February 28, 2011

New vintage yukata!

For me, this one is a real find; I'm a sucker for geometric prints. It's a vintage (1960's to 80's I think?) cotton yukata with a cool geometric pattern that has a  retro vibe to it. It looks hand-sewn and the cotton is heavy and a bit stiff. It's short, only 58" inches, but that's OK for me since it's vintage and it's totally cool. I can manage a tiny ohashori under the obi. Plus it's mainly indigo and white, something I was looking for.

 How cool is this pattern??? It's hip, tribal, and kind of has a tiki-bar feel all at once! I think it looks like hourglasses. The colors came out pretty true in the photo. The navy is so dark, it seems to have not faded over time. Someone took very special care of this one, it's in almost perfect condition. I'm amazed no one else spotted it! I can probably wear it in April sometime, maybe to the Arizona Asian Festival in Mesa.
Design detail

I think I will pair it with a red  or purple hakata obi. If I wanted to be subtle, I could wear with this an olive green obi...I will have to see what works!

18 hours of Matsuri!!

I survived the relatively sunny and nice Saturday and the cold and damp Sunday of the Phoenix Matsuri! For the second year in a  row, it rained and it was cold! (Cold for Phoenix standards. For those of you on the east coast braving snow, sorry about the whining). Only change was this year it only rained Saturday night, so it was mostly dry Sunday, just a chilly 45 degrees when we arrived in the morning for day two of the festivities. I think it probably got up to 56 degrees during the day. That means it was a great weekend to wear kimono, not at all hot! In fact, yesterday I had to wear long underwear, a kimono coat, and gloves. I never even took the coat off except in the car on the drive home.

Saturday was nice, perfect weather really: I think it got up to 65 degrees and was a bit breezy and overcast, which was perfect for parading, dancing, and the summer kimono ensemble I was wearing.

I arrived with friends that were performing taiko through out the day, so I arrived early enough  to watch vendors setting up and participate in the Mikoshi procession/parade! I learned the basic steps to the Awa odori and off we went! The dance was simple but very hard on the toes, especially if you are wearing geta.
The Awa odori was performed later on stage by Tokushima ren of Los Angeles, CA. I saw them dance later in the beer garden as well. They are really amazing. I want one of those hats!

There was taiko, and yet another group of amazing dancers, this one was the ASU Japanese Student Association doing an incredibly energetic version of Soran Bushi. Soran Bushi is a fisherman's folk song and dance from Hokkaido.The dance itself is really fun and a great workout!

Of course there was much more (bonsai trees, Akita dogs, Anime fashion show, J-rock, etc.) and I didn't see everything, but I did manage to spend too much money on kimono stuff, tabi socks (pink and black Tofu Robot!), and fresh mochi with red bean paste.

Performers in Zarco's amazing masks

OK, now the kimono pics!
For Saturday, I dressed up my friend in yukata as well. She took advantage of the final sale at Kimono Lily with the cute deep pink cotton hanhaba obi she is wearing with her traditional indigo and white iris-print yukata.  I'm wearing a synthetic sha (sheer gauze) komon, black with garnet red ivy vines; the vintage silk juban (under kimono) underneath is an all-over ume print in deep violet, turquoise, and fuchsia.. The obi is white on white hakata worn with a fuchsia obiage and a wide black and fuchsia obijime. I also wore a han-eri collar in light blue with hot pink and black sakura pattern. Black bunny geta with pink bunny tabi socks and red and black handbag complete the ensemble. This is one of my favorite spring/summer outfits.

This outfit got quite a few looks and comments  from people, probably because it was different from the girlie yukata and pastel colored kimono other people were wearing.

Sunday was the cold day, so luckily I had the kimono coat! It was a red-on-red day with the red hakata obi and red and white yabane patterned komon kimono. I had planned on wearing my new fake maru obi (Red, yellow, gold, and blue) but I was having trouble tying it at 7:30am. It was long, slippery, and non-cooperative. So out with the fake maru and in with the easy to tie hakata obi! I didn't have time to switch out the han-eri collar to a different color, so it looks a little odd to me, the light blue collar with the red outfit. (I think it should have been red or pale yellow). I did add the pale yellow obijime I had planned on wearing with the other obi anyway because it broke up the red. Since there were several puddles, I wore red tabi socks  instead of white tabi, which I figured would just get muddy. My zori are red and black and the handbag is red silk. It's a lot of red, I know. The kimono coat is pretty loud  in itself! A friend said my outfit was burning her eyes! That's when I knew it was pretty awesome.

Shopping! I always plan on buying kimono bits and bobs each year and this one was no exception. Finding komon kimono, haori and a few yukata and obi is usually fairly easy, but this year I found accessory items that I usually never see: obiage and obijime. One dealer was even selling gorgeous full shibori obiage in rich colors like olive green, violet, and gold to wear with furisode for $50....a steal considering how beautiful they were. I'm too old for furisode anyway, so I had a good excuse to restrain myself!

