October 31, 2010

Costumes for All Souls Procession

What is news about the world-famous Tucson All Soul's Procession doing on your Kimono blog?? I've been writing about it on my other blog, so check it out!!
Odaiko Sonora has introduced an element of Japanese culture into the procession for the last few years. The procession is about celebrating ancestors, deceased relatives, etc. Most cultures have this type of festival or ritual and All Souls encompasses many traditions, the most obvious is Mexico's Day of the Dead.
Odaiko Sonora traditionally processes right behind the urn cart and we have created "Tucson Ondo", which is our own obon dance and have taught it to many people. We all dress up in Japanese or Asian-inspired costumes and dance the procession.This year, the performing ensemble of Odaiko Sonora are going to be part of the finale of the procession! In keeping with our art form, the six of us have created some interesting Japanese-inspired costumes to wear on stage. We are playing in pairs, so our costumes are also similar within our pairs. One thing is the same for all of us including the band Ensphere:  we are all wearing deep purple/black iridescent taffeta hakama!
Because this year's color is blue (Bright turquoise and cobalt) and the theme is the underworld and water, we needed to add some blue elements to the hakama in order to make them work as costumes. Creating Japanese-inspired costumes that work on stage for 11 people of all shapes and sizes using existing costume bits is a challenge. I've been working with our taiko group with ideas and here is what my taiko partner and I will be wearing, so far at least.
First, let me introduce the original inspiration. I basically ripped off an anime character, and changed the colors to blue in Photoshop, adding some more costume elements. This was in September. This was just an idea at this point.

Now as of last week, this is what I put together on my lunch hour. (Note that my top is backwards, right over left, because I am in front of a mirror). yesterday after taiko, we played around with the costume elements even more.
Me in the mirror showing my latest costume idea.

The "obijime" cord is now turquoise and white, and Karen will be making turquoise tekko (wrist bands). We will also be wrapping the ankles of our hakama so they look like Tattsuke Hakama, with leggings- like this ninja costume or the ladies below in their tattsuke hakama. We nixed the long strips of blue and white hanging from the obi. It looks really cool but not taiko or fire-friendly. Fire-friendly? Yep, my taiko partner and I will be using "fire-bachi" at one point during the finale. Pouffy hakama are just on the edge of being unsafe, so wrapping the legs is a really good option. It keeps thm from blowing around too much. Plus it makes the hakama look less like skirts. We will be working on the costumes again this week, finishing various details, including cool blue and white Kyoshi warrior-style make-up! More photos before the event...one a week away!

Ninja costume
Tattsuke Hakama

October 30, 2010

Otsukimi Festival in Phoenix

Last weekend, my friend Lucik Aprahamian and I went to the Otsukimi (Full Moon) festival at Ro Ho En (Japanese Friendship Garden) in Phoenix last weekend. It was really fun despite being a bit of a hassle to drive there with everything. (Everything being one kimono and one yukata plus all accessories!)  I have four hours of  taiko practice each Saturday, so immediately afterward, I drove to Phoenix, met my friend at the garden and we changed at the Tea house. Lucik had already bought tickets and because of a lot of traffic near Baseline road, I arrive about 30 minutes late: at 5:20pm.
I managed to dress us both and be out and about before 6:00pm, which was pretty amazing since I had not worn that kimono or obi before and we only had 1 mirror.
Here are the photos to prove it!

Taisho meisen komon paired with my  hawk nagoya obi.
Now you can see how short the sleeves are on me.
The back of the obi, showing the hawk and chrysanthemum design
Lucik in my deep red hibiscus print yukata and gold obi. Check out the cute black bunny geta and vintage handbag!
It was slightly chilly, so Lucik opted to wear the tabi sox with the geta.

Dressing myself in the meisen was not the easiest. It's probably the smallest kimono I own and so short I could only make a tiny ohashori hidden under the obi. It's narrow too; people were smaller in 1912,  but luckily I have very straight hips. It felt very comfortable while on. The fabric has such an interesting texture: crisp and slightly shimmery from the weave. Most of the design is in shades of purple with some reddish flowers as well. It has an almost water-color effect.
The obi was another matter. I love the design on this obi, it's so stunning! It's in decent shape, the pale green background is faded a bit all over but the embroidery of the hawk is in excellent condition. I didn't find out that the tare was shorter than average until I was putting it on, but I managed to get it looking decent. The fabric is very crisp, probably jinken or a silk-jinken blend. I wore a red shibori obiage and red obijime; the zori are violet-blue and pink. The purse is red Thai silk that I picked up somewhere in California.

