December 24, 2019

Is This a Kimono?? The Search is on!

A follow-up to my post I did a few years ago, What Not To Wear, I occasionally search for kimono online out of curiosity to see what shows up. 

Try it- type in "Kimono" into you web browser (I'm using Duck Duck Go) and you will be presented with a plethora of kimono- but not all of them are really kimono. Below is an edited screen shot- my monitor is huge, so I have to chop it up a bit to make it fit, but you get the idea.

Some fakes or kimono-style jackets are difficult to spot, but if you click on an image and you end up on TopShop's website where they are selling something like this, then you know it isn't Japanese clothing. Unless you are looking for a cute, long embroidered jacket! 

Enjoy the search.
Arigato and Merry Christmas,

July 31, 2019

Trip to Seattle

Hi everyone!
I just got back from a trip to Seattle! It was a family trip and I didn't wear kimono much, only a yukata at the Seattle Obon at the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. It's a wonderful community Obon, small but mighty! It took place in front of the temple, so the street was closed. It's a two-day event, and I went on Sunday. Apparently Sunday has slightly less people (more parking opportunities!) than Saturday. The only downside was it was unexpectedly hot and sunny- 88 degrees F and about 70% humidity! I was very glad I wore a yukata instead of the summer kimono I had considered bringing. I purposely choose the green and white ensemble for the reference to "Emerald City", a popular name for Seattle and it gives a feeling of coolness. At least visually!

I also met another kimono kitsuke enthusiast and we hit it off, even meeting up the next day for kimono shopping and lunch! Luckily, there were some indoor events in the temple gym, so we cooled off in there a bit, but only a bit- no airco and only ceiling fans. Luckily, we had our fans for dancing! I think I wore out my wrist fanning myself! It was a very sweaty day. We did get a little too much sun. Since Obon is a participatory event, I didn't get a ton of photos this time. It's more fun to eat roasted corn, shave ice, and dance!
Butterfly yukata, mesh summer hanhaba dragonfly obi,
green & white obijime, and my little red shibori birdie.
Selfie- before I got too hot. I'm wearing a
 cotton juban top with a han eri (collar) for a crisp look. 

Seattle Matsuri Taiko getting ready to play

A still from our stint in the photo booth!
By this time, I was suffering from the heat. 
Just an FYI- I noticed a trend among a few chic kimono wearers: western sandals or shoes with kimono! I've seen it on Instagram but now I have seen it in person. I wore a pair of Clarks sandals for comfort. 

On this trip, I also went to the Seattle Japanese Garden near the arboretum. If you are in town, this is a must-see. It is stunning. It's been around since 1960 and is a "strolling garden" and has wonderful vistas at every turn. Here are a few views from my trip there.

A pagoda representing the mountain monasteries of Japan.

The tea house.

A ramen cart from 1950- fully restored! 
A few more random photos...there is water and lush green everywhere! Seattle truly is the Emerald City.
Ducks on Lake Washington.

Flowers on the street in downtown Kirkland.
Mt. Baker as seen from an Everett backyard deck.
Deception Pass bridge- from the car!

June 4, 2019

Shidara Concert Kitsuke

Hello kimono enthusiasts!
I was fortunate enough to see Shidara again (This is the 3rd time!) in concert this year- they had a very short 3-city tour in the USA and my taiko group was one of the show producers, so they came to Arizona! If you have not heard of Shidara and you love taiko, please check them out on YouTube- they are the best taiko group in the world right now. You probably know those other big name groups, and this group is absolutely stunning- they play with heart, mind and soul- truly dedicated to their art form.

For this momentous event, of course I had to wear kimono! Since It's already warming up here, I decided to wear hitoe (unlined kimono) before May 20th- and the kimono I'm wearing is actually summer kimono, so it's a little bit sheer. It was supposed to be hot that day when I planned the outfit but luckily, it was a perfect spring day, barely 80 F in the afternoon and cloudy, so I was comfortable in my sha Nagoya obi featuring hagi (bush clover) and fuji (wisteria). The kimono might be hemp but I'm not entirely sure. It has a nubby weave almost like a coarse tsumugi.
After the show, some Phoenix friends and I went to a hip downtown restaurant called Penca and we had food and lovely cocktails. These photos were taken on the sidewalk out front.

I had left my handbag in the restaurant while we
were taking photos, and I didn't want to leave it out! It's
a vintage one I found in LA years ago.  

April 28, 2019

Vibrant Spring Kitsuke Inspired by Desert Flowers

Hi Everyone
I took advantage of a fabulous spring day at the Johrei center and was inspired by the amazingly bright flowers: wild flowers, roses, cactus flowers and beautiful weather. My magical Meisen (Both kimono and haori are vintage Meisen) kitsuke is inspired by these colors!

Check out the electric colors on this vintage juban!

Standing in front of the cholla cactus grove

Check out those long sleeves!

Selfie in front of the aloes at my house.

