December 30, 2013

Mochitsuki in Tucson this weekend!

Join me at Yume Japanese Gardens! I'll take some photos as well, so look for a new post after January 4th. 
Happy new Year everyone!

October 30, 2013

It's All Souls Procession Weekend!

If you follow this blog, you will know that the first Sunday in November is the famous Tucson All Souls Procession. Odaiko Sonora, my taiko group, always participates with a large group of dancers at the front of the procession and we perform "Tucson Ondo", our own Bon Odori/Day of the Dead folk dance. We wear Japanese-inspired costumes such as happi, yukata, etc. I always wear a kimono or yukata.
This year's color is red, which for kimono junkies, is a very easy color to work with. Here what I'm wearing this Sunday- basically a pattern on pattern red and white ensemble!
This kimono with a different red obi. 
Probably this juban since it's my current favorite and has quite a bit of red in it. 
Obi detail
This red/multi hakata obi

Possibly this obijime because you can't have enough stripes!
I'd like to wear these casual zori with red tabi sox but I might have to wear jika tabi or tennis shoes since I'll be on my feet for so long.
If it's really, really cold, I can add this jaunty ama coat!
The rest of the taiko crew will be looking like this, wearing festive red happi. (BTW, I'm on the far left with the odaiko bachi in my hand).

There will be lots of photos to share, so I will be sure to share after Sunday.

Happy Halloween and have a great weekend.

October 7, 2013

Kimono-wearing event: taiko at The Rogue Theater

I saw Odaiko Sonora at The Rogue Theater Saturday night. It was a wonderful show and a really nice venue for taiko though it was a small theater
It is now the kimono-wearing "season" where I live, so I took advantage! I wore the new striped hitoe (unlined) kimono I bought this summer with a tsuke (pre-tied or easy obi), and a new obijime. The stripes are considered a multi-season motif but the colors look like autumn to me, so I paired the casual kimono with an golden tachibana (a type of citrus) for a little bit more formality and to play up the autumn theme. The autumn colors were continued with the multi-colored obijime and red obiage.

Here is a refresher image of the kimono fabric and kitsuke bits, including the sample fabric juban (under kimono).

I chose the hitoe kimono since I was still kind of warm during the day (90 F today!) but much cooler at night with just a twinge of fall chill in the air. I posed for photos just as the sun was going down, hence the subdued colors.

Trying to look cool with my sleeves folded over as the wind was trying to blow my kimono open

Naughty naughty juban!
Shortly after this photo, I decided to change from plain white tabi to fun tabi sox! I didn't get a full-length photo since it had already gotten too dark and I need to get going to the show. The sox matched perfectly and were really fun to wear. A nice alternative to formal tabi with the right outfit. 

Image is supposed to be a geisha but it looks like an oiran to me!

It was a great outfit to wear; the hitoe kimono was very comfortable and I really love this kimono. The stripes give it a very crisp look and looks little more modern. The tsuke obi felt a bit weird since this was the first time I'd worn a pre-tied obi! But it was really easy to wear. However, for this style, you still need the obiage, makura, and obijime just like when you wear a regular Nagoya obi. 
The next kimono-wearing event is October 19th in Phoenix. Stay tuned until then!

September 30, 2013

Otsukimi 2013 is almost here

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix is open again!

I'm hoping to be able to go this year.. It's a very nice event and a great way to enjoy the cooler weather in Phoenix. It may still be a bit warm for awase, but at least I will make an effort to try out some fall motifs or colors. Maybe I'll wear the hawk and chrysanthemum obi again! For details, ticket information, and a link to their Facebook page, check their website

Maybe I will see you there!~rebecca

When: Saturday, October 19, 05:00PM-09:00PM
Where: The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix 1125 North 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003 United States

A truly Japanese experience, Otsukimi is a much-anticipated annual event. Gates open at 4:30 pm and you may stroll the peaceful Garden path all evening as you enjoy the program.

July 15, 2013

Tsukesage Kimono: Can You Spot the Design Flaw?

I'm re-posting a link to Ichiroya's Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.506 since it's such a great story! The nuances of kimono manufacturing and design never fail to intrigue.

Read more about tsukusage kimono and formality level here.  
The kimono shown below does not have the design flaw...use it for comparison.
A vintage 1970's tsukusage kimono, courtesy of
Enjoy your Monday!

July 7, 2013

Too Freakin' Hot to Wear But There is Always time to Shop!

Stacks of miscellaneous fabrics
Hello Everyone!
We had a record-setting June, with triple-digit temperatures for the entire month. Well, it's still too hot to do anything kimono-related! However, sometimes opportunities present themselves in unexpected ways. A friend forwarded an e-mail from a woman with a collection of kimono and Japanese fabrics she is trying to sell and wasn't sure how to find buyers. We had been e-mailing back and forth and I finally went to see her collection a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, everything was extremely well-organized, with items arranged by color on shelves in neat rows. She had a ton of fabric period; too bad it wasn't all kimono items!

