I think I wore out my wrist fanning myself! It was a very sweaty day. We did get a little too much sun. Since Obon is a participatory event, I didn't get a ton of photos this time. It's more fun to eat roasted corn, shave ice, and dance!
Butterfly yukata, mesh summer hanhaba dragonfly obi,
green & white obijime, and my little red shibori birdie.
Selfie- before I got too hot. I'm wearing a
 cotton juban top with a han eri (collar) for a crisp look. 

Seattle Matsuri Taiko getting ready to play

A still from our stint in the photo booth!
By this time, I was suffering from the heat. 
Just an FYI- I noticed a trend among a few chic kimono wearers: western sandals or shoes with kimono! I've seen it on Instagram but now I have seen it in person. I wore a pair of Clarks sandals for comfort. 

On this trip, I also went to the Seattle Japanese Garden near the arboretum. If you are in town, this is a must-see. It is stunning. It's been around since 1960 and is a "strolling garden" and has wonderful vistas at every turn. Here are a few views from my trip there.

A pagoda representing the mountain monasteries of Japan.

The tea house.

A ramen cart from 1950- fully restored! 
A few more random photos...there is water and lush green everywhere! Seattle truly is the Emerald City.
Ducks on Lake Washington.

Flowers on the street in downtown Kirkland.
Mt. Baker as seen from an Everett backyard deck.
Deception Pass bridge- from the car!

June 4, 2019

Shidara Concert Kitsuke

Hello kimono enthusiasts!
I was fortunate enough to see Shidara again (This is the 3rd time!) in concert this year- they had a very short 3-city tour in the USA and my taiko group was one of the show producers, so they came to Arizona! If you have not heard of Shidara and you love taiko, please check them out on YouTube- they are the best taiko group in the world right now. You probably know those other big name groups, and this group is absolutely stunning- they play with heart, mind and soul- truly dedicated to their art form.

For this momentous event, of course I had to wear kimono! Since It's already warming up here, I decided to wear hitoe (unlined kimono) before May 20th- and the kimono I'm wearing is actually summer kimono, so it's a little bit sheer. It was supposed to be hot that day when I planned the outfit but luckily, it was a perfect spring day, barely 80 F in the afternoon and cloudy, so I was comfortable in my sha Nagoya obi featuring hagi (bush clover) and fuji (wisteria). The kimono might be hemp but I'm not entirely sure. It has a nubby weave almost like a coarse tsumugi.
After the show, some Phoenix friends and I went to a hip downtown restaurant called Penca and we had food and lovely cocktails. These photos were taken on the sidewalk out front.

I had left my handbag in the restaurant while we
were taking photos, and I didn't want to leave it out! It's
a vintage one I found in LA years ago.  

April 28, 2019

Vibrant Spring Kitsuke Inspired by Desert Flowers

Hi Everyone
I took advantage of a fabulous spring day at the Johrei center and was inspired by the amazingly bright flowers: wild flowers, roses, cactus flowers and beautiful weather. My magical Meisen (Both kimono and haori are vintage Meisen) kitsuke is inspired by these colors!

Check out the electric colors on this vintage juban!

Standing in front of the cholla cactus grove

Check out those long sleeves!

Selfie in front of the aloes at my house.

March 16, 2019

One Kimono, Two Obi

Hello everyone
I recently acquired a fabulous Meisen kimono recently that has a wonderful  pattern of either gum drops or dragon scales depending on your perspective. (Or mood!). The sleeves are stylishly long, so it is likely a Taisho-era kimono.
I wore it at the Johrei Center last weekend to perform taiko with friends and coordinated it with a red Hakata obi and a fun obijime inspired by 1980's punk rock fashion. It was a gorgeous spring day, so we took some photos in their Japanese-inspired desert garden.
Underneath, I am wearing a vintage turquoise and red juban with an asanoha or hemp-leaf pattern.

Underneath- a vintage juban
Days later, I attended an evening taiko concert and wore the same Meisen kimono with a different obi- a an unusually patterned Hakata Nagoya obi that features stylized flowers, triangular shapes, and some metallic threads. It has a mysterious feel to it and a friend said the pattern looked southwest! The sparkly obijime adds a little bit more bling.
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day weekend!