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!

March 3, 2019

Phoenix Matsuri in a New Kimono

Another successful Phoenix Matsuri, even if the weather wasn't typical! This year marks the 35th anniversary of one of the top Japanese festivals in the USA!
Saturday morning of the two-day festival, we played taiko and it was cold! For Phoenix at least. It was 37F that morning when we drove to downtown Phoenix from the east side of town, and there was actual ice on our windshields! Being typical Arizonans, we didn't have ice-scraping tools! Luckily, we had various plastic cards and CD cases. There was even snow on the mountains north of Phoenix, so it was quite a weird scene.

However, with lots of hot beverages, many layers of clothing under our happi coats, and later, sunshine, we managed to play an excellent taiko set to kick off a weekend of taiko on the ASU stage.
The day before Matsuri, it snowed!
Sunday, it was a bit warmer, which meant kimono plus haori, plus wool kimono coat and other cold-weather accessories, especially in the morning. I discovered the virtues of legwarmers! They are great when it's cold, and they slip on over tabi easily and actually look kinda cool with zori.
Black leg warmers! 
I wore my recently acquired Omeshi tsumugi kimono with the woven table lamp motif. It's a lovely kimono, a deep, rich, bitter chocolate brown with woven areas of red and off-white. The design is really quirky and fun. I wore  my familiar cream colored Hakata obi and something new- a narrow leopard belt worn as an obijime.
One of the lamp motifs on the kimono. Yes, that is a lamp.
With books and arches in the background. 
Leopard goes with everything!

Kimono coat & a haori will keep you warm. 

The wool kimono coat in the above photo is a vintage men's wool kimono coat. You can tell it's a men's coat by the way the sleeve is attached. It's a fabulous coat, with classic menswear details, like a hidden button placket, pockets, and a pointed collar like a western topcoat. The flying squirrel sleeves are a bonus! It was the perfect weather to wear it most of the day, so I lucked out.  
Detail of the wool coat fabric.
Since this is probably my14th Matsuri and I have posted photos of taiko and other matsuri entertainment before, I won't bother again this time. Except for a charming photo of Kinshin Daiko's fabulous Kotobushi Jishi, and my friend's beautiful lacquered geta!
Lion dancers- Shi shi mai

Pretty geta with a cute wool komon kimono

February 3, 2019

Tucson Japanese Festival Kitsuke

Hi Everyone
I've been busy- lots of taiko gigs scheduled for the next few months as well our own Japanese festival that we just celebrated on January 19th. I was able to do a kimono dressing demo (And played taiko later!) at the festival as part of one of the demonstrations of different art forms and crafts. I dressed a friend for a tea ceremony that was following my demo, so it worked out perfect. The demo was a great success, with standing room only! The festival was at the local Chinese Cultural Center, a wonderful location and it had two beautiful white marble lions at the entrance.
Shi shi mai

Marnie had her own lovely navy komon kimono and I provided the tea-green obi and coordinating accessories for a harmonious ensemble appropriate for tea.

I wore my retro-modern pale grey kimono with a very vintage emerald green Nagoya obi featuring a rose and a new striped obiage from Kimonotte. It was very chilly in the morning when I arrived at the festival location, so I wore the yellow and purple shibori haori. This was the first time I had worn the green obi and I used one of my favorite tools to "tie" it: the obidomekanagu or obi clip. It's perfect for fragile obi as the fabric is not tied or twisted. It truly is an amazing tool for neat kitsuke and makes the obi easier to tie in my opinion. 


A week later, we had a volunteer appreciation party for everyone that participated in the festival. I wore the pine needle komon with another "new" obi- a vintage chuya obi with a yellow and lime-green shibori kikko pattern on one side. I added another fabulous Kimonotte striped obiage and a leaf-patterned yellow and navy haori. This event was in the evening, so most of the photos were really dark. These are the best of the bunch!

See you next time- Phoenix Matsuri is in a few weeks!