January 22, 2014

What's new: basic red and formal black

Today, two kimono from the Yamamtoku box. I'm sharing an every-day komon and an elegant kurotomosode.

First up, the komon, or daytime dress of the kimono world.
This cute komon (a casual kimono with an all-over repeating pattern) has two patterns: tatewaku or "rising steam" design all over the fabric and round designs that look like mon, or Japanese family crests scattered around. Both patterns are repeated all over, so it's considered a komon kimono. It's partially lined on the bottom half (suso) of the kimono in a matching deep red. The fabric has a nice texture, probably polyester. It's in excellent condition, 60" long, and has a 50" wingspan.
It would be a great "first timer" kimono for the newbie since it's most likely washable, would be easy to coordinate with hanhaba obi, and not as heavy as most kimono that are fully lined. This is a perfect kimono for ladies who live in the sunbelt of the USA. Since it's so casual, you could wear it without a visible ohashori!

Front & back of the red komon

Pattern detail

Next up: kurotomosode-the most formal kimono in a married woman's wardrobe!

A kurotomosode is kind of like a ball gown. You see these for sale on eBay all the time, probably since not many woman have occasions for them and they can be rented nowadays. Commonly worn to weddings in Japan by the mother of the bride.  I have seen these worn by kimono enthusiasts outside of Japan to the theater, a formal dinner or back-tie event. It all depends on how bold you want to be!

This kurotomosode has a subdued design, practically austere- not as colorful and rich as usually seen in such a formal garment. It has yuzen work and also features gold and silver dyes but no embroidery or couching. Motifs include ume (plum), kiku (chrysanthemum), stylized floral patterns that look similar to karabana, as well as some grey tonal stripes that are really cool. It's 59" long and has a 50" wingspan and is in excellent condition- probably only worn a couple of times. 

Front & back

The back spread out to show the pattern

Detail of the center back
Detail of the front panels overlapping left over right
I don't think I would ever wear this one since I already have a gorgeous kurotomosode but since the design is low-key, I'd be tempted to wear this a bit dressed-down and brightened up- maybe with a gold or coral-colored hakata obi, pale grey obiage, an orange obijime, and light-colored zori. Silver or gold metallic formal zori are customary but why not a fun pastel metallic zori like light blue, salmon, or pearlized white?   
Cheers and have a great weekend.

January 17, 2014

Tenegui at Kyoto Kimono

Kyoto Kimono, one of a handful of kimono dealers in the USA, now sells Raak tengui on their website and ships them directly from Japan.

 Tenegui are multi-purpose cloths used for everything from head coverings (like Americans use bandannas) to hand towels, dance props (they are a must-have at Obon and are sometimes just called "towels"), and are a must for kimono wearers!

If you wear kimono, you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings, what you brush up against or sit on, especially if you are wearing vintage.
Keep a tenegui in your handbag in case you sit down on a dusty park bench, need a napkin or towel for dirty hands. I have several with different patterns and some even have advertising or commemorate an event. I usually carry one each tenegui and furoshiki just in case.

"Dancing Cat" available at Kyoto Kimono
"Angler's Ahead" available to Kyoto Kimono

January 11, 2014

Surprise! I'm the Proud Owner of a Baby Boy's Miyamairi!

There was an unusual item in the Yamatoku box I received the other day, one of which was a little child's kimono. It looked familiar but I couldn't remember where I had seen one. It's a miyamairi, a garment used for a baby's first visit to a Shinto shrine about 30 days after birth. Ichiroya has an short explanation and photo here. 

The little kimono is just gorgeous and has a matching juban. It's in excellent condition, plain silk and lightly padded, both kimono and juban are lined with plain white silk. There is a tear on the juban where one of the ties attach but I think it could be repaired easily and even worn by a baby. There are some patinas on the white ties of the juban but no obvious stains that I can see.

The imagery suggest it's probably for a winter ceremony. There is snow on Mt. Fuji and the pine trees. The cranes are enhanced with embroidery. The juban features wonderful images of Momotaro, Fuji-san, a treasure cart guarded by a bird-warrior, and possibly a kitsune figure.

The sizes of these garments are pretty standard, about 38" long; I have no idea how old it is but pretty sure it's not contemporary, probably from the Showa period. I'm not sure I will keep this item, so if you are interested in it, let me know. It would make a beautiful display item or could even be used for your own ceremony if you are expecting a little boy in the near future!

Front of the miyamairi
Detail of back center
Juban back
Juban front
Juban sleeve
Momotaro, the Peach Boy
Treasure cart
Kitsune or ? holding a mallet
Fuji-san with cranes and pine trees
Detail of the tear on one of the juban ties

January 10, 2014

Box-O-Kimono from Yamatoku!

I just received my bulk box of "10 vintage kimono" from Yamatoku today!

Just a quick overview since it will take me a while to photograph everything.

There are five nice komon kimono (including hitoe) and one kurotomosode that are in excellent, wearable condition! That alone makes it worth it. There are two obi in dubious shape, one might be wearable, and a formal-looking child's garment of some type that I'm not familiar with plus a cute yukata that is too short for me but looks wearable. More on this box of kimono soon!
Detail of a lovely komon with a seigaiha or wave pattern

January 6, 2014

Phoenix Matsuri 2014: Feb. 22-23

Post image courtesy of Beh Moeur, Graphic Design


Info below is courtesy of 

Date: Saturday, 22 February, 2014       Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Heritage and Science Park - Downtown Phoenix
115 N 6th StPhoenixAZ 85004

Website: Click to Visit
Map data ©2014 Google - Terms of Use

10 km
5 mi

Featuring exhibits, demonstrations, arts and crafts, children's activities, bonsai displays, Japanese food, and 3 stages of live entertainment.

Saturday & Sunday

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Join us for our Awa Odori & Mikoshi Parade!

The Matsuri Parade will start at 10 AM on Saturday, February 23rd.
Anyone in Japanese attire is invited to participate in our parade!

Please begin gathering next to the Plaza Stage at 9:30 AM.

Asahi Beer Garden open both Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM ~ 5 PM. All proceeds benefit the Arizona Matsuri. We will be serving Asahi Beer and 3 different premium Japanese sake! Thanks to our sponsors!

Omochi Pounding Demonstration (Japanese rice cakes) by Brian Kito from Fugetsu-Do in Los Angeles, CA

Shan Ichiyanagai, the candy man, performing Amezaiku (Japanese Candy Sculpting) on SUNDAY ONLY!

Ramune Drinking Contest on Sunday at 4:30 PM at the Plaza Stage. Sign up to be one of the 10 contestants at the Phoenix Sister Cities- Himeji Soda Booth on Sunday ONLY!

Three stages (traditional arts, taiko and martial arts). Find the performance schedules under the Entertainment tab above.

New merchandise and food vendors!

Fun children's activities, calligraphy and more!