March 16, 2019

One Kimono, Two Obi

Hello everyone
I recently acquired a fabulous Meisen kimono recently that has a wonderful  pattern of either gum drops or dragon scales depending on your perspective. (Or mood!). The sleeves are stylishly long, so it is likely a Taisho-era kimono.
I wore it at the Johrei Center last weekend to perform taiko with friends and coordinated it with a red Hakata obi and a fun obijime inspired by 1980's punk rock fashion. It was a gorgeous spring day, so we took some photos in their Japanese-inspired desert garden.
Underneath, I am wearing a vintage turquoise and red juban with an asanoha or hemp-leaf pattern.

Underneath- a vintage juban
Days later, I attended an evening taiko concert and wore the same Meisen kimono with a different obi- a an unusually patterned Hakata Nagoya obi that features stylized flowers, triangular shapes, and some metallic threads. It has a mysterious feel to it and a friend said the pattern looked southwest! The sparkly obijime adds a little bit more bling.
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day weekend!

March 3, 2019

Phoenix Matsuri in a New Kimono

Another successful Phoenix Matsuri, even if the weather wasn't typical! This year marks the 35th anniversary of one of the top Japanese festivals in the USA!
Saturday morning of the two-day festival, we played taiko and it was cold! For Phoenix at least. It was 37F that morning when we drove to downtown Phoenix from the east side of town, and there was actual ice on our windshields! Being typical Arizonans, we didn't have ice-scraping tools! Luckily, we had various plastic cards and CD cases. There was even snow on the mountains north of Phoenix, so it was quite a weird scene.

However, with lots of hot beverages, many layers of clothing under our happi coats, and later, sunshine, we managed to play an excellent taiko set to kick off a weekend of taiko on the ASU stage.
The day before Matsuri, it snowed!
Sunday, it was a bit warmer, which meant kimono plus haori, plus wool kimono coat and other cold-weather accessories, especially in the morning. I discovered the virtues of legwarmers! They are great when it's cold, and they slip on over tabi easily and actually look kinda cool with zori.
Black leg warmers! 
I wore my recently acquired Omeshi tsumugi kimono with the woven table lamp motif. It's a lovely kimono, a deep, rich, bitter chocolate brown with woven areas of red and off-white. The design is really quirky and fun. I wore  my familiar cream colored Hakata obi and something new- a narrow leopard belt worn as an obijime.
One of the lamp motifs on the kimono. Yes, that is a lamp.
With books and arches in the background. 
Leopard goes with everything!

Kimono coat & a haori will keep you warm. 

The wool kimono coat in the above photo is a vintage men's wool kimono coat. You can tell it's a men's coat by the way the sleeve is attached. It's a fabulous coat, with classic menswear details, like a hidden button placket, pockets, and a pointed collar like a western topcoat. The flying squirrel sleeves are a bonus! It was the perfect weather to wear it most of the day, so I lucked out.  
Detail of the wool coat fabric.
Since this is probably my14th Matsuri and I have posted photos of taiko and other matsuri entertainment before, I won't bother again this time. Except for a charming photo of Kinshin Daiko's fabulous Kotobushi Jishi, and my friend's beautiful lacquered geta!
Lion dancers- Shi shi mai

Pretty geta with a cute wool komon kimono

February 3, 2019

Tucson Japanese Festival Kitsuke

Hi Everyone
I've been busy- lots of taiko gigs scheduled for the next few months as well our own Japanese festival that we just celebrated on January 19th. I was able to do a kimono dressing demo (And played taiko later!) at the festival as part of one of the demonstrations of different art forms and crafts. I dressed a friend for a tea ceremony that was following my demo, so it worked out perfect. The demo was a great success, with standing room only! The festival was at the local Chinese Cultural Center, a wonderful location and it had two beautiful white marble lions at the entrance.
Shi shi mai

Marnie had her own lovely navy komon kimono and I provided the tea-green obi and coordinating accessories for a harmonious ensemble appropriate for tea.

I wore my retro-modern pale grey kimono with a very vintage emerald green Nagoya obi featuring a rose and a new striped obiage from Kimonotte. It was very chilly in the morning when I arrived at the festival location, so I wore the yellow and purple shibori haori. This was the first time I had worn the green obi and I used one of my favorite tools to "tie" it: the obidomekanagu or obi clip. It's perfect for fragile obi as the fabric is not tied or twisted. It truly is an amazing tool for neat kitsuke and makes the obi easier to tie in my opinion. 


A week later, we had a volunteer appreciation party for everyone that participated in the festival. I wore the pine needle komon with another "new" obi- a vintage chuya obi with a yellow and lime-green shibori kikko pattern on one side. I added another fabulous Kimonotte striped obiage and a leaf-patterned yellow and navy haori. This event was in the evening, so most of the photos were really dark. These are the best of the bunch!

See you next time- Phoenix Matsuri is in a few weeks!