September 7, 2011

Costume ideas for All Souls Procession-if you want to dance with Odaiko Sonora!


The other kimono bloggers are doing it, so I have jumped on the bandwagon! Well, kind of.

This post is a bit different though: they are talking about Halloween and cosplay ideas; so I will add a twist and post some ideas about what to wear while participating in the All Souls Procession on November 6th with the folks from Odaiko Sonora! First, read up on the All Souls Procession here. (I've posted about it before, so I don't want to repeat myself). It's a very big deal and a huge event in Tucson. My taiko group teaches an "Obon" dance in October (It's too hot in June and July for Obon) so you can learn it and dance in a large group with the urn cart!

Our costumes for this event tend to be simple and Japanese-inspired, either DYI white tops with contrasting obi and white pants, and/or yukata, hakama, and costume bits form past years events, including some white happi coats one of our taiko players made for us a couple of years ago. There is usually a group of 10-15 people, so we try for some uniformity, and all white plus a colored obi usually works well. This is usually the outfit of choice for last-minute dancers, friends, and out-of-town guests. Sometimes we try for a very stylized look, including special make-up or more elaborate costumes, so if you have received the e-mail about the upcoming free dance workshops last week, you will find out about this year's costume specifics during workshop.

This year's color is violet, so almost anything purple, violet, or white with violet obi is appropriate.
Here is a diagram I have created to show you how to make your own, super easy, DYI sleeveless "happi" from a white pillow case that you can wear over pants or a skirt. Just add purple and you are ready to go!

**Disclaimer! Pillow cases come in a few different sizes and mainly will fit people that are on thin to average size and work great for kids and teens, so choose the size accordingly. If you are a larger than average-size person, you can just get a large rectangle of fabric and do a similar design yourself.

And if you want to go all out, add birds! This years All Souls Procession theme includes a bird motif, so feel free to paint (Use fabric paints or acrylics) a dove in flight on the back of your white top; a hawk, or even a chain of purple paper cranes. Be creative! (I will be posting more on the bird design in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned).

Of course, if you have a happi coat, yukata (casual cotton summer kimono) or even a komon kimono in white, purple, a pastel color or even white with an indigo print, you can just add a purple obi!  If you would like to buy your own yukata, Ichiroya is a good place to start, it's one of my favorite sellers. As of this evening, they have two light-colored yukata for $28 each plus shipping from Japan.
Ebay is also a great place to find yukata or if you are lucky enough, a dance kimono. Dance kimono are in bright colors and graphic designs, usually unlined and are almost always synthetic and hence, washable. A very good idea when you are wearing one as a costume. Dance kimonos are not unisex though, but I have seen men's yukata and dance kimono on Ebay, so it's worth taking a look.

For example, I found this lovely yukata with a hawk-feather mon design on Ebay for $5.50, it's in "mint" condition. Of course the shipping is about $25 or so depending on the seller, and that can be typical of items form Japan. Here is an example of an odori or dance kimono selling right now through Ebay: Antique Ryu Japan is the seller and no one has bid on it. Synthetic fiber (polyester), excellent condition, and a nice design of waves on a blue ground. Of course it's blue rather than purple, but you get the idea. You just have to look around!
And last but not least, I may be wearing this polyester komon, with a design of hail or arare, in the procession. It's about as purple as you can get.


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