Stacks of haori and kimono

She was interested in the fabrics and smaller patterns, so she bought inexpensive items by color, so she had many every-day komon kimono, haori, obijime, as well as pieces of obi and kimono to use for craft projects. She bought many items from Texuba, the kimono seller that used to be in Marina Del Ray, CA. Sadly, no furisode, houmongi, obi, obiage, or anything Taisho. However, she did have a few really cute items- especially obijime. Everything still had the original price tags and all of the obijime and haori himo were brand-new, with the original Japanese tags on them.
A pile of obijime
Haori himo still in their original plastic sleeves
I went to her home, surveyed the collection and gave her some pointers on how and where to sell the items. Luckily, she was already set up and selling other stuff on eBay, so that seemed like the perfect way to clear out her excess inventory. She did have a few really nice items such as a nice indigo and white yukata and a post WWII-era komon with a funky modern pattern. These two items were made for tiny people...way too small for me.

Of course, I found a few items for myself, mainly obijime. I did find a super awesome hitoe kimono in a lovely grey, black, navy, gold, and red stripe.
Stripes!! Hitoe!!
I love this color combination

And I managed to find six obijime as well as a haori himo for my orange and green psychedelic haori. 
Six NEW obijime!

New haori himo

Detail of the multi-colored obijime 
Detail of the terracotta obijime
The obijime are pretty awesome. I think I picked out all of the coolest ones. My two favorites are the multi-colored diamond pattern; it has a bit of gold thread in it and the colors look very "southwesty" to me. The other one I love is the navy blue with the orange dots. Sorry my detail photo of that one didn't come out. Strangely enough, everything seems to coordinate! I'm not sure what obi to pair with the kimono, but I will have to play around and post some photos. Or just turn the air conditioner on at 6:00 am (to ensure maximum coolness of course), add a fan or two and put the kimono on! However, it makes me feel hot and sticky just thinking about wearing a kimono right now!
~Reiko (Reb)

May 15, 2013

A Few Photos from a Day in Phoenix

Some friends and I went to the "Strolling in Yukata" event at Ro Ho En on April 27th. It was really nice....and almost too hot for strolling! At 4:30 in the afternoon, it was in the 90's. They had more activities and entertainment this time, including folk dancing. However, people were dancing in the sun, so we sat in the shade, drank sparkling sake, and just watched!

I recognized the music and dances from Obon...of course, since it's not Obon season, so it was just called folk dancing. Shade would have been a really good idea and probably would have got us out of our seats to dance.
I forgot my camera (D'oh!), so I only took a few photos with my phone. Friends took lots more photos, so maybe I can post some more photos soon!
Despite the typical spring in Phoenix weather, the garden looked gorgeous. There were baby ducks in the pond competing for food with the koi, a few remnants of blooms on the jacaranda trees, some iris blooming under some trees, and the grass was very green, which looked cool and inviting.

Unfortunately, the tea house was closed but they had a nice kimono display outside featuring two uchikake hanging up, which is a special kimono worn like a coat (no obi) over the kakeshita, the wedding kimono. There was also a few other items: obi, formal gold zori, and what looked like a black furisode.

While we were there, we did hear a rumor that they would move up the strolling event earlier, probably because of the hot weather. It would be great if they could make it in March after Matsuri! It would benefit everyone....attendees, entertainers, and of course bring more people in if the weather were a bit more hospitable! Making it a bit later in the day would be nice as well...maybe 5pm-9pm.

Afterwards, we all went to Cibo for pizza and hung out on their beautiful patio- still dressed in our yukata. At 8:30pm, the temperature outside was absolutely perfect!

If I get any more photos, I will be sure to share!

April 12, 2013

Yikes Stripes! Obi & obijime arrived today

Whoohoo! I love to get stuff in the mail, especially on a Friday!
I haven't shopped on ebay for over a year (I'm being very good!)...but couldn't resist these two cute accessories, both striped and reasonably priced!

New striped obijime

How cute is this obijime? The red is really a very deep magenta or rubine red. It's a brand new obijime, so the white is crisp and clean. I love that the stripes are vertical rather than lengthwise. It reminds me of the red-and-white stripes you see at Obon on the yagura, on a cart at matsuri, or on the paper lanterns. I don't know the significance of the red and white stripes, but it does look very festive and reminds me of being a kid at the county fair.
New hanhaba obi

This beautiful obi I picked up has a just enough bling to take it out of the everyday hanhaba category. It's actually more elegant than I thought it would be. The fabric is high-quality and has a nice drape. It's woven with three different patterns and is reversible, with pink and blues on one side and yellow and blues on the other. The gold threads soften the whole obi and the colors look frosted and shimmery rather than too loud and shiny. It seems to be a silk blend but it might be all silk. It's so pretty I think I will wear it more with komon kimono rather than yukata unless I want to really doll up a yukata!