I bought a vintage yukata and a haori, four fabulous obijime, one chirimen obiage, a tenegui, and one small plush Hello Kitty charm (impulse buy!), and of course a pair of Tofu Robot tabi socks. I will post photos of these items tonight or tomorrow.

February 21, 2011

Phoenix Matsuri is this weekend

If you will be in southern Arizona this weekend, you must check out Matsuri! The Phoenix Matsuri received a "best of" award last  year! And something new this year: matsuri continues after dark with more performances and a beer garden!
I will be there both days~ hope to see you there!

February 19, 2011

More new obi

Here are the rest of the obi I received from Kimono Lily. They are almost sold out of everything, so get it while you can!
Here is the yellow and orange cotton  hanhaba (half-width) obi. It's a lovely bright yellow on one side and orange on the other with tiny plum blossoms in yellow. I wore it today with the yellow side out for Carnaval. Both sides have a hemp-leaf pattern (asanoha) woven in. It's soft enough to tie easily but no too floppy. It's made from really nice cotton.
Next up was the one I was very excited about: a crimson hakata obi. It's a hanhaba as well and it's cotton. It is in such great condition! I own a few other hakata obi and they are very special; the others are mostly silk, so I'm not sure how common cotton is. Hakata weave is one of my favorite obi fabrics. There is some great information and photos on hakata-weave fabrics on Lucky Manekineko's blog, including a great film reference!

The other obi is also a hanhaba for wearing with yukata and is cotton. I bought it because the color combination is almost the same as a yellow/red yukata obi I have that is made out of  cheap polyester. I like the colors of the poly obi (Goes with almost anything!) but hate the fabric. It's hot and icky. I paid way too much for it about five years ago. Oh well.
This new obi has a stiff, almost crisp feel to it and still had the original label on it when it arrived. The yellow isn't as bright as the asanoha obi, it's more of a honey yellow and the red is a true red. It will be an ideal obi to lend out to friends. It's just very simple, bright, and plain.
I will probably wear one of these next weekend at Matsuri...maybe the hakata obi.
Until next weekend, arigato!

Tucson Carnaval 2011

The Tucson Carnaval is today (Still going on as I write this....until 8:00pm!)  in Armory Park. It's a fun, family friendly outdoor festival. Not a huge carnaval, just a great place to take the kids on a Saturday. Armory Park is downtown, across from the Children's Museum. It has the usual: fried food and lemonade, games, a big inflatable slide, arts and crafts, a stage with live music going all day long.
Right after the parade, stilt-walkers gather by the stage.
For the last few years, Odaiko Sonora has performed and done something in the parade, usually a simple Obon-style dance with percussion. This year we have been busy with gigs, so no performance, just a chance to be in the parade. In fact, we lead the parade!
So after the first taiko class this morning, a small group of us plus some kids from one of our classes got dressed up in happi coats (or yukata, as in my case) and went down to dance in the street with the various Afro-Brazilian drumming groups! The weather wasn't ideal but we had fun. (Lots of wind and some blowing dust from an impending rain storm! But luckily it wasn't cold, around 68 F). We didn't stay for the whole day, we were just there for the parade. The kids wanted to be back for the 2:30 taiko class. So of course I dressed up in yukata 'cause that's what I do when I want to be festive. So here I am in my brightest and most colorful yukata ensemble yet!
Inside the dojo, you can see a bit of a homemade banner someone created several years ago.

Orange and yellow yabane tabi socks!
I wore two kasane-eri (layering collars) for an extra festive look!
The ensemble break-down: turquoise yukata from Vintage Kimono with white spider mums and bits of hot pink; yellow hemp-leaf patterned hanhaba obi; a luxuriously wide obijime in electric fuchsia; two kasane-eri collars, one yellow and one a pink, red, orange, and purple flower print with a bit of gold thread; multicolored spider mum geta with orange and yellow yabane tabi socks to keep my feet warm. And to disguise the fact that I did not have time to paint my toenails hot pink. (Geta are usually worn without socks). And I had a couple of Hawaiian-style plumeria kanzashi flower clips in my hair! My hair is so short, I can only wear the modern alligator-clip style. I added a pair of hot pink Alexis Bittar Lucite earrings for good measure and my pink Hello Kitty drawstring bag and I was ready for the parade!
All of these photos were taken after we got back to the dojo, so I had dust in my ears and my hair looked a little disheveled, but not too bad considering the wind.
Next weekend is Matsuri in Phoenix, so I may wear this yukata again since I love the color so much. I'll be there for both days I think, so I will try to take lots of photos!

