October 23, 2012

Otsukimi: a balmy evening in Phoenix

Otsukimi was much better this year than last year...last year it was thwarted by occupiers in the adjacent park.... they turned many people away so attendance was down. This year, Emma and I actually showed up early--around 4:45 to help Fushicho Daiko load in but they didn't need any help. So we left and changed in the dojo. Of course, it gets dark so much earlier, so when we got back all dressed and ready to go in, it was a little after  6:00pm and already dark. (We had planned photos before it got dark...didn't happen). The event had already run out of bento boxes when we arrived, so they knocked $5 off our admission price. We had already planned on going out later anyway, so not a problem. The moon was only a crescent though; apparently the timing of the event was off.
They had made it more "festivally" (new word!) this year with a larger gift sales area near the tea house rather than at the entrance, freshly made otsukimi-dango, a fabulous taiko performance by Fushicho Daiko, an art auction, the tea house was serving tea, etc.

The weather couldn't have been more perfect...the afternoon was hot, about 90 degrees but when the sun went down, it cooled off fast to about 80 degrees. I have been so incredibly busy with work, so I haven't had a chance to really think about wearing a kimono! The Friday night before I was trying to decide whether to wear a yukata v. kimono and while I was ironing the yukata at 6:00pm, it was still 87 degrees outside...that's when I decided comfort was going to win over fashion! Then there is the question of motif: do I go with traditional seasonal patterns such as bunnies, chrysanthemums, and hawks or what might be more appropriate for my region? Again, Arizona seasons won out this time as I wore my new green butterfly yukata. September and October are the seasons for butterflies here, so it seemed appropriate on some level. Plus, it's too warm for wool awase. Because of the still very warm autumn weather, I opted for a yukata worn in "kimono style" rather than a kimono.
With the emerald green butterfly yukata, I'm also wearing a cream and black Nagoya Hakata obi with fuchsia obiage, medium pink obijime, a cream silk haneri, a hot pink and white uchiwa, Alexis Bittar earrings, tabi sox and multicolored geta. The inspiration was the fabulous Jordan McMillan handbag with woven grosgrain ribbons in greens, pink, cream, tan, and black. It's so cute and the colors work perfectly with the yukata. Sorry, no time to recreate this look! Next time, when I have more time!

Emma agreed with choosing a yukata for comfort and wore her favorite tea green dress with violet obi and this time she had a matching handbag and haneri that she made. She had also found a nifty pink silk flower hair clip that made a lovely accent for her light green obijime. 
At the marketplace, I found a cute bokashi (gradation) obijime for $10 and Emma bought a lovely casual fukuro obi- it's hitoe and a pale peachy-pink with a few large butterflies woven into strategic areas. The weaving is very nice and looks almost embroidered. I think she can use it with many future kimono and even a yukata. Sorry, no photo! They only had a few kimono items for sale; mostly it was fans, gift items, some ceramics, etc.

After Otsukimi, we went to a fabulous Italian restaurant that was very close to the garden: Cibo. We had excellent pizza and a lovely wine, a Botromogno Primitivo from Puglia. (Amazing gluten free pizza available!) Their patio was gorgeous with several trees filled with fairy lights; the restaurant is in a lovely historic old home. A perfect end to a fun evening! I hope next year's event is even better.

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