The yukata Lucik is wearing is probably from the 1970's or 1980's. I love the bold design of big creamy hibiscus, yellow daisy-like flowers and black leaves on the dark red background. The gold obi is perfect with it. Normally when I wear this yukata, I have yellow two-tooth geta on, but since this was Lucik's first time in yukata, I opted for the black bunny geta. Her purse is vintage Japanese red and black vinyl. She is one of those people that is amazingly photogenic..... lucky Lucik! She looked great in every photo!

Aside from the kimono-yukata experience, the festival was absolutely lovely! There was traditional dance, music by Ken Koshio, a taiko performance by Fushicho Daiko, an Aikido demonstration, a tea ceremony, and lots of food. The gift shop was open outside and a bar offered both hot and cold sake. The garden was lit only lanterns, so strolling while seeing that huge full moon over the trees was a beautiful sight! The koi in the pond were very active, apparently people were feeding them. The weather couldn't have been better: clear, cool (about 59 degrees).

Hopefully I can go to this event next year! Stay tuned for the next kimono-wearing event.

October 17, 2010

New turquoise yukata at TMY

As promised, I'm finally posting photos of me in my new turquoise yukata I bought in Boulder, CO!
I was at Tucson Meet Yourself last weekend, an annual international festival. It draws tons of people downtown, and features three stages of entertainment as well as amazing food and arts and crafts from all over the world.
My taiko group played in the afternoon, but in the morning I got to wear my new yukata and work the booth selling taiko t-shirts. It was a  gorgeous day in Tucson as well- perfect weather, sunny, and about 80 F with a light breeze. Yukata weather has finally arrived to Arizona!!

So here it is, my favorite yukata. I have paired it with a lovely navy blue cotton hanhaba obi and a nice wide hot pink silk obijime. I'm also wearing one of my homemade han eri collars (Decorative collar that goes under the yukata or kimono, you see just a bit of it peeking out) this one is hot pink with white polka dots. For footwear, I have on colorful flower print geta with pale pink bunny tabi sox!

My sleeves seem to be bunched up a bit, probably from riding in the car on the way to the event. So they look a bit shorter than they should....this yukata actually fits me pretty well in the wingspan.

Below is a close-up of the totally kawaii geta and tabi sox:
Stay tuned for more photos because next weekend is Otsukimi, the moon viewing festival in Phoenix! I will be wearing my purple Taishō meisen with my new hawk nagoya obi. I will also be dressing two friends in yukata. We will take photos, I promise!

October 12, 2010

Super Kawaii Kimono Print Laptop Bag!

This company, aptly named Fluff, created this "Kimono Cuties" collection of fun, kitchy, and super-girly items like wallets, totes, t-shirts and more! I ordered the laptop bag below to use as a briefcase for my new job. How cool is that? It should be arriving from Amazon any day now.
I'll be the most kawaii  chapter executive in Arizona! And it will arrive in time for our big membership mixer next week. Just in time to show it off.

October 3, 2010

Kimono coat on eBay

Just a quick post since I'm super busy lately with my new job, taiko, art shows and even a couple of kimono-wearing events in October! (Photos soon, one is next weekend.)

Even though it's Sunday, I need to do some house cleaning, put together a new file cabinet (Which I should have bought at IKEA since the instruction booklet is horribly complicated!), work for a few hours, go to the grocery store, etc. Not much time to relax, but I slept in (Yay!) since I had a taiko gig last night with some Afro-Brazilian dancing thrown in for good measure. Afterward, there was an excursion to a local bar where my taiko group did a very short,  impromptu "seance" with two votives , a bunch of water glasses, and some salt and pepper shakers. It was a long, fun day!

Ok, back to kimono stuff. I wanted to share my latest eBay find: It was listed as a haori, but of course it's not. This is a michiyuki and it's synthetic and pretty long, so it's actually a coat you can wear over kimono on rainy and cold days. (Not many of those where I live!) I wanted to bid on it because I love the red-black plaid, the cute lining and the fact that it has a 53.1" wing-span. And it was $5 plus shipping since no one else bid on it, so $18 total. I haven't received it yet, so these are the photos posted by the seller.  I looks pretty cute, but I will know for sure when I see it in person!!

When to wear it? Maybe in December or January, when it sometimes gets cold here. I could also wear this over western clothing. It would probably be pretty darn cute.

October 1, 2010

"Full Circle"—a tribute to PJ Hirabayashi

This video caused me to tear up, in a good way though! I really encompasses everything I love about taiko. P.J is larger than life!