February 17, 2011

Maru mystery obi

I received some new obi today from Kimono Lily (Sadly, they are closing their doors, so everything was 50% off!) that I ordered last week. They arrived today, all are wonderful, especially the crimson red hakata obi! I LOVE hakata obi and am working on a collection. But that's another post. 
you can see the finished edge on the right side.

There was one that I ordered, billed as a maru obi (not the cat on Youtube.com of course!) that I had been eying for months and was really pretty, but not exactly what I expected when it arrived!

It's only 10" wide, but it is 12' long, like a proper maru obi
And not that heavy.
It's probably a silk-blend.

A normal maru obi is 12" wide, about 4 meters long and very heavy, double-sided silk. It is the highest ranking obi in formality and are not worn that much any more except by brides or at very formal occasions. Or course that doesn't mean they are not available; just that the ones you see for sale in places like Ichiroya and Yamatoku are usually vintage.

As you can see, it's is rather awesome-looking, very much all red and gold, a bit less bright than the photo shows. There are some cobalt blue flowers every 2-1/2 feet of so, so there is not that much blue in the pattern. It is basically two or three season obi, depending on who you talk to. There is a key fret pattern overlayed with bunches of chrysanthemum, bush clover, peony, and paulownia leaves. There may even be a tiny bit of wisteria on it. It has a certain drama about it somehow since it's a bit brazen in it's color and design, especially compared to the other obi in my collection.
One end is not finished exactly the same way as the other; a maru obi is the same on each end, so who knows what happened. Maybe it has been altered somehow. The textile is soft, somewhat shiny like satin, and not difficult to tie at all.
Because it's only 10" wide, I can't tie this into a standard taiko musubi (box-shaped bow). But I can make a nice simple bunko musubi and wear it with a komon kimono. I really like it so I will certainly keep it. It will probably look great with the red and white yabane kimono and the navy blue tsumugi.
I'll show the rest of the obi that I received today in another post!

February 14, 2011

KODO concert and Cannibal Cabaret update

The Cannibal Cabaret at The Hut was awesome! The whole show was amazing- all outside in two separate stage locations. There were hundreds of people, dancing, drinking, the giant Moai head (rescued from the now-defunct Magic Carpet Golf) spewing fire, a crazy fog machine, belly dancers, and more! Since it was only a few days ago, photos of our performance have yet to show up so far, but we did have it video-taped by a professional! So stay tuned for more.

Then there was the KODO concert at Centennial Hall last night! What a treat to see KODO again. This is their 30th Anniversary tour. I wore kimono of course and hung out front with my taiko group handing out flyers for our classes while they performed a few songs. The waiting crowd loved it! Of course I forgot to take picture of myself in my cute spring green ensemble until I got home (after sitting for 2 hours and riding in the car...), but here is a photo of me in my green iromuji kimono and the gold/pink/orange karabana obi. I wore the haori before the concert, but inside it was hot and stuffy, so I took it off. It's very simple, plain black with a dyed pattern of an orange tsuzumi (Japanese hand drum) on the front and back. This is the first time I have worn the green iro....and it's super comfortable! The silk is soft and it fits pretty well. I also wore my new ruby earrings I got at the gem show.
My hair looks kinda wild in the pics....the car window was down and I need a haircut really badly; I'll be doing that later today!
Have a great week,

February 7, 2011

Inspired by Okinawa - update

It's almost Cannibal Cabaret time, so here is my "hanagasa", the hat the dancers wear. It's took me several hours of looking for the materials and then making it. It wasn't hard to make, once I had my plan in place. It looks pretty good and is fun to wear! It does get heavy after about 20 minutes though.
Here is a picture of me in my costume. I don't have the make-up worked out yet, nor do I have my kachikachi in my hands, I still need to add the tassels. I managed to create this from one of my own kimono and a vintage, pre-WW2 haori, without a sewing machine and a small budget. I will probably hike up the red and white kimono a bit more because I like the yellow skirt.
Keep in mind, this is not intended to actually look like the Okinawa Yotsutake dancers, just give the overall impression of the dancers costume. If I had more time and this was a big production project for a large audience, I would be wearing an authentic yellow bingata kimono. So please, please do not assume this is intended to be authentic! I would never wear this to a Japanese Matsuri or anyplace where there might be people of Japanese descent. In theater, sometimes you have to take liberties with various cultural costumes for various reasons. For this reason, this ensemble is intended to be bright, high-contrast, and "larger than life". Plus the performance will be outside at night, so high-contrast colors work really well, not unlike the authentic Yotsutake costumes. This is one reason kimono for stage are often a garish with large, simple patterns as compared to regular kimono. They need to be able to stand up to bright theatrical lighting and look interesting from the audience's point of view. A dance or stage kimono is not a dress you wear during the day, it's a costume for a performance.
More photos soon...with make-up!