I will have to spend some time soon coordinating both of these new items soon and post some photos...a kimono wearing event is coming up at the end of the month. Oh whatever will I wear??

More soon,

March 1, 2013

Matsuri: new stuff

Ok, I finally got around to taking photos of the new items I picked up last weekend!
First up, a silk or silk-blend hitoe (unlined) komon (a casual kimono with a small, repeating pattern) with a pattern of pine needles. I love the lovely slate blue color...very elegant and definitely a grown-up kimono. I bought it from Maruhachi. They seem to know me fairly well since I've bought items from them at every Matsuri for the last 4-5 years.
I was drawn to the kimono since it was a beautiful color and (bonus!) unlined. I thought pine was a winter pattern but maybe it is multi-seasonal since this is an unlined kimono but it is not sheer ro or sha. However, I will consult the Immortal Geisha forums about the pattern/fabric question.
Front and back; basting stitches are still intact.
Pattern detail
After I picked out the kimono, I saw this obi. They usually don't have many obi but this one screamed "buy me" since it coordinates with this kimono!

It's an opened Nagoya obi in a lovely soft olive green. You can see from the detail image that it is multi-seasonal: maple leaves (momiji) and chrysanthemums (kiku) for autumn, iris (ayame) for spring/early summer and possibly some summer grasses as well! It's unlined and has a slightly glossy finish. The kimono color picks up the blue in the pattern.

The next day, I bought this crazy, psychedelic haori from another vendor. I saw it Saturday...made a mental note that it was cool in a weird way, then forgot about it until I saw it again the next day. No one had bought it (duh!), so of course I had to buy it! Plus I got a discount since it was late in the day on the last day of the festival. I do have a leaf-green iromuji this would go with but that might be an unseemly combination or even downright wacky with a semi-formal kimono. It's very casual-looking though, so maybe just wearing it with western clothing would be fine. It does seem to have a 70's or 80's vibe to it and looks almost airbrushed! It's missing the himo (little woven ties that close the front) and still has the basting stitches. It's so ugly it's cool!

Have a fabulous weekend and look for photos of my in the new hitoe komon at a kimono-wearing event soon!

February 25, 2013

Matsuri: Springtime in Phoenix

Phoenix had gorgeous, virtually perfect spring weather on Saturday and decent weather Sunday; both days had blue skies and sun this year. Saturday was taiko show day (No kimono, only happi and performance gear) for Odaiko Sonora and we could not have asked for better weather! Sunday was a clear and very cool 60 degrees because of the wind but it was a pretty good day to wear kimono all day since it wasn't hot. I just never took off my haori and wished I had matching gloves! It was OK if you kept moving or found a place to sit in the sun and out of the wind.

I dressed Emma for a taiko performance both days; she had a new pale pink obi with a butterflies to wear with her tea-green yukata. I loaned her a candy pink obijime and a juban (underwear) with pink striped sleeves that showed through the yukata when she was back-lit in the sun. She looked really lovely for her performance of Hana-hachijo. Her husband (a taiko player extraordinaire with Fushicho Daiko) also played Hana-hachijo. Emma and I found a fabulous gold cotton hakata obi and nice yukata for him on Saturday morning at one of the vendors. He wore the obi later with happi for performance.

Muri's new obi!
The colors in my Sunday outfit reflected the blue sky and bright sun of Matsuri. It was technically still winter during Matsuri, but the weather can be pretty variable in Phoenix in February. When you have weather like this for Matsuri, it's spring, darn it!
I don't have much to choose from for spring flower motifs in my kimono collection, so I bent the rules a bit, combining a golden bamboo obi (winter motif) with cattleya orchid komon kimono (spring) with a leafy haori of unknown plant motif! I wore zori with metallic gold and red to coordinate with the obi and haori. My little basket kinchaku handbag is black, blue and navy. The cute little bunny was given to me by the Sensei of Watsonville Taiko.

More photos! I saw my Phoenix friends in dashing kimono dress on Saturday and a cute photo of the yukata on the children of the Gassho Bu, Children’s Choir, Arizona Gakuen School. They performed on Sunday afternoon. 

I did manage to make some purchases...I still need to get some photos taken...everything is still folded in the suitcase. I did get home pretty late last night....I found a wonderful hitoe (unlined) kimono featuring a graphic pine needle motif, and a nice Nagoya obi to go with it as well as a crazy orange haori! So look for photos soon.