February 27, 2012

Red-Hot Matsuri weekend: Saturday was Yukata day

I'm still waiting for some photos from friends, so I thought I would start with Saturday's warm weather ensemble.
This year's Matsuri was sunny, warm, and a gorgeous spring day in Phoenix...and apparently 86 degrees on Saturday! Decent (A bit hot though) weather if you are in the shade and wearing a cool blue and white yukata but not so good if you have to play taiko. Or walk around in the sun. or work in a booth and sell t-shirts. I did it all Saturday.
I arrived at 9:00am dressed in this lovely half navy and half white yukata with a red hakata obi, ready for the opening ceremony and dance procession. It was cool enough to wear tabi socks for the first hour. My call time for taiko performance wasn't until 2:00pm, so I stayed in yukata until about 12:30, then changed into taiko-playing gear. Playing taiko in the heat at 3:00pm was a different story! The stage had no cover and I think everyone got sunburned despite sunscreen, sunglasses, wearing of hats (Not during the performance of course), and staying somewhat cool. Then there was the dehydration, dry red eyes, and general exhaustion later. And then get up and do it all again the next day.

Other ensemble notes: I'm also wearing a dark red cotton han-eri, navy blue geta, and am using my morning glory kinchaku handbag for the first time. I should have had a bangasa (umbrella) and a fan- next time. 

Photos of the kimono I wore on Sunday will be posted very soon.

February 23, 2012

Purple zori

These cute and comfortable zori arrived yesterday....I'd forgotten I bid on them. I got a really great deal on these...brand new!  The cute flower embroidery is very girly, and have a touch of gold thread to dress them up.

They will go really well with a few different kimono I already own, including a hitoe (unlined) kimono I will be wearing at Matsuri this weekend unless it gets to really warm in Phoenix. If it's too warm, then a yukata might be better. The forecast says 81 degrees F if you can believe it! Life in the desert...now you see what I wear yukata more than kimono.
Stay tuned for photos of the whole ensemble.

February 20, 2012

Half a day in Little Tokyo

I just got back from a short trip to Santa Monica and LA. (Details on what and why here). Of course, I looked for kimono accessories while in Little Tokyo and was surprised at the selection at a tiny little store I had not heard of called Shinyodo.

I was careful though, I had a list. That didn't prevent my from buying a couple of items that were not on my list, but at least I did not buy any kimono!
A vintage yukata I almost succumbed to
Furisode hanging up

Shinyodo had some gorgeous furisode and the nice woman at the store was trying to convince me I needed one despite the fact I'm too old to wear one! But she gladly obliged me by holding up a couple of the furisode to I could get some images of the beautiful yuzen work and embroidery.
Selection of obiage & obijime

Sakura petals!

The fabulous yellow furisode had gold and silver foil on it. It was very gently used and had a modern design but it was high-quality silk rather than polyester.

The detail of yuzen work on this deep reddish-orange furisode was just breathtaking! I didn't even want to ask the price. I was just there to appreciate the gorgeous designs.

And buy a few items of course. I finally found a versatile pair of zori that should go with almost everything I have, in a larger size. In excellent condition and under $100. I've been looking for a few years for a pair like these.

Purple on the back!
Hanhaba obi detail

Then I was taken by a luscious light gold rinzu obiage and matching obijime, a lovely green and white obijime, a cute hanhaba obi with a black and white peony design (Brand new and in that nice woven polyester!), and the one item that I couldn't resist:
the sweetest kinchaku bag with a basket on the bottom for summer. I love the blue and black color combination and the stripes- very elegant for a casual handbag.
Matsuri is this weekend in Phoenix, so I will have to decide what I should wear. Maybe one of these new accessories?
Stay tuned!

February 6, 2012

Yukata demo and obi tying

Explaining the how the muna-himo helps keep the collar straight.
 I did a yukata kitsuke (dressing) and obi tying demo last Saturday at Odaiko Sonora's practice space for the taiko drummers that were interested. It's a perfect space for kitsuke since it's basically a dance studio with a wall of mirrors to help you see what you are doing. It was only an hour long but it was pretty successful!

Taiko performer Nicole was the perfect yukata model as I dressed her in a vintage indigo and white yukata with a bold pattern of what look to be abstract cocktail glasses and a red and white silk hakata obi. The obi is awase (lined) with solid red on the back.
Hakata obi ready to go

Just for fun, I added all of the accessories at the end just so newbies could get an idea of how all of these mysterious items are worn: geta, kinchaku bag, an uchiwa fan, and a sensu (folding) fan. She looked ready for Obon!

Finishing up the musubi

Fixing Nancy's obi. I'm wearing my demo obi with pink and black stripes.

For the last half, I demonstrated how to tie an obi on yourself in the front and turn it around to the back.

Am I doing this correctly?
Nancy's musubi now looks very nice
Sonya has almost got it down

Everyone was starting to get the hang of tying the easiest yukata obi knot known as bunko or cho-cho (butterfly) musubi by themselves. I brought a bunch of my own hanhaba obi and one heko obi so they could practice with the real thing. No pre-tied obi for these folks!

With five minutes to spare, I did a quick demo of kai no kuchi with a men's obi as well. Next time, this will be a full-on yukata kitsuke workshop, not just a demonstration, so I will teach some cho-cho musubi variations and each participant will learn to dress themselves in a yukata.  Stay tuned for a workshop in Tucson and maybe even in Phoenix soon!

PS: All photos were taken by Tracy Baynes, so please ask me for permission if you would like borrow them. Thanks! :)

Phoenix Matsuri is almost here!

Check out the details with entertainment, maps, and parking info here!